Jumping Right InFood and Fitness Tips from Dr. Frederick N. Lukash.

If you’re like the majority of folks at the turn of the year, you’ve made a list of resolutions and commitments you hope to make good on in 2015. Even corporations like Time Warner Cable are getting in on the act, declaring this month “Fit Kid Challenge February.

Most likely, some of the resolutions on the top of the list are about fitness and nutrition.

“I’ll eat low carb and join that gym.”

“I’m going to run every morning and limit myself to light beer when I go out with the guys.”

“I’m going to lose that ‘Freshman 15′”

“I’m getting back to pre-baby weight in time for bikini time.”

Resolutions are great…if they lead to real change. Sometimes we have to manage the way we make our resolutions–whether for fitness or other choices.

I’ve found that my patients who have succeeded in their weight loss and fitness goals have approached their resolutions with mindfulness–understanding the method they were using to “get into the water” so to speak, and choosing the best method of their emotional, social and nutritional needs.

If I were going to classify these methods into the top two ways to make a major fitness and nutritional change, I’d call them “the diving board” and “the wading pool.”

Diving board change is what it sounds like.  You dive right in. You do the diet as it is with no modifications from day one.  No shortcuts.  No built-in cheat days. If you’re the kind of person who finds it hard to resist temptation, an all or nothing approach may actually help you stay on track because you won’t be tasting temptation on a regular basis.

The other method would be “the wading pool.”

Wading pool change is putting one toe into the water and wading in.  It means making one or two changes a week until you’ve become accustomed to the new food or exercise plan. This method may be best for people who feel that they work best with slow but sure progress and who can feel good about making incremental change.

Wading pool techniques for New Year fitness and food resolution could include:

  • Adding vegetables and fruits to your daily diet before subtracting carbs, fats or treats.
  • Slowly weaning yourself off of desserts by halving them at each meal.
  • Diluting unhealthy diet soda with seltzer water.
  • Making sure you’re getting eight glasses of fresh water a day for a full week before you start making other changes.

Being mindful of your personal response to change can help you plan the right strategy for keeping your New Year’s resolution for a fitter, more beautiful 2015.

Diving board or wading pool?  Either way, as Disney’s Dory from Finding Nemo said most memorably, “Just keep swimming!” and you’ll make those resolutions stick!

Dr. Frederick Lukash, MD, FACS, FAAP

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