This year I will: lose weight, start exercising, eat better. Sound familiar?
These New Year's resolutions are among the top five resolutions every year. These goals are consistently on top because year after year, well-intentioned, motivated people are unable to attain their goals.
Why is it so hard to keep a New Year's resolution to get healthy?
In general I find it's not that people are lazy or that their health problems are so insurmountable. Instead I see three main roadblocks keeping most people from actually getting healthy:
1. Most people are not equipped to navigate today's complex nutrition world. Eating is not as simple as it used to be. We are faced with more choices and more advice than ever before.
Even as a professional nutritionist, I find that all the information out there can be overwhelming. Knowing how to read labels, evaluate health claims and make healthy choices is essential.
2. Not all of us are in tune with our own bodies. No matter what the media might have us believe, there is no one magic answer to meet everyone's health needs. We are all biochemically individual and require our own unique mix of nutrients and exercise to feel our best. Setting realistic goals and eating in ways that support your individual body is the key to lasting health.
3. There are complex hormonal and neurological processes at work in your body that may be driving your eating patterns in ways you might not understand.
For example, did you know that the hormones that regulate stress levels and blood sugar also have an impact on appetite and weight? Do you also realize that compounds found in everyday "healthy" foods may be addictive for some individuals, making them "unhealthy" for some?
Understanding how the body works with, and sometimes against, diet and lifestyle changes can make a world of difference for achieving your health goals.
While creating true, lasting health doesn't happen overnight and there are no magic pills to get us there, the good news is it's not all that hard, and begins with small changes.
The first step is making a commitment to your health.
The second step is searching out ways to support that commitment. I find that the people who are most successful are those willing to learn.
Knowledge is our most powerful tool in maintaining our health; it gives us a means to achieve our goals and reinforces our motivation. So this year, if your goal is to get healthy, consider becoming well-informed first.
To your good health!
Master Nutrition Therapist Heather Pratt is a nutritionist, writer and teacher who loves to share her passion for food and health with others. She will be offering four nutrition seminars at Colorado Mountain College: Change Your Diet, Change Your Life Jan. 21-Feb. 4; Kitchen Cupboard Medicine Feb. 9; 10 Foods for Optimal Health April 11; and the Ins and Outs of Digestion April 13.