Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Risky Resolutions (and What You Should Do Instead)

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Risky Resolutions (and What You Should Do Instead)

Article excerpt

New Year's resolutions: They can be motivating and inspiring ("I want to feel healthy and strong in 2016). Or they can be completely out of reach and by extension demoralizing and even dangerous ("I am going to run a marathon in a month, and I'm starting my training now!). We asked some fitness and nutrition experts to identify some common risky resolutions and offer healthy alternatives for the coming year.

Lose 10 pounds in 10 days

"The jump-start or quick-fix approach is not sustainable, says Rebecca Scritchfield, a registered dietitian and American College of Sports Medicine-certified health fitness specialist. "It usually is just a sign of feeling panicked or desperate.

Instead, play the long game. Nutrition and exercise should not feel like punishment, she says. Start from a place of self-care and compassion: Think balanced nutrition, adequate sleep (seven to nine hours) and exercise.

"Don't set a weight-loss goal, Scritchfield says. "Focus on your habits.

If it helps you observe and reflect, start journaling, she says. Pay attention to your energy levels throughout the day, list one thing you're grateful for, note when things make you feel whole and satisfied - those things are worth repeating and revisiting.

Jump on the latest fad diet

At the moment, intermittent fasting (diets that cycle between fasting days and regular eating days), Whole30 (whole-foods-based eating that excludes many food groups, including grain, legumes and all sugars, including honey) and juicing are all the rage. But Scritchfield is not a fan.

* Intermittent fasting: "When it comes to intermittent fasting, you're basically ignoring the body's needs once a week or more, Scritchfield says, referring to the days when you might be allowed only 500 calories.

* Whole30: "It's extremely restrictive. It's a diet in disguise, Scritchfield says. "All the fresh vegetables are great, but if you were eating junk food and switch over to Whole30, it's just going from one extreme to another. Not to mention that super-restrictive diets are difficult to maintain (say, past those 30 days).

* Juicing: "You're not getting any fiber with fruit smoothies, but you are getting a lot of sugar, Scritchfield says, adding that juicing is not sustainable. …

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