Instead of embarking on a rigorous diet and exercise plan January 1 that we won't be able to maintain, we need realistic and healthier alternatives to help us attain a lifestyle of permanent change.
Follow these four tips to achieve your health goals this New Year:
Focus on Whole Foods
It should come as no surprise that our taste buds have become reliant on processed foods. From the savory pretzel mix that accompanies football games to the chocolate donut holes we crave during certain times of the month, our body loves chemically-treated treats. Additives such as nitrates, artificial sweeteners, and other preservatives keep us coming back to these dangerous snacks.
Look for the label “non-GMO” and organic options whenever possible.
While processed cereals, sweets, bread, and pasta offer a serotonin rush and temporarily make us feel satisfied, these foods have been shown to cause a myriad of health ailments, including early death and depression. Food in its original form is the simplest and easiest way to avoid hazardous health. Look for the label “non-GMO” and organic options whenever possible. If you’re on a budget, there are many options to eating healthy while saving your hard-earned cash.
Prep for Success
With busy schedules comes the dread of having to put any extra effort into our daily lives. If you have time to check your social media, you have time to prep. Preparing foods ahead of time, however, actually saves us money and time.
Preparing staples such as lentils, vegetables, and chicken in bulk allows you to skip the fast-food line and keep your lifestyle healthy. Dish out the ready-made food into lunch containers the night before work and you’ll be one step ahead of your goals.
Preparing staples in bulk allows you to skip the fast-food line and keep your lifestyle healthy.
Ready for a snack? Buy a bag of carrots and celery sticks, chop them into bite-size portions, and pair them with hummus. Or try adding a handful of almonds or mixed nuts to your desk drawer for those afternoon cravings.
Make Your Plate Count
Whether you are Vegan, Keto, Paleo, or a mix of something in between, you may have heard about macro-nutrition: the ratio of proteins, fats, and carbs on your daily menu. This may not matter all that much, after all. Despite commonly held beliefs that higher protein is a must for weight-loss, the amount of calories one consumes plays a significant role in determining overall body weight.
The amount of calories one consumes plays a significant role in determining overall body weight.
In one study, researchers tested the different ratios of macro-nutrients in a group of 645 overweight individuals. The results showed that regardless of the proportion of proteins, fats, and carbs each group consumed, the amount of weight loss was similar due to a lower-calorie meal plan.
Listening to your body is important, however, and just because half a donut and two cups of broccoli may have the same caloric content, the broccoli contains essential vitamins and nutrients that will keep our body running longer.
Skip the Sitting
You may be a full-time mother, businesswoman, entrepreneur or artist, but one thing is for sure, sedentary lifestyles are dangerous to your health. Studies have shown that too much sitting can cause heart disease and other dangerous diseases. The good news is, many offices are now more ergonomically friendly and have standing desks as an alternative option to traditional desks. If you work at home, try losing the chair and put your laptop on a high counter. Go for a brisk walk first thing in the morning or after dinner with your loved ones or jump-rope for 15 minutes. Any amount of physical exercise gets your blood pumping and promotes longevity.
Gone are the days of dieting and failed New Year’s resolutions. We're now in an age of empowering our body through nutrition and realistic health goals!