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Bariatric Bytes includes monthly tips and a quarterly newsletter featuring recipes and helpful information.
A new year often brings new goals and resolutions. However, it is estimated that approximately 45 percent of Americans set New Year’s resolutions and around one-third of those people have ditched those resolutions by the end of January. So how can we make those resolutions and goals last?
First, start by eliminating the “all or nothing approach.” Second, since eating healthier encompasses several different actions, make one to two small changes at a time. We all know that old habits die hard. Working on one to two small things at a time keeps us from feeling so overwhelmed. Once you have mastered those, you can move on to something else. If you feel like one to two small goals isn’t enough, remember this quote:
“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.” -Tanzanian Proverb
Consider making your New Year’s resolutions and goals in a “SMART” way.
Specific (Who, What, When, Where, Why?): A goal needs to be as specific as possible. “Eat healthier” and “Exercise more” is too vague. What exactly do you want to achieve and how do you plan to do it?
Measurable: If you don’t make your goal measurable you will not know when you reach it. Examples: “Cook dinner at home at least four days per week” or “Increase walking to 10,000 steps per day.” Track your progress to help keep you motivated and excited about reaching your goal.
Accountable: Having something or someone to help hold you accountable can assist in reaching your goal, such as an exercise partner or a friend/spouse to aid in meal planning.
Realistic: A goal needs to be challenging without being overwhelming. Goal setting is also highly individual—a goal that may be realistic for one person may be unrealistic to another.
Timely: Associate a timeframe that defines when you should complete the goal. If you don’t have an expectation of how much time a goal should take to accomplish or when you want to have it finished, you will not feel the sense of urgency that will help you complete it.
And remember, you can set goals for yourself any time of the year! There will always be bumps and struggles along the way. What matters most is how you react to them.
“The only time you fail is when you fall down and stay down.” -Stephen Richards
Eating healthy can be challenging when you are dining at a restaurant. It’s always best to prepare your foods at home so you can control the ingredients that are used and how it is prepared. However, we all know that sometimes eating out is inevitable in the busy society we live in today. Here are some tips for eating on the go:
With holidays, family gatherings and even random occasions being centered on food, it is difficult to imagine a life where food is not the main attraction. Being humans, we have emotions. When we have experienced a rough day at work, troubles within our personal lives or if we simply are bored, our emotions may attempt to control our willpower. We may feel trapped by fear, frustration, stress, anxiety and even boredom. That’s when our eyes catch the shimmering potato chip bag or snack cake package, and we are tempted to dive in.
If made a habit, we can ingest hundreds of calories that were not even eaten for a purpose. Therefore, it is important to ask yourself, “Why am I eating this?” Are you eating because you are actually hungry or because you are bored? Sad? Stressed?
When tired and agitated think to yourself “If I could do anything right now to perk up my mood, what would that be?” If you are a gardener or outdoors enthusiast, take time outside in the sun to walk, tend your flowers or vegetables, or simply enjoy the weather. If weather does not permit, run errands, finish chores, call a friend, work crossword or Sudoku puzzles, or grab a book you have been meaning to read. The name of the game is to distract yourself from eating for comfort or to pass time, to having fun without food.
Mobile activities are particularly important. According to a study reported on by the Mayo Clinic, the practice of everyday activities can be described in the word NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. When a walking program was instilled for women subjects, it was found their “NEAT” activities decreased, possibly resulting in fewer calories burned daily because of fewer typical activities performed. This emphasizes the importance of those “little things” in our routines.
It is imperative to understand what gives us enjoyment and fuels our excitement every day. When we replace food with interesting outdoor activities, chores, hobbies, and fellowship with friends and family we can train ourselves to eat more for necessity instead of empty desire. Practice your passion and eat for hunger; let’s do this together!
“Food prep is probably the most under-rated, under-utilized healthy living tool. Making it a habit to spend even just one hour on the weekend to prep food can make a huge difference in your food choices during the upcoming week.” – The Lean Green Bean
Five Simple Steps to Begin Meal Prepping:
Have a plan
Make a list of everything you want to prep for the week. Plan a menu for the week and try to include staple food items that can be used for multiple meals. Once you have your list, divide it into sections of the kitchen (oven, stove, no cook, etc.). This will help give you an idea of how things will look on prep day.
Take advantage of time
The best way to get the most out of your time is to multi-task. Don’t be afraid to have multiple things cooking at once. In theory, you can have something cooking in the crockpot, something in the oven, and a few things on the stove all at the same time. Doing this will help you get the most out of your time and allow you to have time for other prepping needs.
Don’t overdo it
Most leftovers are only safe for up to four days in the refrigerator, so be careful not to make more food than you can eat. If you find that you cannot eat it all, remember that you can always freeze your leftovers.
Double the recipe
When prepping things like soup, burgers or casseroles, consider doubling the recipe and freezing half of it. This will make it easier on those days when you don’t have time to prep.
Focus on your trouble times
What time of day do you struggle the most with eating healthy? Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks, focus your meal plans around that time of day. If breakfast is a meal you struggle with eating every day, prep more breakfast foods so that way you have something already prepared each morning. Doing this will make meal times less stressful and allow more time for other activities during the day.
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Now that the Bariatric Center is designated as an Accredited Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program and is recognized in the Optum Centers of Excellence Network, weight loss surgery at NMMC is covered by more health plans, including those for teachers, state employees and many offered by employers. So, check your health plan benefits, talk to your doctor and weigh your options.