It’s that time of year again – time to make your New Year’s resolution! One of the most common resolutions that people make is to live a healthier lifestyle during the new year by eating healthier and exercising more. Unfortunately, this resolution tends to be short-lived, as many people find it challenging to make this type of lifestyle change. By following these simple tips, you will see how easy it is to incorporate positive, long-term changes into your daily lifestyle.
- Make lifestyle changes slowly. If you try incorporating all of your chosen lifestyle changes at the same time, it will be difficult to follow them all. Instead, incorporate your lifestyle changes slowly over a period of time, in order to give your body an opportunity to adjust to them, both mentally and physically.
- Dietary fats are not all bad. Remember that although dietary fats can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, they also contribute to satiety (feeling full after a meal), give our body energy, help protect our organs, and help our body absorb certain nutrients and produce important hormones. The good dietary fats, which include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, can lower bad cholesterol levels when consumed in moderation. The bad saturated fats, which include saturated and trans fat, raise the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in your blood. Therefore, when making food choices, try to choose food items that contain the healthier types of fat, but remember to consume them in moderation. Learn more about dietary fat!
- Eat more meals at home. Many restaurants and fast food establishments are offering great deals as a result of the economy in order keep, and even increase, their customer base. However, from a health standpoint, it may not always be in your best interest to take advantage of these specials. Be sure to read the nutrition label before making your purchase to determine if it’s really a healthy bargain. Check out these simple and healthy cooking tips!
- Drink more water. Cut back on sodas, energy drinks, and alcohol – these products not only cost more than water, but are also not as healthy. Need some added taste? Add some fresh lemons, strawberries, or cucumbers to your water for some healthy flavor!
- Don’t buy junk food. Vending machines and the end caps in grocery stores often contain more junk food than healthy options. Brown bag your snacks and meals for work, school, or wherever you might be going that day.
- Stay away from fad diets. Their claims sound great – quick, easy weight loss without much exercise involved, if any, and you can be thin for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, many of these fad diets not only do not deliver on their weight loss promises, but many of them can be damaging to your health as well, both physically and psychologically. In addition, many fad diets tend to over-emphasize one particular food item, or type of food, which contradict the guidelines for healthy eating. Remember that traditional weight loss and weight maintenance methods recommend a well-balanced meal plan with a variety of foods that are low in saturated and trans fat, in addition to being physically active. Learn more about the dangers and signs of fad diets!
- Carbohydrates do not cause weight gain. Weight gain is caused by calories and fat, not carbohydrates. Excess carbohydrates are not any more fattening than calories, regardless of where they come from. Note that fat contains nine calories per gram of fat, whereas carbohydrates contain only four calories per gram of carbohydrate. Many people do not realize that most of their energy comes from carbohydrate consumption, making carbohydrates a vital part of their meal plan. Learn more about carbs, and if they are good or bad for you!
Are you considering making a lifestyle change in the new year? If so, make a list of the changes you wish to make, then determine their level of difficulty. Begin by incorporating the simple changes, then move on to the changes you feel will be more difficult. Soon you will be reaping the healthy benefits!