Another year has come and gone and New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. Soon everyone will be making New Year’s resolutions and many will resolve to lose weight. For some, reducing their weight is a necessity and they may need to consult with a doctor to come up with a plan to stick with their resolution. For others, a weight loss resolution is an attempt to improve their health. If the desire to live younger and healthier is at the heart of your New Year’s resolution, simply focusing on the scale may not be the answer. In addition to weight control, there are other healthy New Year’s resolutions that will improve your overall well being and help to slow down the aging process.
Identify Your Exercise Goal
It goes without saying that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but if your not doing the right type of exercise you’re not getting the greatest benefit from it. You need to decide what you want to achieve at the gym – build muscle, improve flexibility or burn fat. Then, choose workouts that will not only help you achieve your goals but you enjoy as well. Seeing your desired results and having fun will motivate you to stick with it.
Regulate Your Sleep
Getting the proper amount of sleep is important, but did you know that having a consistent sleeping schedule is equally important? If you are constantly changing the times you go to bed and wake up, the effects will be similar to those of not getting enough sleep. When your schedule is all over the place, your circadian rhythm, often referred to as your internal clock, doesn’t have a chance to normalize. This internal clock is a key factor behind feeling sleepy or alert. Without a consistent sleeping schedule, your body could be sending you signals at the wrong time of day. This could lead to being wide awake at bedtime or feeling sleepy before lunchtime.
The time you wake up is more important than the time you go to bed. Light travels through the optic nerve to an area of the brain known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus which controls your circadian rhythm, Because of this, it’s important that you’re exposed to light at the same time every day. The morning light also allows the suprachiasmatic nucleus to naturally calculate and let your body know when it’s time to go to sleep, resulting in getting the right amount of sleep.
Focus on Your Food
Eating your meals in between keystrokes on the computer or while driving the kids to activities deprives you of truly enjoying your food You may not even remember what you ate, or that you ate at all! Removing distractions and focusing on your food will allow you body to to tell you what it’s craving and when you’re full. By eating mindfully and listening to what your body is telling you it needs, you will find yourself getting into the habit of eating a tasty, balanced and healthy diet.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
It no secret that too much sugar is bad for you, as it can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Completely eliminating sugar from your diet is impossible, and some sugar (like the natural sugar in fruit) is necessary for good health. It is the added sugars sugar substitutes that don’t occur naturally in foods that you should avoid as much as possible.
Avoiding sugary foods can be tricky, but there are some things you can do to cut down on your sugar intake. Eat more fresh food and less processed food. When you do buy processed foods, read the labels. If sugar is listed as an ingredient, that means it’s added and not natural. Sugar is regularly added to processed foods and often times the reason we take in more sugar than we should. While it may enhance the flavor of the food, in many cases it is unnecessary and leads to unhealthy sugar intake. To add extra flavor to your meals, seek out spices and leave the sugar in the pantry.
Drink More Water
Your body is about 70% water.The majority of your blood, your brain and every cell in your body is primarily made up of water. Therefore, you need water to function properly and many of us don’t drink enough. Research shows that dehydration contributes to a variety of different health issues, including muscle and joint pain or weakness, lack of mental clarity, low energy level and accelerated aging. Water flushes toxins from the body, boosts your immune system and supports healthy skin. It can even help with weight control, working as a natural appetite suppressant if consumed before a meal to make you feel fuller longer. It also helps remove fat by-product from the body. Clearly there are plenty of reasons to drink up for the new year!
Choose Realistic Healthy New Year’s Resolutions
When making healthy New Year’s resolutions, don’t make them impossible to stick with. Resolve to set attainable goals and once you’ve reached them, raise them bar and set new goals. Think you might want some expert guidance in choosing healthy New Year’s resolution that are tailored to your age and physical condition? Discuss your goals for the new year with a functional medicine doctor to create a diet plan and health guidelines custom made for your lifestyle.
Dr. Lorraine Maita is a recognized and award-winning holistic, functional, and anti-aging physician and author. She transforms people’s lives by getting to the root cause of illness using the best of science and nature. Her approach is personalized, precision medicine where you are treated as the unique individual you are. If you’re ready to start your journey to a healthier, happier life, schedule your visit today!