Weight loss or wellness: what’s your 2019 resolution?

Treadmills are trendy when it comes to group fitness classes.

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Treadmills are trendy when it comes to group fitness classes.

Trends take off in opposite directions as new year dawns

It seems 2018 codified “diet” as a four-letter word.

Still, lots of folks remain focused on the scale. “Weight loss” eclipses “wellness” as a Google search term both locally and nationally (except in New Mexico and the Dakotas, where “wellness” has a slight lead), data show.

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Interest in both terms took a dip right around Thanksgiving, and the gulf began widening as the new year dawned.

Here’s a look at the national spread:

  

And here’s the Atlanta chart:

  

Searches for "weight loss" have been more than twice as prevalent as "wellness" in Georgia lately, and Atlanta-specific data show recent popular search phrases include “fasting for weight loss” and “best meal replacement shakes.”

No thanks, says Chadwick Boyd, founder of “Lovely & Delicious Enterprises” and host of “Reel Food,” a dining feature that plays in some movie theaters ahead of previews. He took off 10 pounds in recent months, but not by dieting.

“I didn’t want to be short-sighted. I want to do something that’s going to last,” said Boyd, who cut out caffeine, eats far less meat and dairy products and exercises regularly. A fixture on the food-festival circuit and frequent traveler, he finds committing to a specific diet plan isn’t feasible.

“I’m sure there will be moments when I overindulge,” he said as he pondered this year’s packed calendar. “I probably will gain a few pounds, but I’ll go right back into my regular routine. My expectation is my energy will be higher.”

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Chadwick Boyd is down about 10 pounds, but not by dieting. Photo: Tom Eberhardt-Smith

Chadwick Boyd is down about 10 pounds, but not by dieting. Photo: Tom Eberhardt-Smith

Combined ShapeCaption
Chadwick Boyd is down about 10 pounds, but not by dieting. Photo: Tom Eberhardt-Smith

Steve Pollak, who works in marketing and design, said he's looking for more structure as he aims to drop about 15 pounds. The high-protein Paleo Diet suits him.

“I have tried counting calories in the past. I found myself very hungry,” he said. “I need some sort of framework.”

Event stylist Jennifer Shields is starting 2019 by giving up sugar, dairy, alcohol, grains, beans and other items proscribed by the Whole 30 program, her third January of doing so.

“After the holidays is when I need to reset the most because I have indulged for two months,” she said.

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Keller Williams Realtor and fitness devotee Eileen Rosencrants is taking a more nuanced approach to the new year.

“I’m more in the mode of just dialing it back slowly. When I try to shut it down quickly, I end up eating more the next day. A most unsuccessful outcome,” she said. “Baby steps work best to get into a new routine for me.”

If a healthier you is are on your resolution list, registered dietician and nutritionist Sherry Coleman Collins advises embracing choices you can put into practice for good.

"When people think about changes that equal deprivation that’s not sustainable," she said. She recommends moderate changes like using herbs in place of salt, and loading up on fresh vegetables. Her top recommendation is to do more of your own cooking, since many restaurants aim to serve the tastiest dishes, not necessarily the healthiest.

"The more that you eat out, the more you’re giving control and responsibility for what goes into your body to someone else," she said. Other tips: drink plenty of water, chew gum and brush your teeth after meals to curb snacking. If your office is one to roll out a tray of muffins or bagels at every meeting, pack your own healthier bites so you can nibble along without piling on excessive calories and fat, she added.

"My focus is always on thinking long term, " she said. "That’s really about changing our behavior around food and exercise. It needs to be something that isn’t a diet.”

She does enjoy perusing the "top diet" lists that float around online this time of year, but encourages her clients to focus on their own best selves, not striving for unattainable goals.

"Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and we should accept that," she said. "Beauty isn’t about one shape or size."

Fitness expert Bri Sexton said a short-term approach can be appropriate in some instances, such as when a client is preparing for a race or competition, but it’s not meant to be forever.

“Don’t work out super hard all the time. If you do that, you will burn out, you are at risk of injury,” said Sexton, chief product officer at Blast, which has locations in Buckhead and Midtown. “One of the biggest things we believe in at Blast is education, teaching people how to listen to their bodies, to reach their goals in a sustainable way.”

New clients get assessments like metabolic testing and meet with dietitians to receive customized diet and exercise recommendations.

“I don’t believe in saying all diets are bad,” Sexton said. “It can break habits. Believe me, after the holidays my body is like, give me more sugar! If I want to break my sugar addiction, the best thing for me to do is (temporarily) cut out sugar.”

Event stylist Jennifer Shields is starting 2019 by giving up sugar, along with dairy, alcohol, grains, beans and other items proscribed by the Whole 30 program. It’s her third January of adopting the strict but ephemeral regime.

“After the holidays is when I need to reset the most because I have indulged for two months,” she said.

Keller Williams Realtor and fitness devotee Eileen Rosencrants is taking a more nuanced approach to the new year.

“I’m more in the mode of just dialing it back slowly. When I try to shut it down quickly, I end up eating more the next day. A most unsuccessful outcome,” she said. “Baby steps work best to get into a new routine for me.”