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Do's and Don'ts for Making New Year's Resolutions

Fitday Editor
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Do New Year's diet resolutions work for most people? Are they a good idea? Is there a way a resolution for weight loss can work? Well, there are many ways to lose weight for 2011. But which is the best way? I asked Registered Dietitians from far and wide for thoughts to combine with my own.


  • Don't think of "dieting" (the way fad products and some programs make you think of it) as a good thing. "The best way to succeed is to avoid a diet," says Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, ACSM in Washington D.C. "Be honest about where you're at right now and plan what you can do with confidence."
Reba Sloan, MPH, LRD, FAED of Nashville, TN sees how New Year's Resolutions in dieting do not work for people, but it was because of how approached weight loss before they came to see her. "You did not fail," Sloan said. "The diet failed you by not being something you could follow for a lifetime."

  • Don't think you can just keep starting a new diet every January first if it doesn't work out this time. Your health is a serious matter. Yo-yo dieting has been clinically shown to be bad for your health in the long run.
It's a common practice to "lose weight" in any way possible, from starving yourself or eating only junk food to following the latest fad product, to the sacrifice of their health. The best way to lose weight will be the one that also fosters total health for the long run.

  • Do make sure that losing weight is what you really want to do. Many people think they want to lose weight, but are not truly ready. They may actually even sabotage weight loss efforts because for some unconscious reason, they actually want to remain overweight.
  • Do gain nutrition knowledge from trusted resources and professionals that are customized for you, and make a permanent lifestyle change.
  • Think of "dieting" as not overly restricting, but a one-time way of life change in eating. It is not a temporary program, and a way that will foster overall health for life.
  • Make the changes fun, the way Linda Farr, RD, LD of Nutrition Associates in San Antonion, TX likes to do. "I tell my clients to think about adding in the healthier foods into their eating plan. This way it is more positive and everyone likes to add in more foods, such as adding one fruit to each meal or add in one dairy food for a snack everyday, Farr suggests. "I also encourage couples to shop and cook together or even have dinner parties at home. Cooking is now very sexy and cool--as we can see by all the cooking shows. I encourage couples to pick recipes from favorite magazines and plan to shop and cook together--like a cooking date. If cooking at home can be fun and enjoyable, along with healthy new foods to add in, it is a win win."
  • Do put the plan to paper, to make your resolution more serious. "I recommend sitting down to write out a few goals," says Roseanne Rust, MS, RD, LDN in Meadville, PA; also author of the Calorie Counter for Dummies. "A plan is always a good idea (scheduling exercise days/times, packing fresh fruit in your briefcase to nosh on when hunger strikes mid-day). By writing it down, clients get a better idea where their own personal weaknesses lie and can set a goal accordingly."
  • Do go see a Registered Dietitian who specialized in weight loss for your final weight loss New Year's Resolution.
  • Do come up with other New Year's Resolutions for next year, like spending more time with the kids or having a cleaner house - since you'll need them when you learn to approach weight loss the right way!

Catherine S. Hains, MS RD has been interested in health and nutrition since she was a young child. Growing up in Fort Worth, TX, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Texas Christian University and wrote for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for 12 years. Her life-long interest in nutrition and disease prevention never waned, and she went on to earn her Master's Degree in Nutrition from Eastern Michigan University. Cathy, now a Registered Dietitian, owns Lighthouse Nutrition and Wellness in Gig Harbor, WA where she enjoys inspiring people of all ages to make losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle easy, fun and permanent. She enjoys good food, cooking and food preparation, and showing others how healthy this can be. Her other pastimes include traveling, art, music and family life. She also likes staying fit with tennis, bicycling walking and jogging, researching nutrition and helping clients be at their best. For more information on Cathy, visit or write to Catherine at

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