Tips to Extend New Year's Fitness Resolutions Past January

Emily Dhurandhar's research interest is in the dietary and psychosocial factors that influence energy balance-related behaviors and body weight.

Pitch

Every year, thousands of people start exercise routines in January as part of a New Year’s resolution. Gyms and exercise classes are full of people invigorated by their new routines, but only a few weeks into the new year, most of those have reverted to their old habits. Emily Dhurandhar, a visiting assistant professor of nutritional sciences in the Texas Tech University Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, can offer tips to keep that momentum going.

Dhurandhar teaches an undergraduate-level course on physiological application of nutrition to exercise and physical activity. Her research interest is in the dietary and psychosocial factors that influence energy balance-related behaviors and body weight. She has developed an interdisciplinary research program to study how particular foods and food components, eating patterns, environmental factors and psychosocial factors may affect the regulation of energy balance to result in weight gain and obesity. She earned her bachelor of science in nutritional sciences from Michigan State University and her doctorate in human nutrition from Louisiana State University before completing a post-doctoral fellowship with the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center.

Expert

Emily Dhurandhar, visiting assistant professor, (806) 834-6556 or emily.dhurandhar@ttu.edu

Talking Points

  • Be realistic and set a reasonable goal. Setting one’s fitness goals too high in the new year can backfire for a lot of reasons.
  • Do it for the right reasons. If a person is going to the gym to see the number on the scale change and lose a significant amount of weight, he or she may be disappointed and unmotivated pretty quickly. Going to the gym to look and feel better are great reasons to go, but the results aren’t likely to be very obvious from the scale.
  • Consider, identify and remove all barriers before starting a new fitness regimen. Changing habits is hard work, comes at a cost and many things can get in the way.
  • One of the biggest reasons for not being able to sustain a physical activity program is having anxiety or depression at the start. If a person is concerned about the stability of his or her mood, or stress and anxiety, consider evaluating these issues first with a professional.
  • Make sure to have the support of friends and family and set aside the necessary time for the new regimen.

Quotes

  • “Self-efficacy, or confidence in the fact that you can achieve something, is a large part of sticking to a fitness regimen. When setting your goals, stick to what you know, since self-efficacy usually comes from having done something before successfully, and make sure you are 100 percent confident it is something you can achieve.”
  • “You are in this for the long haul, and consistency is the name of the game. Running one mile a day for a year is much better than trying to run three miles a day and quitting after the first month.”
  • “Exercise without any other significant changes in diet usually only produces a few pounds of weight loss. Instead, look for results in your energy levels, your mood, your strength and physical functioning, and inches lost. Even consider the fact that exercise plays a big role in maintaining body weight and consider that weight maintenance can be a victory. If you are trying to lose weight, exercise is only one important part of the process, and I would recommend talking with a dietician to make any sustainable changes in your diet that are more than a fad.”
  • “The consistency of a fitness regimen in the first five weeks following the commitment is the best predictor of long-term success, and that’s about how long it takes for something to become a habit. So, make sure you’ve paved the way for success in those early stages, to make sure you give yourself the chance to develop a new sustainable habit.”

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College of Human Sciences

The College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University provides multidisciplinary education, research and service focused on individuals, families and their environments for the purpose of improving and enhancing the human condition.

The college offers a Bachelor of Science degree with disciplines in:

  • Apparel Design and Manufacturing
  • Community, Family, and Addiction Services
  • Early Childhood
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Human Development and Family Studies
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  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Personal Financial Planning
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The college also offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

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