Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions mostly to lose weight, exercise more or to quit smoking. However, if you make a resolution you are 46% likely to be successful in the following six months, whereas someone who makes no formal resolution has just a 4% success-rate. So, nutritionist Anna Collins suggests that you better start making them now!
Here are my three tips for success
1. Don’t try to do it all at once. Try setting a small goal each month up to a maximum of five resolutions over five months. It works better if you replace a behaviour with a better one, rather than just giving something up.
2. Be consistent. It takes three weeks of a consistent new behaviour to make it a habit. Don’t give up if you have a slip. Practice makes perfect!
3. Consider starting one of your resolutions in December to get ahead on 2017.
Here are three of my favourite food-related changes almost anyone can benefit from (if you have a digestive disorder you may need more personally-tailored advice).
THE WATER CHALLENGE
This means drinking a 250ml glass of water on waking, another mid-morning and mid-afternoon plus a glass of water at each meal. Herbal teas count, so there’s no problem if you prefer these.
You may also prefer a milky drink, try Rooibosch tea with milk. Before you know it, energy drainers like coffee, tea, fruit juice or fizzy drinks will have taken a nosedive.
Dehydration is a common cause of brain fog, lower back pain, overeating and high blood pressure.
GET THE VEGGIES IN
Eating more veg can make you more optimistic. A 2013 study shows that people with higher blood carotenoid levels (from eating vegetables) are happier people.
If half the contents of your plate at lunch and dinner becomes brightly coloured including green veggies, then you are on to a winner. If a quarter of the meal is protein (beans, eggs, fish or meat) then you’ll automatically eat only moderate starchy carbs such as bread, pasta and potatoes.
Starchy carbs, even healthy ones, are weight-gainers (as I found when I left home and suddenly couldn’t fit into my clothes despite a “healthy” diet). If you want better energy, no mid-afternoon ‘slump’, or just want to lose weight and stay younger-looking, then ramping up the veg is a great start.
If you think veggies taste horrible this is almost always due to mineral deficiencies impairing your sense of taste.
Sugar (and other refined foods like white flour and alcohol) use up your body’s nutrients like magnesium, B vitamins and zinc. These are crucial for fighting infection as well as for mood and energy.
Each dose of sugar measurably depletes your production of infection-fighting T-cells for around four hours. And sugar (and sugar equivalents like fructose and dextrose added to packaged foods) is a major weight-gainer.
Focussing on replacing sugary foods or drinks with up to three pieces of a variety of fresh fruit every day is another great habit to build. Try fresh mango/pineapple for dessert or snacking on apples, pears and berries could replace sugary choices.
Wishing you the best of health and happiness in 2017!
References:  Norcross et al (2002) Auld Lang Syne: Succeb7ss Predictors, Change Processes, and Self-Reported Outcomes of New Year's Resolvers and Nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology 58(4):397-405.  Boehm et al (2013) Association Between Optimism and Serum Antioxidants in the Midlife in the United States Study. Psychosomatic Medicine vol. 75 no. 12-10.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nutritional therapist Anna Collins, BA (Hons), dip ION, mNtoi, specialises in digestive wellness, skin and hair. Appointments can be made at her clinic in Dublin 12.
The Anna Collins Story: Tune in to hear Anna share her passion for how your food choices can change your life.