From cutting out sweets to working out more, New Year’s resolutions reveal a similar pattern every year. But these resolutions are not always healthy according to UNB experts.
UNB’s registered dietitian Anna Jackson said a lot of students will make big, broad promises that are not realistic. When you don’t reach your goal, you start to beat yourself up about it and get discouraged about the notion of healthy eating.
Adopting unhealthy diets as New Year’s resolutions can also have a negative effect on your academic performance.
“If you're really restricting your calorie intake or under eating, that could have a major impact on your energy level, your concentration [and] just your ability to get through the day in terms of accomplishing your schoolwork and your studying,” said Jackson.
Fitness promises also make up a majority of resolutions made for the new year.
“Everybody sees New Years as that fresh start,” said Walker Blizzard, the Strength Centre Training Coordinator at the UNB Recreation Centre.
He compared it to when people say they’re going to start working out or eating healthier, they choose Monday to be their fresh start. This feels like the beginning of something significant or timely. Similarly, when students vow to start their homework at 5 p.m. but if they miss the start time by five minutes, they’ll bump their start time to 5:30 p.m or 6 p.m.
According to Colin Bowley, the marketing and communications officer at URec, the average facility usage rates per day are “easily” at their highest every January.
Along with that, Bowley said classes like ZUMBA are often at capacity this time of year because of the new gym-goers testing the waters with group fitness classes.
Jackson said a big factor behind diet and fitness related resolutions comes down to the holiday break. And for students, you’ve just finished your first semester of the year and don’t always feel the greatest diet-wise. But for everyone, not just students, the holiday break involves treats and foods outside of your everyday recipe list.
Jackson recommends your resolutions involve adding instead of taking away. For example, add in a fruit or vegetable with every meal, add in two extra litres of water per day, add in a 30 minute walk every day.
“So, making it specific, but framing it in a way where you're adding something rather than saying, ‘I'm going to deprive myself of sweets for the rest of my life,’” she said.
Rachelle Doucet is a fourth year UNB student and she’s challenging herself to cook more as her 2020 resolution. She thinks diet and fitness resolutions are a good starting point if you’re making one for the right reasons.
“If you do it just because everyone else is doing it, it makes you feel more pressure. I think if you just start it whenever you're ready to start it, it makes it easier to keep going.”
If you want to get involved in the fitness world, Blizzard recommends going to URec’s free orientation or getting a personal trainer. URec also offers 25 free group fitness classes for full-time students in the morning, at noon, in the evening and on weekends.
And for those looking to incorporate healthy eating into their diet, but not knowing how to do it, you can call or stop by the Student Health Centre in the C.C. Jones Student Services Centre to book an appointment with the dietician free of charge and without a referral from a doctor or nurse practitioner.
“You can start small and just keep building upon it,” Jackson said.