A Practical Approach to Health-Related New Year’s Resolutions.

As we come to the end of 2019, many of us start making new goals for 2020. The three most common health resolutions are to lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise more. Unfortunately many resolutions are given up by February 1st. Here is an approach to achieve these goals, along with some suggestions for new ones!

Creating New Year’s Resolutions can be a great way to reflect on the year past and areas that you are looking to improve upon in the future. Sadly, many of us pick goals that are too broad, too difficult, or ultimately unrealistic to achieve. How we set our goals is just as important as what we are striving to achieve.

This year, try using SMART goals when setting your resolutions. SMART is an acronym for the following:


(i.e. “I want to exercise three times per week” instead of “I want to exercise more”)


(i.e. “I want to lose 15 lbs” instead of “I want to lose weight”)


(i.e. “I want to lose 15 lbs in 3-4 months” instead of “I want to lose 15 lbs in January)


(I.e. Will this goal improve your life? Is this goal something possible for you?)


(i.e. “I want to lose 15 lbs in 3-4 months” instead of “I want to lose 15 lbs”)


SMART goals require you to really think about your goals and how you are actually going to achieve them. It requires you to break down bigger goals into small ones that you can actively work towards. Keep this strategy in mind when you are setting resolutions for 2020.

Setting Realistic Weight Loss Goals

If you are looking to lose weight this year, do it slow and make it stick. The most common mistake with this resolution is looking for quick fixes to make you lose lots of weight all at once. Unfortunately, crash diets usually end up making you deprived and you gain back most of the weight originally lost.

I always ask my patients exactly how much weight they are looking to lose. Then we do the math together. The safest way to shed pounds is at a rate of 1-2 lbs per week. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose (i.e. 50+ lbs) then you may lose at a quicker pace initially. So if your goal is to lose 20 lbs then you should set your timeline for 3-6 months.

Next you have to decide HOW you’re going to lose weight. “Diets” can be a terrible strategy if they are not long-term sustainable strategies. Diets can be based on deprivation, which will make you miserable (when the goal is to be happier and healthier) and can lead to overeating and binging. Instead, focus on making healthier nutritional choices and portion sizes.

Eating Healthier in 2020

This goal can be hard when there is so much conflicting information out there on what “healthy” is. Luckily there are general principles when it comes to nutritious eating, that apply regardless of your dietary philosophies (i.e. vegetarian, dairy-free, meat lover, etc.). There are two basic principles that apply to everyone:

  • Balance every meal with carbohydrates + protein + healthy fats

This is the key to absorbing all your nutrients, keeping your blood sugars stable, maintaining energy levels, and regulating your mood! When you are eating something, whether it is a meal or a snack, ask yourself “where is my protein and where is my fat?”

Your carbohydrates should be coming from VEGETABLES & FRUIT for the most part. Protein can come from a variety of sources including animal products, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, and cheese. Sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, eggs, olives, olive oil, and avocados.

Balancing your meals will also keep you more full and satiated so you don’t overeat later in the day.

  • Aim for a MINIMUM of 7 servings of vegetables per day

We are all adults now and it is no longer acceptable to say that you don’t like vegetables because you NEED them. Unfortunately fruit can only make up 2 of your servings because they have far more sugar than vegetables.

1 serving of vegetables is approximately 1 cup of raw or ½-¾ cup of cooked vegetables. Half of your plate at meals should be filled with vegetables so it really isn’t an unrealistic goal to achieve at all. Nor do you need to eat raw salads to fill up your vegetable servings.

Experiment with cooking and vegetables and always make extras. You don’t need to be a chef to eat healthier nor do you need to spend all day in the kitchen. Save extra portions for lunches and focus on the vegetables you do like rather than forcing vegetables that you don’t!

Having a weekly meal plan can also help take away some of the daily stress and make eating better easier to achieve.

 Here’s to a Healthier You.

This year make your resolutions SMART and be selective with your goals so you can focus on achieving them. Having ten resolutions on the go will likely end in frustration and quitting. Have check-in points and timelines so you can evaluate your progress and modify your goals as you go if they’re not working for you!

If you are looking to be healthier this year but you’re not sure where to start, consult with a naturopathic doctor. We have the knowledge and skills to work with you to set realistic goals and come up with strategies that are suited specifically to you and your body. A healthcare provider also keeps you accountable and can help troubleshoot when needed. Let’s make 2020 a healthier year!

Melissa Bucking, naturopath and acupuncture provider, believes in educating and empowering patients to achieve their health goals.  Join her Saturday January 25th for more information on diet and resolutions for 2020. She is excited to launch her customized meal planning services in 2020 and will be available to answer questions.

When: Saturday January 25th 10am-11am

Where: Health Centre of Milton

What: Information session on diet and resolutions for 2020


Call the office at 905-878-8131 to register for Dr. Buckings FREE Health Talk. Light Refreshments will be provided