Each January, millions of us make New Years resolutions to live a healthier, happier lifestyle. And then, each March, millions of us realize that we have already dropped our resolutions. Oops! What is happening, and how can you stick to your plans?
One common problem is that we tend to set goals that sound great, but aren’t very specific. For example, many people decide to “lose weight”, but don’t have a plan for accomplishing that objective. Or they decide to “get healthier”, but never define what that means. Of course it’s difficult to stick to a particular task, when you haven’t planned out exactly how you’re going to tackle it!
Even though January is well underway, we suggest the following, more specific, resolutions to take control of your health.
Ditch the sugar. Sugar really is one of the worst culprits in our diets, but it’s everywhere! Learn to read food labels, and look out for words like “sucrose” and “fructose”. Those are just alternate names for sugar, which triggers inflammation in the body and leads to weight gain.
Get more sleep. Resolve to get at least eight hours of sleep each night, even if you need to purchase room darkening shades, earplugs, a white noise machine, or a new mattress. You spend one third of your life in bed, so make it count! And remember, adequate sleep helps to balance the hormones that control cravings, mood, and weight retention.
Practice portion control. Much of the reason we tend to overeat (and gain weight) is that we don’t actually know what correct portion sizes look like. It’s understandable, since we live in a world saturated by restaurant fare and unrealistic expectations regarding food. Research the food groups, recommended daily servings, and appropriate portion sizes. Then, start eating a balanced diet based in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. You might need to weigh or measure your foods at first, but over time you will become accustomed to this new habit.
Devote yourself to consistency. It’s one thing to set a goal and reach it every day for one week. It’s quite another accomplishment to reach that goal for an entire year! Set specific goals that you want to accomplish every day. So, rather than saying, “I will exercise more in 2019”, you would say, “I will walk at least 30 minutes every day in 2019″. How you word your resolutions really does matter in the long run!
Aim for sustainability. Now that you’ve set some goals to improve your personal health, consider the health of the environment as well. Make a few, specific changes to how you eat, such as relying less upon pre-packaged foods or bringing your own bags to the grocery store. With just small changes, we can each leave a smaller footprint on the environment while also keeping ourselves healthier.
We really do recommend specific goals. But if your primary goal is to “lose weight”, then please make an appointment with us. We can show you how to do that in a safe, medically-supported way, and keep the weight off for good.