Every year, I make the same tired list of vague New Year’s Resolutions and fail at them. Until last year, when I decided to think about what it would actually take to accomplish a goal and wrote that down, instead of the goal itself. For instance, one popular resolution is “lose weight,” but how does one go about doing that? I’ve had that resolution every year and failed until I wrote, “Do cardio 3 times a week for 45 minutes at a time.” Even though I only consistently worked out about twice a week last year, I lost 20 pounds for the first time in years. I wrote down the habit that would accomplish the goal and stuck to it, instead of the goal itself.
Another resolution I always list but never seem to accomplish is “eat better.” Nutrition is fairly complicated. In fact, I dropped that class in college because I didn’t understand it—that and it was at 9 a.m. on a Friday morning which conflicted with my hangover recovery time. So I knew to accomplish that goal, I’d really need to dumb it down to what exactly I need to do to eat healthy. So through some googling, I found that the recommended daily amounts of certain food groups break down like this:
Food Group Recommended minimum servings each day Grains At least 6 ounces of grains (half of those should be whole grains) Vegetables 2 to 3 cups Fruits 1½ to 2 cups Milk and milk products 3 cups Meat and Beans 5 to 6½ ounces
So then I thought about designing some pretty odd meals for breakfast and lunch that could possibly include all these foods in one day. (Dinner “is what it is,” since I live with a boy who cooks some delicious form of meat and cheese every night and I don’t enjoy cooking. So at least my meat group is covered.) But for my other meals, I’m on my own. So I’d better make them count. This is the plan I’ve come up with.
Breakfast: oat cereal (I’m allergic to whole-grain wheat but one could certainly substitute this), plain non-fat yogurt (in place of milk), blue berries (a true super fruit), banana or apple slices and cashews all thrown together. I call this Super Cereal, because it includes the grains, fruit, nuts and milk products I need for the day. And though it sounds strange, it’s actually surprisingly tasty.
Lunch: Salad-less salad: You may have seen this in the “Chickster Cookbook,” but I brought it back because I’m just not fond of lettuce. I find it to be a bland filler food that doesn’t even fill me up. But I do, on the other hand, love artichoke hearts, asparagus and avocados, which is exactly what’s in this. So that easily satisfies my vegetable servings for the day. See this link for a more detailed recipe. But if you also have an irrational hatred of merely applying heat to things, you can substitute canned asparagus and just mix, but it isn’t as good.
Dinner: I’ll try to stick to 6 ounces of meat, which I’ve heard resembles the size of a deck of cards. (Small for my taste, but I’ll give it a try.)
So there is my broken-down and easy-to-follow path to eating better in 2012. Surely, I can’t eat those exact meals for more than a couple of weeks before I have to change it up for variety, but it gives me a place to start. And while the ingredients run out, I’ll have time to build a new eating plan.
Now on to the rest of my 2012 Resolutions/Habits:
- Relax More. (I’ve decided I can accomplish this by streaming everything good on Netflix Instant. Any suggestions?)
- Read More. (A good place to start is popular titles. I’m currently reading “Catching Fire,” the sequel to “The Hunger Games.” So far it’s an amazing series.)
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day. (This is a good idea for general health and weight loss. I once used a water bottle but they’re never dishwasher safe, which leads to gross, accidental soap ingestion from clumsy hand washing. I bought a tervis tumbler and dare to put it on the top rack of the dishwasher and that’s working so far, though this has distorted some of my past water bottles. [Why is every form of reusable water receptacle not dishwasher safe? If someone would just design one that was, they’d bank.])
- Revise novel and finish second novel. (Plan to work on both at least 2 hours a day.)
- Survive the solar flare. (Find a bunker and stock-up on food.)
- Survive Zombie apocalypse. (Stock-up on ammo and research tactics by watching the new season of “The Walking Dead.” Make sure bunker has DVR.)
So there you have it. What are your New Year’s habits that will help accomplish your resolutions?