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National Restaurant Association - Ask the Nutritionist: Turn your New Year's resolution into a life-long habit

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Ask the Nutritionist: Turn your New Year's resolution into a life-long habit

In her latest Ask the Nutritionist commentary, the National Restaurant Association’s Director of Nutrition & Healthy Living Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., offers up helpful tips to maintain New Year's resolutions.

Many of us set goals for ourselves around each new year, but it’s all too easy to lose sight of those goals as we resume our busy lives after the holidays. Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions focus on weight loss or becoming more physically active. Making small changes in your diet or exercise routine can eventually add up to big success. It’s important to initially focus on the behavior change, which will eventually lead to positive results. Remember, health and wellness is a life-long commitment, not just for a year or even month. 

Below are a few strategies to keep in mind to make your life healthier for 2012:

• Keep a journal or account of what you eat, including the portion sizes. You may also want to track your emotions to determine if you are eating simply because you are bored, sad, lonely, or nervous, rather than because you are actually hungry.

• Monitor your weight at least once per week at the same time of day, preferably in the morning.

• Find an activity you love to do and keep with it! Find out what motivates you.

• Grab a friend and get moving! Accountability is helpful and you may enjoy working out with a friend.

• Be consistent with your newly formed good habits so they will eventually lead to a daily routine.

• Eat breakfast that has fruit and a source of protein every day.

• Enjoy the flavors of the food and be mindful of what you are eating. Don't eat in front of the computer or TV, which can distract you. Enjoy the food, not the abundance, and eat until you are satisfied, not full.

• Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Select fruit as a snack or dessert. Keep cut-up vegetables handy for a snack.

• Stay hydrated! Choose no-calorie or low-calorie beverages. For example, try sparkling water with fresh fruit for flavor instead of a sugary drink.

To help you with your goals, the USDA recently launched its “SuperTracker,” which can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity. This tool will help you track your progress and provide positive reinforcement.

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