Original article published on March 13, 2019. Updated to include Spotlight Survey results.  

As a dietitian, I am asked almost daily about whether a certain food is “bad,” or for tips to help folks achieve quick and unrealistic weight loss. When I first started working with patients as a dietitian, it was common to do weigh-ins and educate them on philosophies that don’t hold up to everyone.

Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team drew my attention to the subtle shift we’re seeing away from a focus on resolutions (which are typically set once a year and forgotten) and toward a focus on intentions (which are more perpetual and every day). While resolutions are about the future, intention is rooted in the moment. Overall these values are far more balanced and encompass inclusivity and not an idealized goal.

The future is full of unknowns and thus can give rise to fear and anxiety, versus the present that keeps us grounded. Intentions are more forgiving and grounded to actual behavior and incorporate values like joy, inspiration and spirituality. Overall these values are far more balanced and encompass inclusivity and not an idealized goal.

The future is full of unknowns and thus can give rise to fear and anxiety, versus the present that keeps us grounded. Intentions are more forgiving and grounded to actual behavior and incorporate values like joy, inspiration and spirituality.Click To Tweet

I have noticed the field of dietetics is moving closer to focus on intentions and overall well being. Mind and body are connected and without proper sleep, a healthy relationship with yourself and others, you are not living your best life.

The diet mindset – eliminating entire food groups or drastically restricting calories – is going the way of fat-free cookies. Today’s consumers are striving for nutritional balance. (Consider the popularity of nutritionally dense “power bowls.”)

According to a recent Padilla Spotlight Survey, conducted by our SMS Research Advisors division, only 1 in 5 consumers are following a special diet. Of those dieters, almost three-fourths aren’t counting calories.

Instead of fad diets and radical changes, people are taking smaller steps toward more balanced eating habits. Food marketers will gain a marketplace advantage when they reflect consumers’ evolving preferences for sustainable and personalized nutrition.

So, instead of beating yourself up over that cookie, or hitting snooze rather than the gym, focus on self-compassion and overall well being in the form of intentions that best suit “you”.

Here are a few digital tools that can help you live with intention in our modern world. Remember, we’re talking about being realistic.

Headspace

The popular meditation app, has a category on Mindful eating – the practice of slowing down to understand hunger cues, creating a positive eating environment and connecting with your food. Or, just take a few moments to meditate and clear your mind so you can think deeply about what aspects of your life make you happy and others that could use a few changes.

Aaptiv

This app has music driven workouts (2500+!) with a personal-trainer in your ear that range from running workouts and HIIT, to sleep aids and stretching programs. The trainers are motivating and keep you from quitting and they often ask you to come up with an intention for each workout. My favorite trainer often tells me to “do it for those that can’t.” What’s more motivating than that?

Foodility

Want to track your sleep, water and make sure you get your veggies in without obsessing? This simple app logs all of this without putting you into the obsessive goal of having to meet unrealistic calorie or movement goals. They are there for you and won’t remind you to run around the block before you hit the pillow to reach a certain number.

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