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Adlen Robinson: Make a health plan for the new year
Adlen Robinson

I don’t know anybody who is sad the year 2020 is just about over. I think we all just want to put the year behind us and pray for better times ahead. 

On that note, I heard a study the other day saying that the average American gained 16 pounds during the pandemic. Ouch!

Even if you didn’t gain weight this year, chances are you still have some health resolutions for the new year. 

Here are some tips when it comes to making your 2021 health plan a success.

 Be realistic. If you need to lose some weight, don’t do some crazy starvation diet. You know how those work. You might lose weight, but as soon as you resume a normal diet, you usually gain the weight right back — sometimes you gain even back more weight. Health experts say to aim for losing one to two pounds a week.

Try not to obsess about a number on the scale. For women, that’s hard. Instead, take your measurements and focus on how your clothes are fitting. After a few months, take your measurements again to monitor progress.

Keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be too detailed, but keeping track of your exercise routine can be motivating. Just jot down the date, what sort of exercise you did and for how long. 

For example, Monday is 25 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes hand weights and 10 minutes stretching. 

This is also a great place to record how many steps you walk in a day.

Speaking of steps, a pedometer is a great tool to help you keep up with how much you are moving in a day. You don’t have to get an expensive one either. Mine was about $30 and it works great. 

Be diligent about making a weekly meal plan. Take a few minutes on the weekend to inventory what you have on hand in your refrigerator and pantry.

Also consult your calendar for days and nights when you are working late or have things going on — dust off your slow cooker for those days. 

Make a big pot of soup or chili when you have an hour or two. Freeze the soup or chili in individual servings for an easy lunch or dinner. 

If possible, avoid eating out too much — it is always more difficult to make healthy choices when eating out. If you do eat out, opt for grilled meat, chicken or fish on a big green salad. Choose oil and vinegar or lemon juice instead of a creamy salad dressing.

Stay hydrated. Sounds simple, but so many people walk around dehydrated and don’t even know it. They say if you’re thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated. Keep water with you at all times and refill your water bottle frequently.

Begin your day with a smoothie made with protein powder and some fruit. Or, nosh on a boiled egg and a banana. Consuming some protein, even a little bit, goes a long way to keeping you full until lunchtime. Keep some nuts, an apple, or some protein bars in your purse, backpack or in the car for times when you are hungry but don’t want to eat out.

Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad eating day or miss your workout. Tomorrow is another day and you can jump right back on your plan.

Find an exercise buddy. Nothing motivates me to exercise more than when I am meeting a friend to walk or workout in our basement. You can talk and talk and not even realize how quickly an hour passes.

When you reach your goal, reward yourself with something unrelated to food — maybe a new outfit or a new electronic device you have been eyeing.

I want all of our readers to have a safe, healthy and happy New Year. 

Let’s all make a health plan for 2021 and pray for a better year. 

Blessings to you all. 

Adlen Robinson is an award winning columnist and author of “Organic Food and Kitchen Matters.” You can email her at