New year's weight-loss goals better accomplished with realistic expectations, local experts say

We spoke to San Antonio health, food and wellness pros about how to make resolutions that are both meaningful and attainable.

click to enlarge One local expert suggests paying special attention to how you refuel with food after a workout — especially if you're new to the grind. - Unsplash / TinaWitherspoon
Unsplash / TinaWitherspoon
One local expert suggests paying special attention to how you refuel with food after a workout — especially if you're new to the grind.

Every time the ball drops on New Year's Eve, countless numbers of us start pontificating fresh starts and new-year-new-you resolutions.

If only it was that easy. A recent Forbes Health survey found that Americans' top 2024 resolutions include improving fitness, finances and mental health. However, the same survey found that most give up those resolutions within four months. 

In an effort to help readers stick to their resolutions, we spoke to San Antonio health, food and wellness pros about how to make resolutions that are both meaningful and attainable.

Abby Kristen Lee

Owner-operator, Abby's Personal Training

facebook.com/groups/abbyspersonaltraining, (210) 501-4770.

Personal trainer Abby Kristen Lee's 15 years in health and wellness have led her to emphasize attainable milestones rather than resolutions. To reach those, she suggests starting with feasible daily goals that you'll feel motivated to meet, but that won't leave you devastated if you fall short.

"Nobody should feel bad about not meeting their goal," Lee said. "The best advice I can give someone is to move every day. The benefits of daily movement include an increase in metabolism — which helps with weight loss — an increase in energy, a strengthening of bones and muscle, and it reduces the risk of diseases [including heart disease, osteoporosis and arthritis]. Essentially, it increases your overall quality of life."

Lee also suggests paying attention to how you refuel with food after a workout — especially if you're new to the grind. Her suggestion is to familiarize yourself with recharge-worthy sources such as low-calorie protein drinks, hard boiled eggs, nuts, seeds and lean meat or fish.

"Depending on the intensity of the workout I would recommend 20-30 grams of protein afterward," Lee said. "When you work out you are essentially breaking down your muscle fibers, and to put it simply, protein helps to rebuild that muscle ... you just broke down. Working out has endless benefits, but don't forget to take care of yourself after the workout too."

Jamie Gonzalez

President, Food Policy Council of San Antonio; American Heart Association Nutrition Expert Advisor

Known locally and lovingly as the Puta de la Fruta, Jamie Gonzalez has worked diligently to help San Antonio families develop a healthier, more equitable relationship with food. Her work, which includes co-creating the traveling produce market Mercado por tu Corazón, gives her valuable insight into nutrition goals that are attainable for working families.

She urges San Antonians to embrace a Spanish term with which many are already familiar: tengo comida en casa, or "I have food at home." By reducing food waste around the house and preparing your own meals, you can amp up your self-care without latching on to diet crazes or healthy eating myths.

"Eat with intention by taking the time to truly enjoy at least one meal per day," Gonzalez said. "Setting intentions with food is one of the No. 1 ways to cultivate a healthier food relationship." she said.

Gonzalez urged folks looking to eat healthier to limit restaurant meals to one a week while seeking ways to avoid throwing away healthy produce in their refrigerators. Researching how to better store produce so it lasts longer is a first step. Celery, for example, will stay crunchy for at least a month if wrapped in foil, she noted. Also, prioritize using perishable items that seem like they're on their last legs.

"Be gentle with yourself. When the produce goes bad, don't give up," Gonzalez said. "Adjust your buying and be realistic with yourself about your habits."

There's also strength in numbers, according to Gonzalez. Explore your social groups for "food friends" who can share your challenges, recipes, and food ideas, expanding your palate and culinary repertoire in the process.

Sarah Treat

Nutritionist and owner, Local Health Market

16535 Huebner Road #113, (210) 375-5928, localhealthmarket.com.

Nutritionist Sarah Treat uses a holistic approach to her health coaching services. That means she works to created detailed, customized plans for those looking to meet health and fitness goals. Her focus is on helping clients make lasting lifestyle choices, rather than offering quick fixes.

Those kind of attainable, forward-looking changes can boost clients' energy levels and help them move toward their goal weight, she said. Intention counts.

"My advice is to start intentionally eating enough of the right foods," Treat said.  "For example, aim for two fruits and three to four cups of vegetables every day. This is a habit that will naturally help people feel better, lose weight and accomplish health goals."

Treat also suggests trying to get in 8,000 to 10,000 steps daily. The average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps over that time, or roughly 1.5 to 2 miles, according to the Mayo Clinic.

By aiming to add 1,000 extra daily steps every two weeks, reaching that goal will become less of a burden, she added.

"It's a one-day-at-a-time approach versus setting a long term goal — which is really just a wish — and there is no plan in place to execute that goal," Treat said.

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About The Author

Nina Rangel

Nina Rangel uses nearly 20 years of experience in the foodservice industry to tell the stories of movers and shakers in the food scene in San Antonio. As the Food + Nightlife Editor for the San Antonio Current, she showcases her passion for the Alamo City’s culinary community by promoting local flavors, uncovering...

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