As the new year rolls in, so too do the unrealistic New Year’s resolutions we promise we are going to keep, whether it be losing an unrealistic amount of weight, completely cutting out a food group or committing to hitting the gym every single day of the year. While nearly 40% of people make New Year’s resolutions each year, the reality is less than 10% of people stick to them all year long, and by February, approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions are forgotten. In this month’s blog, our expert ORS dietitian Nicole Saliba explores five New Year’s resolutions worth committing to in 2024 and what tools or strategies can help you be successful in achieving them.

  • •  Avoid tempting situations e.g. being around smokers if you’re trying to quit. Not filling the cupboard with junk food if you’re trying to eat less of it.
  • •  Use rewards for their positive behaviour change, e.g. buying yourself a new pair of trainers if you consistently run twice a week.
  • •  Have self-efficacy, meaning the belief in one’s ability to stick to the resolution and get the job done. Increasing your self-efficacy often involves thinking about and planning how you are going to achieve your resolution and whether it is realistic or not.
  • •  Know how to get back on track and recommit themselves if they ‘slipped up’ instead of perceiving it as a failure

Want to know the easiest way to gain weight and become overweight? Go on a diet! It sounds outrageous but rather than losing weight, most people who frequently diet end up gaining weight in the long term. Losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term commitment to change your lifestyle, eating and exercise habits. Working with an Accredited Practising Dietitian is a great tool to achieve this.

Did you know that getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining brain health and good mental health, reducing the risk of heart disease, type two diabetes, stroke and neurodegenerative disease (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease), supporting the immune system and recovering from daily stressors? A lack of sleep or sleep deprivation is associated with obesity due to a whole range of reasons including changes in eating, appetite, activity and hormone levels. It is recommended that adults get on average between 7-9hrs of sleep per night which is what most Aussie adults report sleeping on average however, almost 50% of all adults report at least 2 sleep related problems such a insomnia, poor sleep quality and obstructive sleep apnoea. Maintaining a regular sleep routine, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, minimising screen time and taking steps to manage stress are strategies which can help.

A plant-based diet consists of food that predominantly (not exclusively) comes from plants such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. A 2023 study which included more than two million people found that compared to lower adherence to a plant-based diet, higher adherence to a plant-based diet was associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (~18%), death (~16%), heart disease (~10%) and cancer (9%).

  • •  Less than 30% of the grain products we eat such as bread and cereals are wholegrain i.e. we are eating the low-fibre, processed, white stuff
  • •  Only 24% of Australian adults report eating legumes, including beans, peas, lentils and soy foods regularly
  • •  Less than 5% of Adults are meeting the recommendations for fruit and vegetables
  • •  The study revealed just 2% of Australians ate the recommended 30g of nuts a day
  • •  Make sure you get two pieces of fruit in per day
  • •  Aiming for 50% of your main meals to be salad or vegetable-based
  • •  Swapping out meat or chicken for tofu or legumes in a meal 3x.wk e.g. lentil Bolognese or a tofu stir-fry
  • •  Including canned chickpeas, lentils or beans in meals 3x/wk
  • •  Aiming for three different coloured vegetables at main meals
  • •  Snacking on nuts between meals

Your mental health and physical health are not mutually exclusive. The foundation of good physical health is good mental health. We know that high levels of stress, anxiety and depression are often associated with weight concerns, an increased risk of chronic health conditions such as type two diabetes, a reduced life expectancy, sleep concerns, higher levels of inflammation, fatigue, gastrointestinal complaints and a lower immune system. Nearly 1 in 2 Australians aged between 16-85 years have experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life.

  • •  Getting in regular exercise
  • •  Eat a healthy diet rich in plant foods and avoid an unhealthy diet low in fibre and high in ultra-processed foods
  • •  Making sleep a priority
  • •  Scheduling in time to relax
  • •  Practicing gratitude
  • •  Staying socially connected
  • •  Reaching out for help when necessary such as seeing a psychologist or counsellor

As a society, we tend to put too much emphasis on how exercise changes the way our bodies look or how much we weigh. However, the most impressive health benefits that come from exercise are not weight-related. Yes, exercise can help with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight but it can also help protect against chronic lifestyle diseases such as type two diabetes, grow and maintain strong bones, build muscle and slow down or prevent the age-related muscle loss we experience, boost brain development, improve coordination and balance, improve confidence, build social skills and reduce cognitive decline as we age.

Approximately 75% of adults aged 18–64 are not meeting the current physical activity guidelines.
You can move more by:

  • •  Tracking your steps per day and setting a goal
  • •  Parking your car further away when you park at a destination or at work
  • •  Meeting a friend for a walk and coffee instead of breakfast
  • •  Signing up to a hobby, sport or local gym
  • •  Booking in with an exercise physiologist if you don’t know where to start or have any
  • chronic health conditions or injuries

If you would like more information and feel that you would benefit from the input of a specialised dietitian Refer today

Nicole Saliba

Clinic Manager

Dietitian, BHlthSc(Nutr&Diet), APD

To learn more about our amazing staff visit Our Expertise.

Sources

    1. Norcross JC, Mrykalo MS, Blagys MD. Auld lang syne: success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers. J Clin Psychol. 2002 Apr;58(4):397-405. doi: 10.1002/jclp.1151. PMID: 11920693.

    1. Siahpush M, Tibbits M, Shaikh RA, Singh GK, Sikora Kessler A, Huang TT. Dieting Increases the Likelihood of Subsequent Obesity and BMI Gain: Results from a Prospective Study of an Australian National Sample. Int J Behav Med. 2015 Oct;22(5):662-71. doi: 10.1007/s12529-015-9463-5. PMID: 25608460.

    1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Sleep problems as a risk factor for chronic conditions. Cat. no. PHE 296. Canberra: AIHW

    1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2022). Dietary behaviour. ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/dietary-behaviour/latest-release.

    1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2020-2022). National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing. ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/mental-health/national-study-mental-health-and-wellbeing/2020-2022.

    1. National Institute of Mental Health. Caring For Your Mental Health (2024). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health

    1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2023). Physical activity. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/physical-activity/physical-activity