Sustaining your nutrition resolutions
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Nutrition New Year’s Resolutions

By Andrea Holwegner, Calgary Herald   December 29, 2010

new year's resolution eaeting goals

At this time of year, it’s natural to think about – and struggle to achieve – your wellness goals. This was definitely the case with a previous client of mine.

Cynthia was a baby boomer with two teenagers and a busy job in the oil and gas industry. Her goal was to lose the 25 pounds she had put on over the past two decades. Cynthia was discouraged that despite following many diets and trying to exercise, she could not seem to lose the weight for good.

Examining why people fail at something they want to achieve is often more beneficial than reviewing successes. Before setting your New Year’s resolution, consider these three reasons people fail, inspired by a 2008 article in Canadian Psychology written by Richard Koestner:

1. Lack of clarity:

There are likely many things you could work on, but what are the specific things you are willing to do that can improve your long- term health? Are you being reasonable and setting yourself up with the best chances for success?

Many people have a weight loss goal in their mind that needs to be readjusted to be more in alignment with reality. I encouraged Cynthia to think about reframing her goal weight to be higher, given her age and how much she was willing to change.

I also reminded Cynthia that weight loss of one-half to one pound per week was reasonable, even though the diet industry would have her believe this number should be higher. We identified a handful of strategies, such as reducing her supper portion by a quarter and adding a protein-rich food at breakfast – as specific and clear strategies to help achieve this goal.

2. No accountability:

Have you noticed few people are good at being their own cheerleaders and motivators? How about you? You may be more likely to accomplish your goals when you have accountability tools in place to help you monitor your progress and stay on course.

These could be things like keeping a food journal, joining an online support group, arranging an exercise date with a friend or hiring a coach. When the going gets tough, or your life gets crazy, accountability tools can help you stay on task.

After Cynthia and I had met for a few initial nutrition sessions, she felt confident that she knew what to do to help her lose weight. However, after a few months she realized that knowledge did not equal action. Cynthia called the follow-up meetings we set “butt kicker” appointments, since she knew having to report to me would keep her more accountable. Meetings were also a chance to fine-tune her goals and discuss challenges such as how to balance her personal nutrition goals with her teenage sons’ opposite goals.

3. Depending on willpower:

Accept that willpower will always let you down. We have a limited ability to self-regulate and alter our behaviour when we are faced with obstacles, life stressors and distractions. This is especially true when we are making a change to our nutrition and lifestyle that has not yet become a habit. It is far more effective to have a solid plan in place than to rely on willpower.

Cynthia had hoped that her willpower mixed with her strong desire to lose weight would prevent her from overeating in the evenings. She learned quickly that willpower didn’t work so well when it came to managing portions of sweet baked goods. For Cynthia, relying on willpower not to eat a whole row of brownies on the counter after a long day at work didn’t work so well. It was far better for her to divide treats into individual portions and keep them in the freezer. She also discovered it was essential for her to eat more at breakfast to prevent overeating later in the day.

Whatever your New Year’s Resolution is this year, be sure to have clarity, accountability and a specific plan that doesn’t rely on willpower for the best chance of success.

Andrea Holwegner is president of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. Visit www.healthstandnutrition.com and www.chocoholicdietitian.com or phone 403-262-3466 for more information on personalized nutrition counselling, seminars and to subscribe to our blog or free monthly ezine.

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Sustaining+your+nutrition+resolutions/4038912/story.html#ixzz19ibGkwr2

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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