Thinking of starting that diet as a New Year’s resolution? That’s a fine idea, says Sofia Rydin-Gray, PhD, a clinical psychologist, at Duke Diet & Fitness Center. But rule No. 1 is you have to have a plan.
And when you fall off your plan? When you opt for the pecan pie a la mode, despite your best intentions?
Just go back to rule No. 1, says Rydin-Gray. That is, have a plan for when you don’t follow your plan.
“Anticipate the challenges,” says Rydin-Gray. “If you overindulge, you have to have a plan for how you’ll deal with it.”
But that doesn’t mean starving yourself the next day, says Elisabetta Politi, nutrition director at Duke Diet & Fitness Center. “That just perpetuates the cycle,” she says. "If you don’t eat, you’ll get too hungry, you may even get too weak to exercise.”
In fact, dealing with a dietary diversion seems to have more to do with how you think about it than what you eat.
“Tell yourself that yesterday is yesterday,” says Rydin-Gray. “Don’t be judgmental. Just get yourself back on track.”
“Plan to get some exercise,” says Politi. “It’s good for your physical health as well as your outlook. Plus, January is a great time to shop around for New Year’s resolutions specials at gyms. You can find a great deal!”
Finally, for your best chance at success, realize that any diet plan has to be long term.
“Remember, it’s a New Year’s resolution,” says Rydin-Gray. “Not a January resolution.”
Go to DukeHealth.org for more tips and advice on health, wellness and more for you and your family. The Duke Diet & Fitness Center is offering some special deals and programs for the new year. Click here for details.