Have you made your New Year’s resolutions? After eating through the holiday parties, healthier living goals often top the list. Food and activity changes can be challenging, but when goals are well crafted, the path to success is easier.
When making goals think SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
The most common goal I hear from clients is, “I want to eat healthier.” Great idea, but not a SMART goal. How can that accomplishment be measured?
Another common goal that doesn’t pass the SMART test is, “I want to lose 10 pounds in one month.” You can do things that might lead to weight loss, but the numbers are not in your control.
A terrific new book will help anyone who has struggled with healthy living goals. The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook by Janet Helm and the editors at Cooking Light magazine (Oxmoor House, $24.95) has 12 SMART goal-oriented chapters. Each chapter presents a goal, explains why it is important and provides supporting recipes and food tips.
The chapters range from cook at least three more meals a week to add strength training at least two times a week. This book celebrates eating, which is the true path to lasting health.
To turn being mindful of what you eat into a SMART goal, consider writing down your food intake.
Multiple studies have confirmed the benefit of food journaling. My clients tell me that they pass on the candy when they know they will be writing it down.
A helpful free app for food journaling is MYFitnessPal. In addition to calorie information, it provides information on sodium, protein, fat, fiber and many other micronutrients. It is an education on what you are eating.
New Year, new you and new tools to make it all happen.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.