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Here’s how to start working on your healthier eating resolution

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 3:49 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As we head into a new year, you may be aiming to incorporate some healthier eating habits or even lose weight!

So how do you turn those healthy ideas into healthy habits and make them stick?

We consulted with Clarence Tawney, a Registered Dietitian with LewisGale Hospital Montgomery for some advice.

You can watch our full conversation on the WDBJ7+ Digital News Desk here:

Tawney says January is a busy month for dietitians and that the new year can be a great time to focus on your goals. He said, use that energy and motivation to get your started. Now, how to keep going?

How do I keep my momentum?

Tawney said it’s important to self-monitor for your goals. For example, if you’d like to lose weight, set a recurring time and date to track your weight loss on the scale and stick to it. It’s important, he said, to set short term goals and meet them. The little successes add up, instilling a positive attitude which lends itself to positive results.

“Don’t set a goal do far out that you lose interested before you get there,” he said.

Setting your goals:

According to Tawney, a good general goal to start with is tackling your bad habits. Begin with identifying them. Maybe it’s always getting a sugary drink when you stop for gas. Once you know what your bad habits are, he said, you can start doing away with them.

Factoring in the pandemic:

Tawney said working from home has become a particular challenge for us during the pandemic when it comes to health eating. Working at home means we develop work habits at our home - particularly snacking at the computer.

”The problem with that is humans are very easy to train,” he said. “And if we train ourself [sic] that we’re used to getting food and we’re working, then while we’re working our body is going to start to think, ‘Hey, where’s my snack?’ So we need to start working on stimulus control. We need a designated eating area.”

Healthy eating on a budget:

Tawney recognizes that food prices are going up and that healthy foods tend to cost more, which he called a “shame and a hindrance.” The key principles of weight loss focus on portion control and variety.

“Veggies are cheaper per pound,” he said. “The biggest thing about eating on a budget is using proper portions.”

Getting kids to eat healthier:

He knows the struggle of getting kids to eat healthier foods.

“My daughter didn’t eat a vegetable until she was 10!” he admits. “She eats very healthy now. She watches everything I eat now!”

Don’t force it too much, he said. But, as a parent or guardian, he believes the responsibility lies in offering healthy foods at every meal.

”We choose what we cook, we choose what we put on the table and the child can choose how much of that they want.”

This also goes back to having a designated eating area. Don’t let teens take snacks back to the video game area with them, make sure they’re eating at the table. And he recommended hiding the potato chips in the pantry and keeping out fruits and veggies.

“Sometimes apples are quite tempting when you’re hungry and they’re sitting there on the counter.”

Try to be encouraging to your children without being condescending.

Tips for diabetics:

For diabetics, he said, the concern is letting the blood sugar get too high. He said he would never tell a diabetic to limit their portion of meat if they’re hungry. The important think is constantly monitoring carbohydrates and eliminating sugary items. Portion control is important for fruits, milk and starches.

”A diabetic should never eat more than 60 grams of carbs in a meal,” he said. “Focus on eating about 30 grams per meal if you’re trying to lose weight.”

The big takeaway?

He said the biggest reason diets fail is that people get hungry or they hate what they’re eating. Instead of thinking about what foods you’re taking out of your diet, focus on the things you aim to add in.

“So I think a real good thought process is, instead of always wondering what you’re going to take our of your diet, start making goals of what you’re gonna add to it what you haven’t been doing. Take a look, write down everything you eat. Count up how many vegetables you’ve consumed that day. If it’s only one of two, you can do better than that. We all can. So try to think of things that you could add to your diet, that could improve your health. It’s not always about taking things away.”

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