5 Secrets for Sticking to a New Year’s Diet

Newyeardiet 315

New Year’s resolutions about losing weight and dieting are being flung around, and our seasonal over-indulgence is settling nicely as extra padding under those thick sweaters. The Cooking Fairy Joanna Wallis, a personal chef in Greenwich, Connecticut, has five secrets on how to get on the right track to stick to those New Year’s health resolutions.

Here are some hints and tips to get you on the fast track to the New Year. 

1) Don’t make a hefty New Year’s resolution that you are unlikely to sustain.
 For example, “I am giving up chocolate/alcohol/coffee for the rest of my life!” If you are accustomed to enjoying such pleasures, don’t deprive yourself of that in entirety. Use the general rule of ‘everything in moderation’, and allow yourself a small treat every now and again, but be more mindful of the quantity and quality of your indulgences.

2) Do focus on positive goals, such as, “I will eat an extra serving of vegetables a day”, or “I will make sure I start my day with breakfast” (even if it’s a small one). Choose your goals carefully and subjectively. Be more mindful of the areas in which you know you tend to go overboard on – whether it be sugary snacks, or white carbohydrates. Think more carefully about your consumption before consuming! 

3) Unless you’re really trying to lose a great amount of weight, then steer clear from the diets. You know you’ll be over it in a couple of weeks anyway. From South Beach to Paleo to WeightWatchers, these diets by and large tout the same message, more fiber and vegetables and less fat and sugar. By all means, kickstart with a juice cleanse if you feel inclined, but after that, focus on making small, progressive changes to your diet. Instead of loading up on weight-loss books, invest in a couple of great healthy eating cookbooks instead, or search online. “I especially like Martha Rose Schulman’s recipes. She has great books and publishes regularly at the New York Times,” shares Wallis.

“In addition, steer clear away from the word ‘diet.’ Eating healthy is a lifestyle change and choice. When you tell yourself that you are on a diet, this automatically says you cannot eat certain foods — you are restricted. You should not ever feel restricted; instead, think of it as your choice to eat healthy. You can eat anything you want, but you choose not to eat unhealthy foods,” says Wallis. 

4) Cook at home more! Cooking at home is by far the best way to ensure that you know what and how much is going into your food. If you’re pressed for time during the work week, consider making two or three meals ahead of time, when you’re less pressured. The benefit of the winter is that easy one-pot meals take no time at all and are hearty, comforting and healthy.

5) Cut out the mindless snacking and try and establish a regular mealtime routine, and even better, eat with other people. Watch out for snacking. Are you truly hungry when you eat a snack? Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day; often times our bodies just need water and instead we mistake it for hunger. If you must have a snack, choose wisely: a handful of unsalted nuts, a yogurt, piece of fruit, or even sliced veggies with hummus (carrots, cucumbers, etc.) are all healthy and satisfying snack options. Further, when mealtimes become social occasions we tend to slow down, enjoy our food more and prepare and eat more mindfully.

Joanna Wallis is a busy mom of 3 who started cooking over 20 years ago. Her culinary knowledge is self-taught and spans a variety of different cuisines and styles. Her love of food was the inspiration for The Cooking Fairy which started out as a glimmer of shiny magic over three years ago. Joanna works as a personal chef for a wide range of clientele and she loves bringing families together with healthy, delicious, and fresh meals prepared just for them.