Wednesday, December 30, 2015

10 Tips for a Healthy New Year

1. Find Your Motivation-What is it that drives you to change your lifestyle and be a better
version of yourself? Is it looking and feeling younger, fitting into clothes better, taking less
medication, having more pain-free days, being there for your grandchildren, or preventing chronic disease? Whatever motivates you, set goals and actively work towards them.

2. Eat Breakfast Every Day-Eat within 2 hours of waking up to kick start your metabolism. We are most sensitive to carbohydrates first thing in the morning so swap sugary cereals and refined carbohydrates for lean protein and complex carbohydrates such as an egg white
vegetable omelet with a side of berries.

3. Fill Up on Vegetables-Half of your plate should be filled with vegetables to provide optimal nutrients and calorie control. Vegetables are packed with fiber which adds bulk without a lot of
calories. You get the satisfaction of chewing and eating a good portion of food without a high calorie cost.

4. Eat Clean-Choose healthy, whole, unprocessed foods such as apples, broccoli, brown rice, chicken, almonds, and milk. Avoid heavily processed foods, especially those low in nutrients such as baked goods, chips, diet soda, and ready-to-eat foods like mac and cheese. 

5. Exercise-Vigorous exercise is a natural defense for the body, protecting it against heart
disease and stroke. Exercise also burns calories to help with weight management, lowers blood sugar, improves mental outlook, and alleviates stress. Exercise at least 30 minutes most days.

6. Stop Eating by 8 pm-Some research indicates eating after 8pm can interfere with the body’s internal clock and hormone secretions resulting in higher blood sugar, higher cholesterol, and weight gain. Eating a large meal before bed can also cause heartburn and effect how your REM sleep cycle functions. Work on eating dinner earlier and close the kitchen by 8pm.

7. Weigh Yourself Weekly-Knowledge is power! Regular weighing keeps you mindful of your goals and nips weight gain in the bud. Daily weighing can become frustrating for some people due to weight fluctuations from shifts in fluid. Try weighing yourself once a week and log your results in a journal to track your progress over time.

8. Stop Cheating-Self control and enjoyment of all foods in moderation is the ultimate
long-term goal. Stop designating cheat days or cheat weekends and learn to eat all foods
mindfully and moderately. It is okay to eat a nice meal from time to time or have 1-2 cookies at a party but eating appetizers, having a few drinks, eating a rich dinner, and then having a slice of pie will tip the scale.

9. Manage Your Stress-When stressed your body produces more cortisol, a stress hormone which can increase blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and lead to more fat being stored around your abdomen. Cortisol also increases hunger signals in the brain resulting in cravings for high calorie foods. Stress management is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and should include regular exercise, adequate sleep, and relaxation. Limit caffeine as this can stimulate cortisol. Also limit sugar, chocolate, cake, cookies, and white bread products.

10. Sleep-Studies show people with bedtimes after 10:30pm gained more weight overtime.
Getting less than 7 hours of sleep has also been associated with alterations in appetite regulating hormones resulting in weight gain. Work on going to bed at a regular time to ensure you get a restful 7-8 hours of sleep consistently.

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