April 21st, 2018

To Your Health: Focus on achievable goals for any New Year’s Resolution

By Gillian Slade on December 26, 2016.

One of the best ways to ensure you make progress on any New Year’s Resolution is to make your target achievable.

This year I interviewed a woman who had managed to lose an enormous amount of weight and keep it off. She had thought very carefully about the changes she would have to make in her life to achieve that. She loved chocolate and told me she knew if she could never again enjoy chocolate she would fail at some point or convince herself never to start.

Her strategy, I think, was masterful. She would allow herself two tiny chocolate Kisses per day after supper. She had determined the calories in that little chocolate would be negligible and she would not feel deprived.

Many of us will feel the pounds of food on our bodies from overindulging at Christmas. It makes us feel good to declare that we are going to take action. We announce to family and friends that we will go to the gym every morning for an hour before we go to work. We declare we are going to eat healthy meals.

The point is, though, if you have trouble convincing yourself to exercise at the best of times it is not going to be any different this time. If you are not a morning person you are going to find it hard to get up an hour earlier. A more realistic target may be going for a 30-minute walk one morning a week to start with. Once you have achieved that consistently for a month you may be ready to take it to the next step and go two mornings a week and so on.

Changing your diet from eating out, as that may include a serving that is really much more than you need, to a nutritious home cooked meal is also likely to fail unless you have a strategy to achieve that.

One of the rewards of getting older is learning from the school of hard knocks. I can remember years of getting home from work and feeling exhausted at the very idea of having to cook a meal from scratch and then clean the kitchen afterwards.

I now find cooking on a weekend quite enjoyable and decided those would be opportunities to cook in bulk. Instead of cooking two chicken breasts for supper on a Saturday I cook 10. I bought plastic containers at the dollar store that would hold just enough for a normal meal in our home. Having the same containers facilitates easy stacking in your freezer. The pan you cooked the chicken in can be deglazed to make a sauce or gravy. Put a small amount in suitable containers also in the freezer. It is much easier to come home from work, microwave the chicken, warm up the sauce, add a salad or steam some vegetables than cooking from scratch. You will also have less to clean up in the kitchen each evening.

Cooking in bulk like that also allows you to buy in quantities when meat is on sale. Over time you will develop a wide variety of supper dishes in your freezer from which to choose.

This year plan your New Year’s Resolution with thought and in achievable steps so that you don’t become discouraged. Here’s To Your Health.

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her by email on call 403-528-8635.

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