A new year often brings with it new goals to get healthier, but for most of us, our willpower wilts as January rolls on. Want to get back on track and put an end to the rollercoaster ride of failed resolutions? Planning is the key to success.
Nicole Klem, Trocaire’s Nutrition and Dietetics program director, has provided 10 manageable and maintainable tips as you strive to be healthier in 2016. These tips are to help you pick up and stick with new healthy life habits. Give them a try, and good luck!
- Drink more water: Try to start with a big (16-ounce) glass as soon as you wake up and an additional 60-80 ounces throughout the day. It’s even better if it’s warmed up with a little lemon juice.
- Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages—it’s one of the easiest ways to cut empty calories.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand to ward off impulsive fast food runs or binging on processed carbs. Hard-boiled eggs, cut-up carrots and hummus, roasted nuts with seeds and dried fruit are all great.
- Find your baseline. Before starting an exercise plan, make sure you know where you’re starting from. Review any medications you’re on and their side effects, and calculate your body mass index (BMI) so you know how much weight loss would be healthy.
- Set SMART goals—ones that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. To that end, create routines for exercise, meals and meal planning/prep. Making them a scheduled part of your day will help you make them a priority instead of an afterthought.
- Watch your portions—learn what is recommended and try to stick to it. Learn what 1/3 cup of pasta or 1 cup of vegetables looks like by measuring and taking pictures.
- Try to work in at least five servings of vegetables per day. Here are 40 ways to sneak more vegetables into every type of meal, from breakfast to smoothies to dessert.
- Eat more pulses (also known as beans, lentils, and legumes). The World Health Organization declared this the “International Year of Pulses” and is encouraging all people to eat more of these affordable, nutritional powerhouses. You can find them dried, canned and fresh and use them in a variety of ways. For more information and an idea of how to incorporate pulses into a comfort food favorite, check out Klem’s recipe for Heart-Healthy Sloppy Joes!
- No pain, no gain—get moving in whatever way you enjoy! Try different activities until you find something you love, whether that’s Zumba, yoga, hiking, cycling, swimming, or just grinding out some squats and lunges during a few minutes of downtime. Minimize sedentary activities—the less time spent in front of the TV, computer or staring at your phone, the healthier you’ll get.
- Sleep well—most people do best with 7-8 hours of sleep. Make sure you’re getting your rest!