Although we may not all gain weight over the holidays, without a doubt, we generally eat and drink more than usual. Just as the holidays are a time for indulgence, January seems to invoke a new focus on our health and well-being. Many times though, we take an all or nothing approach. Charged with the momentum from a fresh new year, we obligate ourselves with gym memberships and fill our shopping carts and cupboards with low-fat or no-fat diet foods.
Not surprisingly, it doesn’t take long for the momentum to fade and we begin to feel burnt out, stressed out and frustrated with ourselves. Why? Because diet’s don’t work! Have you noticed that though the number of gyms in the valley continue to grow, our waistlines aren’t getting any smaller and we are sicker than ever? Have you ever wondered why the billions of dollars we pour into weight loss gimmicks have done nothing but restrict our lifestyles, alienate us from others and keep us depressed and overweight?
Dieting is unsustainable primarily because the plans do not consider the individual or their lifestyle. They can also be quite costly with special foods and program membership requirements. A better approach this new year would be to slowly incorporate small changes into your current lifestyle. Listed below are 10 easy changes you can make that will work to better your health, increase your energy and even help you drop the extra weight.
Select one or two a month and work at incorporating them into your life. Once you have done so, move on to a few more. We are constantly bombarded with misinformation and promises of shedding pounds quickly. Some might work for a time but it’s been my experience that none of them work forever. The weight always comes back. Incorporating slow but steady and small changes is the key to lasting health.
1- Drink more water. Most of us don’t get enough water on a regular basis. Limit your sodas and juices and start adding in glasses of water. See #9.
2- Eat real food. Avoid products with high fructose corn syrup and those with a list of unpronounceable ingredients. Processed foods lack nutrients that your body needs and are loaded with junk your body cannot handle.
3- Eat your vegetables. They are typically lower in fat and calories and fill your body with loads of essential nutrients.
4- Chew your food thoroughly. Doing so breaks the food down so you are able to absorb the vital nutrients from the food you are eating. It also slows you down and you’ll feel fuller faster.
5- Eat mindfully. Sit down when eating and savor your food without distraction.
6- Cook more. This allows you to control the quality of ingredients and the amounts of fat, sugar and salt. Eating out is expensive so it also saves you money.
7- Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Skipping meals affects your mood, blood sugar levels and energy levels. It also causes you to overeat because you are starved.
8- Plan meals in advance. Consider your schedule for the week ahead and prepare for busy days.
9- Add in to crowd out. A common mistake, we deprive ourselves of foods we enjoy. Instead, add in new and healthier foods that naturally crowd out some that are less healthy.
10- Get moving. While gym memberships are a good option, they aren’t necessary for adequate physical activity. Take the stairs. Walk further than normal. Dance around the kitchen while cooking your meals. Any type of exercise increases your metabolism, aids in digestion and reduces stress. Do something you enjoy.
Bottom line: Your health is in your very own hands. Take care of your body by giving it what it needs and your body will take care of you.
Enjoy this? Use the form on the right side of the page to sign up for our newsletter and receive a FREE ebook containing ten quick and easy—and most importantly, healthy—recipes you’ll adore! Each month afterward, you’ll receive new recipes and information that will help you get your life started in a healthy direction (or keep you on track, if you’ve already gotten the ball rolling)!
Tammy Batcha is a life-long resident of the Shenandoah Valley. A long-time commuter, she seeks to reconnect to her community. With a background of more than twenty years in publishing, she is founder of The Goodness and Grace Company. A board certified, health and wellness coach, she continues to study integrative nutritional theory while guiding others on a path to wellness.