No matter where Oldways Culinarias take us, my travel colleague Abby Sloane, Oldways Finance and Program Manager, always declares after each meal, “My life is changed!” Although Abby’s unbridled enthusiasm for each new eating experience always makes us laugh, her instinct is instructive. An interest and commitment to health, good food and cooking is the ﬁrst step to making a real change in your overall well-being (and weight and ﬁtness or whatever you aspire to improve).
However, the practice of New Year’s Resolutions seems to doom us. In this ﬁrst week of the new calendar year, perhaps you’ve resolved to make a home-cooked meal three times a week, or eat only vegetables and fruits, or run 5 miles every day. You aren’t alone.
According to Statistic Brain, a group of self-described passionate number people dedicated to bringing accurate and timely statistics to us all, losing weight/getting healthy is the number 1 New Year’s resolution, held by 21.4% of the population. The next closest resolution is life/self improvements at 12.3%. Weight and health even trump love. Finding love is down at number 10, with only 4.3% looking to ﬁnd the love of their life in this new year.
In this research completed on January 1, 2017, Statistic Brain also reports that only 9.2% of people who make resolutions believe they are successful in achieving their resolution. Similarly, in 2013, Forbes magazine reported that only 8% of people achieve their resolutions. According to Psychology Today, 90% of attempts to stop a bad habit or even follow through on a New Year’s resolution will fail.
So, if resolutions are failures, what brings success? Ask Abby. It’s changing your life, changing the patterns that lead to the behavior you want to change. Resolutions often consist of broad sweeping statements, while real change comes about in small, structured steps.
If your number one goal is to lose weight and get healthy, Oldways has a suggested structure. It’s small steps that start with a commitment to cooking, whole foods, and traditional plant-based diets like the Mediterranean Diet. The Oldways Cart, which we created last year as a practical tool to put the Common Ground Consensus Statement into practice, is a great step-by-step blueprint for changing your life.
We won’t all succeed at ﬁrst. In fact, it’s important to be ready for setbacks. Recognizing that these setbacks are a part of change is essential. As Jeﬀrey Kottler, PhD, writes in Psychology Today, “Most people SAY they want to change, and they do mean it, but they want it to be easy. And it almost never is.”
While we don’t promise changing your life will be easy, the great thing about Oldways’ approach to changing the way you eat is that it doesn’t mean deprivation. Rather, what we can promise is that this change in your life will be quite a delicious and pleasurable one!
Sara Baer-Sinnott, President