The beauty of the new year is that we can start fresh—leave all the bad habits and disappointments behind and make a real difference in our lives. However, even if we start the year off with the best intentions, we often fall into our old routines eventually. The problem is that “to eat better” or “to lead a healthier lifestyle” is a rather vague resolution that’s hard to measure and easy to abandon.
At Women in Wellness, we specialize in helping our Maryland clients reach their health goals by laying out a direct path and specific steps they need to follow. We’d like to share some real healthy New Year’s resolutions with you that you can actually achieve in 2015.
1. Swap Soda for Tea
You probably know that soda isn’t good for you, especially the nasty diet stuff. It’s essentially a mix of artificial flavors and preservatives with no nutritional value. Cut soda out of your shopping list. When you go out to eat, order iced tea, green tea, juice or water. Don’t feel bad about passing up free soda when it comes with your meal or when you get a free 2-liter with your pizza purchase at a local pizzeria. Did you know they use Sprite in fast-food joints to clean caked-on food from grills? Yes, soda has many uses, and quenching thirst isn’t one of them.
2. Check What You Are Buying
Does your food shopping trip consist of grabbing all the same stuff every time? Do you stick to the same brands and same products? Have you actually read the labels of what you are buying? This year, resolve to shop smart:
- Don’t buy foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce.
- Compare different brands to get the best value for the best price.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things.
- Use the “can I make this?” test—most pre-made foods you buy you can easily make yourself.
3. Choose Healthier Snacks
Those salty potato chips, candy bars and microwaved popcorn are nothing but calorie-filled artery cloggers. There might be a room for them in your diet, but it’s not in your snack drawer. There are plenty of ways to snack healthy. Consider some of these options to improve your snacking routine:
- yoghurt/fruit or dressing/veggie dip
- dried nuts, berries, seeds and fruit
- dried seaweed
- meat jerky
4. Relax and Unplug
Do you panic when you forget your cell phone? Is TV, gaming console or a mobile game your go-to entertainment? Don’t get us wrong, technology has made our lives easier, no doubt about that. But don’t forget to disconnect and unplug every once in a while to get your thoughts together:
- Take your dog for a nice long walk around your neighborhood
- Look up local trails and go hiking
- Turn your cell phone off during social gatherings
- Stop using TV as a background noise
- Use your vacation days, especially if they don’t roll over
If you have a demanding job or other reasons to be on call 24/7, here is an app that allows you to unplug without missing out on all the important things.
5. Stop Dieting and Start Eating Right
Fad diets are just that—fad diets. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can do some serious damage to your body. Yes, you will lose weight, but at the expense of your metabolism, hormonal balance and other important functions. Don’t look at losing weight as your end goal. When you choose a diet that addresses the nutritional needs of your body, weight loss becomes a welcome side-effect. Remember that the formula of a healthy weight loss is 75% diet and 25% exercise. At Women in Wellness, we now offer genetic assessment services that allow us to fine-tune your nutrition plan based on your genetic information. If you are tired of going from diet to diet, get in touch and we’ll be happy to guide you.
6. Quit Smoking and Lower Alcohol Consumption
Tobacco and alcohol are some of the worst things you can put in your body. They are also readily available and easy to overindulge in. If you’ve been trying to quit smoking for years or you feel like you should cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume, do something about it. In today’s day and age, there is plenty of help available to people in your situation—you just have to take the first step. For example, acupuncture helps reduce the urge to smoke.
7. Take Fewer Pharmaceutical Medications
Do you have a number of pills you take on a daily basis? Are they for chronic pains, ADHD or other chronic conditions? If so, it might be possible to manage them with natural remedies like proper nutrition and acupuncture. You could completely eliminate or at least reduce the number of pills you take. This means no more nasty side effects and internal damage these pills tend to cause. If you get sick often, ensuring your body receives the daily dose of essential nutrients is the first step to improving your immunity. And remember—you don’t need antibiotics for a regular cold, only if it’s a bacterial infection.
8. Find Ways to Exercise
Gym is a great place to get your workout, but it’s not the only way. Just because you don’t have a gym close to your home or work doesn’t make it OK to cut exercise out of your life. Try a combination of these methods to ensure you stay active and toned:
- Skip the elevator and take the stairs
- Work out at home by following workout DVDs or YouTube videos
- Do yoga or take a dance class
- Walk whenever you can
- Take breaks at work and move around
- Go hiking, biking or swimming often
- Find a workout buddy who will keep you motivated
9. Don’t Miss Your Check-ups
If you have health insurance, it probably comes with free checkups—use them! An annual physical is one of the ways to stay proactive about your health and catch any developing conditions early. Don’t skip your mammograms, especially if you have cancers running in your family. You can supplement mammograms with thermography, which can also be used to detect inflammation anywhere in your body. And did you know your health insurance might cover acupuncture? Let us know and we can check for you!
10. Find the Time for Yourself
This might be the hardest resolution to keep, but without it the rest will fail. It’s not easy to stop multitasking, pause with helping others and put yourself on a pedestal for once. But once you make your health a priority, you will find a way to spare a few minutes for yourself every day—and that’s all you need.
- Make a schedule and stick to it
- Don’t skip meals because you are “too busy” – if it’s not an emergency, it can wait
- Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can make a big difference
- Don’t be afraid to let go of some responsibilities and let your kids or your significant other fend for themselves every once in a while
Even if you follow and stick to just a few of these resolutions, you will be on your way to becoming a healthier you! And if you need help along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to Women in Wellness.