For a lot of people, ringing in a new year means starting a new diet, so many that astudyfinds weight loss is the second most common category of New Year’s resolutions, right behind physical health. But research has shown that diets don’t work long-term, plus, having lower body weight isn’t a reliable indicator of better health. But if you want to start off 2022 with a healthier relationship with food, forget the scales and diets and consider these habits, which are more sustainable than restricting food.
- Add, don’t subtract-Researchshows that people are more likely to stick with resolutions that involve adding something to their routine, rather than ones that require avoiding something. So instead of trying to not eat sweets, try a goal of eating a vegetable at every meal or having fruit for your afternoon snack.
- Drink more water- This one is simple and can make a big difference for your health. Even mild dehydration is associated with fatigue, lower motivation and can raise the risk of developing urinary tract infections. To remind yourself to drink another glass of water, tie it to another part of your routine, like downing one every time you brush your teeth.
- Sneak in more fiber- It feeds our gut bacteria, which affects everything from our mood to our immune systems.Beth Olson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, says women should aim to get between 21 and 25 grams of fiber a day. For reference, an apple has about five grams of fiber and a cup of black beans has 15 grams.
- Cook a new recipe every week- This one is fun, gets you in the kitchen and according to onestudy, people who cook at home tend to have overall better health. Plus, you’ll be saving money on take out!
- Start a hunger log- Keep track of what you eat and how it makes you feel. Paying attention to hunger is part of intuitive eating and those who do it are less likely to stress eat and feel happier with their bodies.
- Enjoy your food- When you make changes to your diet, make sure they’re easy for you to maintain and make you feel good, otherwise they’re not sustainable. If the way you’re eating leaves you cranky, tired or stressed, it’s not really good for your health. So focus on the pleasurable parts of food as well as the nutritional value.