One of the most common New Years resolutions folks choose each year is eating healthier. Coming out of the back-to-back, food and drink filled holidays, it’s no wonder we feel the pressure to get back on track! What we want is to look and feel good from the inside out but when we feel so far from that, where do we begin? I recommend asking yourself one question, “What benefit am I looking to get from improving my diet?” Good examples include “I want my food to energize me” or “I want to control my blood pressure with my diet”and so on and so forth! Being specific about what you want, helps identify what type of diet is best for achieving your goal and how you can track your progress. For example, in the case of energy, you can create your own 0-10 scale, tracking your energy levels at the same time once a week.
I really encourage tracking your progress for a few reasons. First, tracking changes in what you’re seeing and feeling helps determine whether you are heading in the right direction. If you’ve been increasing protein rich foods to prevent energy crashes in the afternoon but your weekly energy rating hasn’t changed, then you need to adjust your diet plan a bit. Second, tracking progress helps you stay focused on what you want to achieve. Not to long into any diet change, especially challenging ones like eliminating sugar or alcohol, it’s so easy to lose sight of why we started this crazy plan to begin with. What I’ve seen in my patients is that seeing changes and improvements in what they’re tracking, whether it be daily blood sugars or number of times they wake up at night, the struggle of making the diet change becomes worth it because they see it is working and that they feel better.
Now that you’ve set your goal and how you will track success, how do you know what diet is right for you? Luckily, we live in a time where finding the answer to this can be an internet search away. For instance, in the case of controlling blood pressure, the Mediterranean diet has been well studied with several webpages, books, cookbooks and blogs dedicated to the diet details and recipes. However, sometimes this answer isn’t so easily found, as can be the case in folks who have tried several diets without success, have multiple chronic health complaints or crazy weird food reactions. In this case, having a physician on board who’s been trained in clinical nutrition, such as yours truly is a huge asset. I assess your current health status, talk with you about your nutrition goals and together we create an individualized diet plan that fits your needs.
I hope you’ve found these recommendations helpful, whether you’re setting up your own healthy eating plan or scheduling with me for a comprehensive individualized plan. I wish you all the luck and a happy abundant 2019!!!