In a not-very-surprising declaration, losing weight was named the top New Year’s resolution in a survey by the University of Scranton.
It is easy to make the resolution. The difficult part is keeping it.
The study, which was published in mid-December, states that only 8 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions will be successful. The study states that 49 percent of resolution makers will experience infrequent success.
Natalie Richardson, the aerobics coordinator at Helen Keller Hospital Wellcare Center in Sheffield, said the exercise classes tend to be full of new faces at the beginning of January, but by February, the crowd is back to normal.
A couple of different circumstances cause that, Richardson said.
“So many times people will come to multiple classes in one day,” she said. “They either burn themselves out or get injured, which forces them to stop.”
The main culprit leading to resolution breaking, Richardson said, is unrealistic goals.
But keeping resolutions is not impossible. Start small, and set achievable goals. If your goal is to lose 100 pounds in a year, Richardson said to break that into smaller goals throughout the year.
“We set ourselves up for failure in the beginning by making huge goals,” she said.
That goes for diet changes, as well.
Tara Talmage, a dietitian at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence, discouraged resolution makers from choosing a diet plan that is a drastic change from a dieter’s pre-resolution habits. Instead, make small changes along the way.
“I would say to find something that makes key changes and then gradually change your diet,” Talmage said.
Her top three weight-loss hints: eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages, reduce fatty meat portions and incorporate more whole grains and high-fiber foods.
Those are all pieces of advice she’d give to anyone looking for a healthier lifestyle.
“Weight is only one factor in determining a person’s health,” she said. “Not all people with high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure are overweight or obese. An unhealthy diet can have many effects on your cardiovascular and your GI systems.”
Richardson said an individual’s internal motivation is key in weight-loss success but also said having realistic goals, a scheduled exercise time and support group are important factors in keeping a resolution.
“You have to make it part of your life,” she said. “That is why I tell people in my classes to schedule (their exercise) and find something that works for them. I personally need a structured class, and I have an exercise partner that I know will keep me accountable.”
Jennifer Edwards can be reached at 256-740-5754 or jennifer.edwards@TimesDaily.com.