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How to actually commit to your healthy eating new year’s resolution

Experts weigh in on how to stick to a healthy eating regime all year long.

Standing on the precipice of a new year means a fresh start and a clean slate. There’s a renewed opportunity to kickstart goals from day one, so that by the end of next year, you can look back on your progress.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to prioritise healthy eating in 2024, chances are that by mid-January, the reality of a busy schedule has quickly blurred these aspirations. In fact, January 12 is recognised as the date that most people give up on their New Year’s resolutions.

But just because most people forget their resolutions by January 12 doesn’t mean you have to. The journey to healthy eating doesn’t happen overnight. Read on for tips and tricks for making your healthy eating new year’s resolution stick.

Why is ‘eating healthy’ such a popular New Year’s resolution?

Whether you want to lose weight or to take care of your health, January 1 is the perfect excuse to kick off your healthy eating journey.

“The start of a new year symbolises a fresh beginning, inspiring individuals to prioritise their health and make positive changes,” Clinical Nutritionist Court Garfoot explains to The Weekly.

“Concerns about weight management, decreased energy levels, and a heightened awareness of nutrition’s profound impact on overall health are often key drivers for this resolution.”

In fact, according to Finder, healthy eating and losing weight makes up 72 per cent of all Australian new year’s resolutions.

“As a dietitian, I’m getting an influx of bookings from people wanting support to eat healthier,” Erin Murnane from Balance and Bite tells The Weekly. 

“It’s normal for enquiries to increase this time of the year as we tend to overeat during Christmas, and the New Year is the perfect time to set new habits, particularly around our health.”

Why dieting is not the solution

Stepping into the health sphere can be overwhelming. As you begin to research and learn, be aware of fad health trends, quick-fix solutions and toxic diet culture which can easily disguise itself as legitimate health and lifestyle advice.

It’s important to remember that dieting only offers short-term solutions whereas healthy eating is a slow but rewarding lifestyle change. 

Erin, who considers herself a “non-diet dietician”, says, “Dieting is code for deprivation and restriction – two things we can only do for so long. 

“On the other hand, lifestyle changes can be small things we integrate into our daily routines that become second nature until we don’t even notice we’re doing them anymore.”

How to achieve your New Year’s resolution of healthy eating

Set realistic and attainable goals: One of the biggest roadblocks to making a lifestyle change such as healthy eating is making big, dramatic shifts. Nutritionist Court Garfoot says that setting realistic and attainable goals will ensure that healthy eating becomes a habit and not a stint.

“This may include incorporating more fruits and vegetables into daily meals, reducing processed food intake, or staying hydrated. Small changes are more achievable and have more impact than setting lofty goals.”

Don’t restrict the foods you love: Another major roadblock to eating healthier is the mindset that you need to restrict yourself from the foods you love.

“Eating healthy includes allowing yourself to enjoy all the foods you love (yes, chocolate). When we incorporate these foods into our weekly routine, we’re less likely to overeat them and enjoy them without guilt,” Erin says.

Make food shopping easier: If takeaway is your weak spot when you’re tired or busy, there are a few ways you can circumvent always opting for an UberEats dinner. 

Erin recommends creating shopping lists or doing your groceries online to take the stress out of shopping whilst ensuring there is food in the house you can reach for.

Plan meals and snacks in advance: Taking the time to plan out your meals and snacks at the beginning of the week can not only save you time during the week but it also keeps you on track with your health goals.

Don’t overcomplicate things: The myth that healthy eating is complicated can be off-putting to those looking to implement change. Erin stresses it’s important to simplify your healthy eating regime.

“A healthy meal can be as simple as throwing together some roast chicken, microwave rice, a salad kit and a yummy dressing.”

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