New Year, NO Diet: An Anti-Deprivation Approach to Your Resolution
By Ali Kucich Brady, MSc, FNLP, FNTP, BCHHC, CHSC, Owner of Eighty Nutrition, Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Have you made diet and exercise resolutions, a la “New year, new you?” About one-quarter of Americans state that “losing weight” and “exercising more” are their top goals. And while there’s nothing wrong with aligning habit change and the start of the new year (science shows us that we often need a set “start date” to take action), many people set unrealistic goals that set them up for failure. The second Friday of January is even known as National Quitter’s Day because most people have abandoned their resolutions by then.
If this isn’t your first rodeo with making big, overwhelming diet and exercise plans on January 1, you likely know that ditching your resolution elicits a motherlode of negative self-talk, and often propels you into yet another yo-yo diet or fanatical exercise program… and that’s no good at all.
But what if 2023 was the year we (finally) used a different strategy? Instead of one overarching resolution that can easily “fail” when you cave in and eat that brownie, or sleep in instead of going to hot yoga, consider setting measurable, specific, realistic weekly goals that are rooted in habit change. Goals that support what you want for your body with an appreciation for food, rather than judgment, criticism, and fear.
When it comes to nutrition and exercise, here are four ways we reword, refocus, and reset goals:
Deciding to eat one pound of veggies over the course of each day, rather than saying “I’m on a diet and I can only eat (insert bland diet meal here.)”
Allowing yourself a sweet indulgence or two per week as part of a meal instead of declaring you’ll never touch sugar again.
Increasing the number of days you cook at home rather than proclaiming you’ll “never eat out again.”
Walking one mile five days a week, as opposed to promising to go to the gym every single day.
This strategy works with your brain, rather than against it, which makes sense because humans learn habits slowly, after repeated experiences. In fact, research shows that if you choose a goal and start NOW, it will take 2 weeks for you to feel it, 4 weeks to see it positively affecting your life, and 8 weeks to truly make it a part of you.
But let’s not even go 8 weeks out. Let’s stay right here, in the present moment, agreeing that changing health is a journey and doesn’t happen overnight. A commitment to consistency and the resolve it takes to abandon toxic habits will get you there.
Even if you eat an extra brownie now and then!
Ali is a board-certified functional medicine nutritionist and health coach, who helps clients optimize their hormonal health, restore their gut microbiome, and reduce inflammation with nutrition and lifestyle interventions. Her private practice, Eighty Nutrition, has helped hundreds of people achieve their peak state of awesome… mind, body, and soul.
Ali’s journey into the world of functional nutrition began twenty years ago when she was battling chronic health challenges that left her fatigued, sick, and in pain. In recovering her health, Ali came to understand that food and lifestyle interventions were at the core of optimal health and were the key to enhanced energy, healthy body composition, and overall wellness.
Ali holds degrees from Franklin & Marshall College, The London School of Economics, and Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She has certifications from The Functional Nutrition Alliance, The Nutritional Therapy Institute, The Institute for Functional Medicine, and The Natural Gourmet Institute of Health and Culinary Arts. Ali has specialized training in functional hormonal health, autoimmune protocols, therapeutic nutritional supplementation, and functional blood chemistry analysis.
Ali supports clients across the country with science-based, 1:1 concierge-style nutrition protocols, as well as her seasonal group programs, the Real Food Reset and the 6-week bootcamp to break through bad habits and fad diets.