Posted on 12/23/2014 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
By: Dr. Lisa Metzgar, PhD
The New Year provides the opportunity to start fresh with our goals for 2015. For many, maintaining or improving our health is our top goal. That’s why it seems everyone makes resolutions focused on health…only to abandon them one month into the New Year. What can we do differently this year so we stay on our healthy path?
The key to staying the course is to start with small, simple actions. Lofty goals (like, “lose 10 pounds in January”) can lead to frustration and we tend to throw our hands in the air and surrender when it feels like too much. Small, simple steps will lead to big results if you do them consistently.
Here are 10 simple routines you can use to accomplish your stay healthy New Year’s resolution:
- Drink a large glass of water upon rising every morning. Most of us reach for the coffee first thing in the morning and forget about drinking water. What your body really needs first is pure hydration after a night of slumber. You can add a squeeze of lemon to the water to help alkalize your body.
- Move your body more. Sounds simple, right? Our modern society is focused on convenience and efficiency, so moving our bodies more takes a shift in thinking. But, you don’t have to resolve to go to the gym every day to make a difference in your health. Most of the calories we burn during the day are from Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). This means when we are cleaning the house, walking around the grocery store, and doing laundry we are burning calories. Easy ways to add more activity are to park further away, take the stairs, get a stand up station at your desk, or take a brisk walk around the block. Get a tracking device (like a Fitbit) to see how little activities add up to more calories burned. Of course it is beneficial to build muscle mass and do aerobic activity as well but you don’t have to spend hours in the gym.
- Try meditating or doing a quiet practice like Tai Chi or Yoga. Most of us have way too much mental stress and we have a hard time shutting that down. Stress contributes to a weakened immune system, lack of sleep, weight gain, and a tendency to eat unhealthy foods. You don’t have to be a Yogi to reduce stress. Meditating can be as simple as finding a quiet place, getting comfortable, closing your eyes, and focusing on deep breathing.
- Make sure you are taking good-quality supplements. We can’t always eat right or live stress-free lives so we need to give our bodies the proper nutrients to fill in the gaps. A good core regime should include a multivitamin, fish oil, Vitamin D (check with your doctor to see if you are low) and research-backed ingredients like EpiCor that help keep your immune system strong and healthy.
- Eat more whole foods. Whole foods have more nutritional value than processed foods. Try to eat more lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds) and low glycemic carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, quinoa, and brown rice.
- Check in with yourself before you eat. Are you really hungry or are you eating out of boredom or emotional issues? Try drinking a glass of water or tea, which serves to physically fill space in your stomach. Taking a walk will also take your mind off eating and serve to burn calories at the same time. Often we eat too quickly and end up over eating. Conscious eating, which includes putting down your fork between bites, also leads to better health by letting your brain catch up with what you are putting in your belly so the feelings of satiety are able to kick in.
- Indulge in moderation. If you are wanting a little bit of cheesecake for dessert one night then eat a small serving and really savor it. Just make sure it doesn’t lead to indulging every night.
- Every morning think of 3 things you are grateful for. Starting your day with an attitude of gratitude will lead to less stress during your day. Share your gratitude…it is infectious!
- Start a journal. Keeping track of your food, exercise, and thoughts is very powerful for keeping you on track. Do what is most convenient for you whether it’s writing it down, using an app on your phone, using the computer, or using a voice recorder.
- Find a buddy, group or coach to keep you accountable. We are more apt to stay on track if others are involved. Try to check in on a regular basis and share obstacles and victories.
Hope you find inspiration and a few ideas to keep you on a healthy track in 2015. It’s going to be a great Year!