4 ways to tweak your New Year’s nutrition goals for better results

Student eating a healthy salad

How are your New Year’s resolutions going?

If you’re like many people, the challenges of everyday life might be wearing down your resolve and making you reevaluate the goals you set. That’s OK! Now is the perfect time to press pause, make sure your goals are realistic and attainable, and make tweaks.

If you set resolutions around healthier eating or weight management, the University Heath Center registered dietitian Sarah Keegan, MS, RDN, LMNT, CDCES, shares four ways to help you adjust your goals for better results:

Turn your big nutrition goal into several small goals

This makes your goal easier to attain and can keep you motivated and accountable long-term. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds this year, set mini goals focused on losing 1.5 to 2 pounds each month.

Focus on building a healthy lifestyle instead of meeting a target weight goal

Although it’s OK to want to lose weight, don’t become too restrictive. This can negatively impact your physical and mental health and makes it harder to maintain your results. Instead, focus on improving your energy levels and nourishing your body. Skip calorie counting and try keeping a food journal. Log what you eat and compare that to how your body feels at that moment.

If you are struggling with your relationship with food, consider talking to your University Health Center provider or a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services.

Flip negative goals into positive goals

Focusing on the foods or behaviors you want to eliminate from your diet can backfire, causing you to fixate on what you can’t have and create negative feelings toward your goal. Instead, swap them to focus on the healthy foods or behaviors you will increase. For example, if your goal is to eat fewer sweets, focus instead on incorporating a fruit or vegetable into every meal. If you want to drink less caffeine, focus on increasing your daily water intake instead. 

Talk to a registered dietitian before starting a new diet

There are lots of trending diets out there. Some are healthy, and some are not. Often, it depends on your situation and how the benefits and risks outweigh one another. Before trying Keto, Paleo, Whole30, intermittent fasting or other trending diets, schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian. They can help guide you on your journey and make sure you are staying healthy and reaching your goals.

Student fees cover the cost of your first nutrition counseling visit at the University Health Center. Follow-up visits can be submitted to private insurance. Call 402.472.5000 to schedule an appointment.