New year, new goals: UF Health dietitian discusses health tips for 2017

Published: January 10, 2017
UF Health Jacksonville’s registered dietitian Kayla Fisher discusses health tips to make New Year's resolutions last. View Larger Image

The new year often brings a sense of renewed energy, which is why most people decide to make lifestyle changes concerning health and weight loss now. The problem with New Year’s resolutions is they tend to fizzle out by spring. Kayla Fisher, UF Health Jacksonville’s registered dietitian, advises people to be realistic when it comes to making resolutions.

“We make New Year’s resolutions so ambitious, but they’re not realistic,” Fisher said. “We can’t sustain something that is not realistic. I always tell people, ‘Don’t start something that you can’t keep doing.’”

Most extreme weight loss solutions are only temporary. Once regular eating habits resume, the weight will eventually come back. Fisher said this is why it is important to have a long-term approach when trying to lose weight. “Focusing on health, not dieting, is vital. New Year’s resolutions are often about weight loss,” Fisher said. “Focus instead on the goals that lead to that weight loss: changing how much we’re eating, eating more vegetables, drinking more water or being more active. Those are measurable goals.”

Lynda Dugan, administrative assistant to the divisional director of Nursing Operations, Research and Magnet®, began working with Fisher after participating in one of the Employee Wellness challenges.

“I was involved in the water challenge, and I heard through the grapevine that there was somebody here who could help me kick-start my plan and get me back on a good diet,” Dugan said.

After losing “just” 2 pounds, Dugan wasn’t too enthusiastic, but Fisher’s counseling changed her mindset. “What I thought wasn’t a big deal, she said was a great accomplishment. It made me feel like losing the weight was actually possible, and it motivated me to work even harder,” Dugan said.

Dugan learned that what may seem like small progress really does add up. Fisher encouraged Dugan to drink more water, exercise for at least 30 minutes every day and stick to eating nutritious meals, noting that all Dugan’s goals should be SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound.

“We need to meet goals in order to extend ourselves and build confidence,” Fisher said. “Start with small goals, find a supportive community and consider meeting with a professional who can help you along the way — a counselor, a personal trainer, a dietitian, a physical therapist. Just make sure you have someone who can provide professional feedback to support you and give you the right insight.”

To discuss your overall health, schedule an appointment at one of UF Health Jacksonville’s primary care centers by calling 904-633-0411 or visit

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