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Healthy 2010: Making resolutions stick

by Johanna Brandon
Dietetic Services
Every New Years Eve, I am reminded that I still do not know the words to “Auld Lang Syne” and pledge that this will be the year I learn the traditional song. Year after year, this fleeting thought is typically where my resolution both begins and ends. While committing “Auld Lang Syne” to memory is probably inconsequential, other resolutions are often not. For those who vow to take control of their health, maintaining New Years resolutions is of upmost importance.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), most Americans gain about one pound over the winter holidays. This may come as a relief to those who overestimate the poundage gained, but the report goes on to suggest this extra weight is typically not lost. Holiday weight often accumulates over the years and may significantly contribute to obesity.
A 2008 survey published in TIME magazine reported 19 percent of Americans made New Years resolutions to lose weight, and 10 percent committed to increasing exercise. Unfortunately, the article also reported that while 65 percent of those surveyed kept their resolution for at least part of the year, another 35 percent never began.
Why do some people succeed in maintaining their resolutions while others do not? In the realm of weight reduction, the reason likely lies in the incorporation of lifestyle change. According to the Mayo Clinic, lifestyle change begins with an honest evaluation of personal obstacles. Setting specific, realistic goals targeting issues that have previously sabotaged weight loss efforts is this first step. The following is a list of tips for combating common obstacles in a way that promotes lifestyle change. More specific information and weight loss support can be found through one-on-one counseling with an MUSC outpatient dietitian.
  • “Too busy to exercise” —Exercise is not limited to the gym. Take the stairs, park in the back of the parking lot at the grocery, or take a lap around the office every 30 minutes. Remember that the recommended daily 30 minutes of exercise can be accumulated throughout the day.
  • “Too busy to cook” —Plan ahead. Make soup or casseroles in big batches on the weekends or prepare crock pot meals at night to be ready for the next evening’s meal.
Also, consider treating yourself and a loved one to a local cooking class. Check out Charleston Cooks! at

Friday, Feb. 12, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.