Toss Out Diet Fads and Quick Fixes: This New Year Resolve to Develop a Healthful Lifestyle

December 16, 2015

CHICAGO – The colder temperatures and holiday season have people looking to the New Year. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to take this time to set practical and lasting goals when it comes to developing a healthful lifestyle and to seek the advice of the nutrition experts – registered dietitian nutritionists.

"The New Year is always a great time to take a look at our lives, pat ourselves on the back for everything we've accomplished and set our sights on what's ahead," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy Spokesperson Alissa Rumsey. "When thinking about improvements we can make to our health, it is important to set measurable and achievable goals that are focused on a lifetime rather than just the next few days or weeks."

Successful weight management to improve overall health requires a lifelong commitment to healthful lifestyle behaviors emphasizing maintainable and enjoyable eating practices and regular physical activity. "This means avoiding fad diets with ill-fated qualities like promises of a quick fix, little or no physical activity, rigid meal plans, odd amounts of food or special food combinations," Rumsey says.

"One of the best methods towards a healthy weight and overall healthful lifestyle is, while setting long-term goals, to focus on the short term," Rumsey says.

Rumsey recommends breaking big goals into smaller, more specific bites. "If you want to lose 10 pounds, plan to lose one pound every two weeks. Or if your goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, start by adding one piece of fruit to breakfast and one vegetable to dinner. Smaller goals are easier to achieve, and the results add up over time."

According to Rumsey, smaller goals are also easier to resume and revise. "If you happen to waver from smaller goals, it is easier to get back on track. Also, if you decide the small goals are a too simple or too hard to reach, a small tweak is an easy next step."

Consumers must also be very aware of the source of the nutrition guidance they seek, according to Rumsey. "Almost anyone can call themselves a 'nutritionist' these days. However, taking nutrition advice from an unqualified person can be, at the least, a waste of time and, at the most, dangerous. Registered dietitian nutritionists have the education, training and experience to provide personalized, safe and science-based nutrition guidance you can trust."

Registered dietitian nutritionists must meet numerous academic and professional requirements including, earning a bachelor's degree with course work approved by the Academy's Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics; completing an accredited, supervised practice program at a health care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation; passing a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration; and completing continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration. About 50 percent of RDNs also hold advanced degrees.

"Seeing the RDN credential after a person's name is the insurance you need to know you can trust the nutrition advice he or she gives," Rumsey says.

To learn more about resolving to develop a healthful lifestyle and how an RDN can help you, visit eatright.org.

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at eatright.org.