It’s no secret that after the holidays filled with overeating and dinners & desserts galore, “eating healthy” is the first resolution a lot of us put on our list of New Year’s Resolutions. Sure, we ate too much a week ago. And yeah, maybe we regretted eating so much that day. But the truth is, telling yourself you’re going to eat healthy and making it one of your resolutions are virtually the same thing… and there’s a small chance you’ll actually follow it either way. So this year, I opted NOT to make “eating healthy” one of my New Year’s resolutions, and here’s why:

What does "eating healthy" actually mean?

orange juice, juice, milk, midnight snack, midnight, Hungry, strawberry, strawberries, berries, Healthy, yogurt, berry, fridge, mini fridge, storage, soda, snack
Denise Uy

When we say we're going to eat healthy, what are we actually saying? Are we going to give up all saturated fat, sugar, carbs, and everything that ever has made us feel bloated or unhealthy? NO! We need to be more specific with ourselves in order to actually accomplish anything. Decide exactly what you want to cut back on and what you want to eat more of and to what extent.

The more specific you are, the better chance you have of following through with healthy eating because you won't be making yourself decide each time you're about to eat something if it's "too much" or "not enough". If you leave it open for yourself to judge whether each thing you eat is healthy for you or unhealthy for you right before you eat it, 9 times out of 10 you'll tell yourself it's good for you or that it's fine because you'll start eating healthy another day because you want to eat it.

Even some of the "bad stuff" is good for you in small amounts.

beer, wine
Zoe Zaiss

Maybe you won't find anything health-beneficial in eating a Twix bar or a Big Mac every day, but certain foods that you may think you should cut out completely are actually kinda moderation. Take pretzels for example. While high in sodium and carbohydrates, pretzels are low in fat and high in important nutrients like zinc, iron, fiber, and folate. While not a completely healthy snack that should be consumed every day, pretzels are good things to munch on every once in a while. A lot of other foods resemble pretzels in the sense that they can actually improve your health if consumed in moderation.

Satisfy your cravings.

sandwich, french fries, chips, cheese, burger, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, fries, buns
dena dianati

One of the major points of "eating healthy" is to make yourself feel good. The better foods (in terms of having more nutrients, vitamins, healthy fats, etc) we eat, the better our bodies feel. But we don't want to only eat these healthy foods. Sometimes our body craves something else. And it's okay to satisfy your cravings, as long as you don't pig out on the unhealthy food you crave. Try your best to eat as well you can, but don't deny yourself a snack that you're craving. It will make you feel better to have a couple of fries than shoving kale down your throat when you're really not in the mood for it.

Cheat Days Don't Exist.

Party, Indian Food, Sparklers, Sangria, sushi
Carolyne Su

Contrary to popular belief, cheat days are not a thing. Cheat days are an excuse for people to binge on all the foods that their diet restricts them from having. Instead of having a little bit of these foods sporadically over a month, some think it's okay to just stuff our faces with them all in one day. Nope. Fulfilling all of your monthly cravings in one day is a recipe for disaster. Satisfy your cravings as they come but still stick to a healthy plan of foods that make you feel good.

All in all, I guess it depends on the person. If you want to make "eating healthy" one of your New Year's Resolutions, go right ahead. For me, it doesn't work that way. I eat well, but when I want something, I eat it. I feel good about myself this way. I don't need to write it down as a goal in order to eat my best. But do whatever works for you. This most important thing is that you eat well and feel good.