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Out With the Old, In With the New

If you’re thinking of making a New Year’s resolution that relates to weight, health, or fitness, you’re in good company. According to Statistic Brain, the top resolution for 2012 was “lose weight”, while number five was “staying fit and healthy”, and my guess is that 2013 resolutions will follow a similar pattern.

How do we achieve these (and other) goals? One suggestion comes in the form of that familiar phrase, “Out with the old, in with the new.” For example, we can apply this to food. For most people, a good start to losing weight is to cut out a lot of sugary, fatty foods (the “old”) and replace them with more whole foods such as fruit and vegetables (the “new”).

Unfortunately, this old and new approach might not quite work with food. After all, most everyone knows what diet changes they could make, and yet many fail to keep this resolution, not just at New Year’s but at other times as well.

Part of the problem is that the sugary, fatty foods, in addition to tasting good, can be very comforting, familiar, and easy to prepare. Getting them “out” is therefore challenging, especially if you’re bringing “in” foods that you don’t like, don’t know, and/or take longer to prepare. Consider. What if eating chips, baked goods, candy, etc. is a great source of comfort to you - will replacing them with things like quinoa, kale, and apples give you the same enjoyment? It’s doubtful, especially in the beginning.

This is where thinking about why we like those foods help. Sometimes it can be emotional reasons, but it’s likely also something about the food itself that you truly enjoy. Maybe it’s the texture, the sweetness, the spiciness, the heat or cold, the familiarity, or something else that appeals to you.

Once you know that, you might be able to find something that has similar qualities but is healthier. For instance, if you’re looking for crunch, crisp vegetables with hummus might work instead of chips. Or if it’s sweetness, a baked apple with some cinnamon and a little honey might swerve for dessert.

Whether this approach is something you want to try or not, I hope that you find a way of keeping your resolution (if you made one) that works for you. And to everyone, as we usher out the old year, may the new year coming in bring much happiness and peace.

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