As we ring in the New Year, many of us set goals and make resolutions. This could be losing weight, exercising more, spending more time with family – the list goes on and on.
One of the most common of these goals involves our health and, more specifically, our weight. Diet plays a significant role in overall health. Instead of relying on one single diet or plan, focus on lifestyle changes that can lead to success.
Here are a few tips that can help you feel your best not only in 2019 but for many years to come!
1. Set small and SMART goals
When creating goals of any kind it’s important to make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound or SMART. Be sure to write these goals down and check in or revise them as needed throughout the year. Some examples of SMART goals include: I will eat one serving of fruits and vegetables with lunch and dinner five out of seven days for the next week; I will get the recommended six to eight hours of sleep each night for the next six months.
2. Enjoy your food
Restricting ourselves from eating certain foods can often lead to binge eating or overindulging. Instead, try being more mindful when eating your meals. Take it slow and savor each bite. When you start eating because it not only nourishes your body but it is enjoyable, you will find that your relationship with food will be more positive, which makes it that much simpler to follow a healthy (and balanced) diet.
3. Make sure you are getting enough (and quality) sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being. Getting quality sleep each night can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life and safety. While everyone’s sleep needs vary, generally speaking most adults need an average of eight hours each night to function properly.
4. Get moving
Research supports that 30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity at least five days a week can lower the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes in adults. Physical activity can also help with weight loss and maintenance. Start small and work your way up to exercising on a regular basis. Keep in mind that even a little physical activity is better than none.
5. Fruits and veggies for the win
There are several reasons why fruits and vegetables should be on your plate for each meal. They are typically low in calories, rich in many vitamins and minerals and, most importantly, they may help reduce the risk of many diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. AND they provide texture, color and flavor to your meal! Try filling at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal.
6. Make it fun!
Try cooking with your family once a week or sign up for a new exercise class. When you have a positive attitude and are able to find joy in the little things, you may find that accomplishing your goals becomes simple.
Best Food Facts, Sarah Downs, MBA, RDN; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine