Plan for a Healthier 2022

Over the course of a lifetime, we all develop our own little holiday rituals. One of mine is getting up on New Year’s morning, feeling bloated and queasy from the excesses of the holidays, and vowing, “THIS is the year I stop eating so much crap.” 

The fact that I remake this resolution every single year shows how successful I’ve been so far. But this year I really am determined. I’ve decided that having an actual plan to change my eating habits is my best chance for success, and I’ve gathered a few tips that might help you, too, if you’ve set a better eating goal for 2022.

1.    Choose a focus. I know I’d never stick to an eating plan that’s extremely restrictive on calories and food choices, so I’m going to focus on cutting back on processed foods, carbs and sugars. You may find a Keto, Paleo, intermittent fasting or some other style works better for you. Do a little online research to discover your best focus.

2.    Set a goal. It helps to have something to aim for. Is your top priority losing a few pounds, improving your overall wellness or some other desired result? Write it down in specific, quantifiable terms, e.g., “By December 31, 2022, I will weigh 40 pounds less than I do today.” You may find it helpful to break your goal into chunks, or stages (for example, losing 3-5 pounds per month or lowering your cholesterol a certain amount by your next doctor’s appointment).

3.    Get organized. It’s hard to stick to a plan if you don’t do a little preparation. Take some time to decide what you will eat in the next week, make a shopping list and set aside an afternoon or evening to prep upcoming meals. That way you won’t have to scramble half an hour before dinner to find something to eat that meets your plan.

4.    Avoid an “all or nothing” mindset. You know yourself best. If you are likely to “cheat” on your goals on occasion, build that into your plan. (“I will allow myself a small dish of ice cream on Sunday evenings.”) If you stray from your plan, don’t throw in the towel. Simply recommit yourself to your plan and start again.

5.    Change course if needed. Maybe your goal was to lose weight, but the plan you started with just isn’t working. Make adjustments as needed to keep making progress toward your goal. Finding that Keto is too restrictive? Try shifting to a DASH or Mediterranean focus. Craving carbs? Allow yourself some healthier carb options, like whole grains and fresh fruits. The key is experimenting until you find the plan that you WILL stick to.

6.    Get some “professional help.” Planning meals that fit your chosen plan can be a time-consuming and challenging process that might cause you to become discouraged. Look for resources like pre-planned menus or meal kits (Tastefully Simple’s 5- and 14-Day Reset Kits are good options) that can ease the burden of staying on plan.

I’ve started making MY plan for 2022 … and this time I’m determined to stick to it. What wellness goals have you set for yourself this year? I’d love to hear about it!