Eating healthier is among the top New Year's resolutions
Eating healthier is among the top New Year’s resolutions. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Starting a new year means starting a new diet for millions of people who resolve to eat better in 2017.

While it’s become tradition for many people to make a New Year’s resolution, only eight percent are successful in achieving it.

One of the main reasons people fail to keep resolutions is because they set the bar too high.

“It’s much easier for people to say they will make big changes than actually follow through with it,” said Rebecca Patterson, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. “My biggest advice is to make one realistic goal that is measurable and achievable.”

She recommends that people make plans for how they will reach their goals and consider what will motivate them to stick with those plans. If losing weight is your goal, Patterson reminds people that healthy weight loss is considered only 1/2 to 2 pounds per week.

“Whether it’s for health reasons or just wanting to lose weight, small steps can turn into great strides toward a healthier lifestyle,” Patterson said.

A few small steps people may consider when trying to eat healthier:

  1. Use smaller plates at meals
  2. Drink one less regular soda pop per day
  3. Include at least one more serving of fruits and veggies
  4. Stop eating in front of the TV, computer or phone
  5. Bring lunch to work four out of five days
  6. Use milk in coffee instead of flavored creamer

Patterson also reminds people that healthy eating is about balance. Many people stop dieting or don’t try it because they think they can no longer eat the foods they love.

“You can still eat your favorite foods, but you should only eat them in moderation every once in a while,” she said.