It’s that time of year again where we look forward and consider what we can do to improve our health, wellness and lives.
For resolutions to be successful, they must be specific and realistic. Don’t fall back on vague, mindless resolutions with no real plan of action on how to incorporate them into your life.
Consider the following 5 specific and smart resolutions that will help you become The Best You in 2013.
Number 1: Rethink your Goal
When people decide they want to lose weight, they naturally think in terms of pounds. However, body weight may not be the best tool to predict one’s risk of chronic disease. Abdominal obesity is a predominant risk factor for coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Instead of thinking in terms of losing 10 pounds, think in terms of obtaining your ideal waist circumference.
|Ideal Waist Circumference:
Women – under 80 cm (30 inches)
Men- under 90 cm (35 inches)
Your risk factors increase when waist circumference reaches or exceeds 88 cm (or 35 inches) for women and 102 cm (or 40 inches) for men.
One of the best things you can do for your body, health and longevity is to exercise. Having a physically active lifestyle can reduce your risk of obesity, certain cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Exercise elevates mood, reduces stress levels and leads to better quality sleep.
If you are currently inactive, start by incorporating 10 minutes of physical activity into your day. Continue to increase activity levels by 10 minute increments until you are able to undertake moderate to vigorous exercise for approximately 30 minutes a day.
You’ll have a better chance of success if you make it fun:
- enlist a friend to become your power-walk buddy
- remember your favourite sports at school? Find a team, join it and get out and play again
- in cold winter months the local swimming pool provides a great way to get fit
- can you forgo the car and walk or bike to work?
- enjoy a round of golf, but leave the cart at the clubhouse
- wear a pedometre and aim for 10,000 steps a day.
- small changes reap big rewards – get in the garden, wash the car, take the stairs, jump off the bus two stops early, take the dog for a good long walk
Very few of us are reaching our goal of eating between 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruits a day. A diet abundant in vegetables and fruits provides rich sources of fibre, antioxidants, essential nutrients and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Some quick tips on how to up your intake:
- make veggies the star of your meal and have grains and protein as bit players
- keep a fruit bowl on the counter and within reach
- make a large batch of vegetable soup to accompany meals throughout the week
- add frozen berries to warm oatmeal
- expand Meatless Mondays, to Meatless Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
- get out of your comfort zone and try something new – bok choy, kale, jicama, broccolini
- apples, pears, mandarin oranges, sugar snap peas and baby carrots all make easy-to-grab snacks on the run
The cornerstone of a healthy diet is eating natural, unprocessed, unmanufactured food. Try to incorporate 3 flour-free days per week into your schedule. This means avoiding all refined flour products, such as crackers, bread, muffins, cookies, pasta and pizza.
Grains that have been pulverized into flour are easily digested and fast absorbing. This leads to a spike in your blood sugar signalling your body to release excessive insulin. Insulin drives your blood sugar down, partially by converting the sugar to fat. As your blood sugar drops it leaves you feeling tired, lethargic and very hungry setting you up for a cycle of cravings.
- Instead of a bagel for breakfast – have steel cut oats with fresh fruit
- Instead of your usual lunchtime baguette sandwich – use large romaine lettuce leaves as a roll up and fill with hummus and veggies or salmon salad
- Instead of crackers or banana bread for a snack – reach for a handful of raw almonds and an apple
- Leave the pasta in the pantry and try a vegetable stir-fry on wild rice or ratatouille on a bed of quinoa.
An easy way to lose weight and keep your blood sugar on an even keel is to simply stop drinking pop, juice, energy drinks and other sweetened beverages.
Fluids are not as satiating as solid food. Eating one apple that provides about 65 calories will fill you up for much longer than drinking one glass of apple juice at 114 calories. It will also provide you with all the nutrients and fibre which have not been removed or destroyed through processing.
By simply substituting water for your 2 pop a day habit you will lose 15 pounds in one year!
- Start by weaning yourself off the sweet beverages. Dilute your morning juice by half the first week and 3/4s the second week. Week 3, stop buying juice and just drink water. You can add a squeeze of lemon to provide some flavour if you wish.
- Do not substitute regular pop for the diet alternative. Ideally, you want to retrain your taste buds so they do not crave excessively sweet products. If you like the carbonation, try substituting pop with unsweetened, flavoured fizzy water.