As we experience not only the start of a new year but a new decade, resolutions are a dime a dozen. Among these resolutions are aspirations to lose weight, change eating habits, and eliminate unhealthy behaviors. The most popular way to achieve these goals is through dieting, but is it the most successful?
I am a college freshman with plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in nutrition and exercise physiology and a master’s degree in dietetics. The “freshman 15” may be common for many people my age, but I have a different mindset. By being aware and mindful of what I am eating and developing healthy life-long habits, I know I can stay on the right track to living my healthiest, most energetic life.
Diets have been around for a long time, and people often try countless different ones at the start of a new year in an attempt to “get fit fast” or lose weight rapidly. Keto, intermittent fasting, and the Atkins diet are a few people look to in hopes of losing weight or improving their health. Unfortunately, many times this leads to a cycle of restrict, relent, regret, and repeat. An example is when people tell themselves there are certain foods they absolutely cannot eat if they wish to lose weight, which causes them to crave these foods more, eventually give in to their cravings and feel guilty after. This unhealthy behavioral pattern called “yo-yo dieting,” equals practicing different diets off and on with no long-term success.
As the new year unfolds, think of your “resolutions.” Are they sustainable? Are they focused only on weight loss or looking fitter? Do they have the ultimate goal of creating an overall healthier, happier you? Registered dietitian and influencer Abbey Sharp says that “up to 95% of people who go on a diet fail, or more realistically, their diets fail them.” Do not be part of this statistic. Choose to create a plan that is long-term and changes your lifestyle, not a diet that is meant to be a quick fix to your health or weight problems. Find a balance that works for you and makes you feel energized without feeling guilty or deprived. Who knows, this may just turn your resolutions from something that lasts only through the month of January to important foundations of your everyday life.
In 2020, I plan on listening to my body’s needs and educating myself on proper nutrition and exercise habits to keep me feeling my best year round. I encourage you to do the same and to enjoy the journey to a happy, healthy life!
-Ashley Voeller is a college student, future dietitian, dancer and blogger