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Diet Resolutions for 2011

Toward the close of the year, plans for weight loss are plentiful as snowflakes or shoppers at the mall. But the cold truth of statistics is that a successful weight loss plan is as rare as the perfect holiday gift. In the flush of a saturation of people, possessions and food, a new year's purge sounds like sweet relief. But diet resolutions that are launched from an emotional basis are likely to founder on an emotional basis, as soon as the diet plan complicates life, offers too little variety, or seems to take too long to show results.

The odds are good that if you're contemplating a New Year's resolution regarding your diet, you've done the same thing in years past. If you've tried enough times before, you are probably experiencing a certain hopelessness about the effort.

While you don't want to give up your goals, it can be maddening to find yourself in what looks like the same position as last year--discontent with the way your body feels or looks, suffering from physical discomfort, allowing emotional triggers to make your decisions for you.

If this year is going to be different, the plan has to be different--not just in its daily caloric requirements or food combinations, but in where and how it starts.

It is essential to consider why you want to change your diet. Some people simply want to look better, to return to a weight they associate with a positive time in their lives. Others suffer from real health disorders as a result of what they eat, or how much they eat. These health issues can be physical, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, or they can be emotional, resorting to food as a way to find inner comfort or avoid inner conflict. There are those whose only motivation to change their diet is the urgent request of a loved one, who fears for their health.

Whatever diet plan you choose, success depends on the reason you are following it. This reason will help you make consistent decisions to stay on the plan when temptations arise to abandon it. It will also help you to evaluate the plan objectively. Once you've identified the central reason for your diet resolution, it is immensely helpful to locate a visual token to remind you. Whether it's a picture of a loved one, a dress that you can't yet fit into, or a quotation that inspires you, keeping this reminder close by will empower you in the moments of small but important decisions.

Asking the right people for support is also critical to the success of a diet resolution. Especially if you have attempted to follow a diet in the past, and have failed your goals, it is generally a good idea to keep your plans on a low profile. People who have little at stake in your wellness are likely to remind you of past failures, and undermine your determination. It is much more helpful to tell only the people who will keep you accountable, remind you of the reasons for your diet resolution, and will work with you to achieve success. Ultimately, you cannot depend on your environment for consistent support in following your diet resolution. But the people who care the most for you are valuable allies in fighting for what you want to achieve.

Admitting your weakness is another critical part of succeeding in a diet resolution. There is no shame in admitting the temptations that lead you to failure--they must obviously be there, since failure has occurred. Real strength lies in pinpointing those temptations and finding ways to avoid or fight them. If unhealthy eating results from spending time in certain situations or with certain people, you can make a plan for how to follow those encounters without compromising your resolution. For instance, if simply shopping at the grocery store is a temptation to buy foods that would defeat your diet goals, an ideal solution is to sign up for a delivery service with companies like Nutrisystem, Medifast, or Jenny Craig. Plans like this are the key to breaking an old destructive pattern, and a chance to form new, healthy habits around how you handle food.

Ultimately, diet resolutions are not about making you a new or different person. They are about unlocking the real you from health-destroying habits and mindsets. The new year is a chance to grow into who you really are.


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