Inspiration For A Healthy New Year

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ColumnNutrition_AThe New Year brings about a sense of invigoration in all of us. As we turn the chapter on this burgeoning new beginning, we are committed to bettering ourselves with the bright days ahead.

This invigoration lasts for a few days, maybe a few weeks. You’re extremely motivated to make a change, and you start to really take action when it comes to your resolutions.
Then, all of a sudden, life gets in the way. We realize that maybe our goals were a bit unrealistic and simply not practical. Extra projects at work, family responsibilities and fatigue leave us bogged down. A few weeks pass, and we seem to not be making any progress on our resolutions.

Nutrition_EWhen it comes to our health resolutions, there are a few concepts and strategies to implement that can help you avoid this vicious cycle and find balance in your life. When used together, you’ll create lifestyle goals that will benefit your mind, body and soul.

Set Goals, Not Resolutions

Resolutions imply that something was bad or wrong in the past. When we make a change, we want to be forward-thinking and positive. Why bring the baggage of the past into this new opportunity? Setting goals is a more strategic way to accomplish change and garner success. And don’t just limit your goals to the month of January. Every morning that we wake up is a new day and a fresh start. You have the opportunity to make a change at any given moment in your life. Sometimes, all it takes is a split second for us to realize what we want and go after it. Treat every new day as a gift, and approach your goals with a fresh mindset. I always say to my clients that health is a lifestyle, not a seasonal fad.

ColumnNutrition_BThink S.M.A.R.T.

We would all love to eat perfectly every day and work out on a regular basis. However, that isn’t always the case and is often unrealistic. Making a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) goal can help increase your success when it comes to making the change. Grab a piece of paper, write down the S.M.A.R.T. letters and adjust your goal accordingly. Be specific and make sure this is something that you can maintain! There is no point in making a goal that sets you up for failure; be practical and motivated.

ColumnNutrition_CImplement Non-Food Rewards

If you’re putting in all of this effort but not regularly acknowledging and rewarding yourself for making these changes, you’re likely to lose your vigor. Incorporate non-food rewards into your routine just like you do working out or making plans with friends. For example, if your goal is to go to the gym four times this week and you accomplish that, treat yourself to a relaxing manicure or buy a new book for a quiet afternoon to yourself. If you don’t accomplish your goals, adjust your reward accordingly. You can set small rewards periodically throughout your journey, and save some big rewards for when you accomplish your S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Commit To Your Happiness At Every Stage

Weight loss and toning your body can certainly increase your self-esteem, but true happiness won’t manifest unless you love your body every step of the way. Appreciating your health at every stage is not only crucial to your success, but also fills the psychological and emotional piece to the health puzzle. Surround yourself with people who contribute to your happiness, and remove those toxic people from your social circle. When you catch yourself thinking something negative about your body, acknowledge this and replace it with a positive thought or plan of action.

Appreciation, gratitude and well-being are arguably the most important components to holistic health. If your goals are to play out, these are characteristics that you should focus on throughout your journey. Best wishes for prosperity and good health this coming year.

Column_Nutrition_HEADSHOTStefani Pappas, CPT, CWMS is a nutritionist pursuing a career as a registered dietitian. She is a personal trainer, weight management specialist, Equinox fitness instructor and contributing writer for Elite Daily. Visit www.stefhealthtips.com for more information.

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Long Island Weekly columnist Stefani Pappas, RDN, CPT, is a clinical dietitian at St. Francis Hospital. She also provides private and group nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck. Visit Stef Health Tips for more information.

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