As another year ends, we look forward to a new year and new beginnings. With all the personal resolve we can muster we promise to become a better person. Unfortunately most people run out of determination around February -when reality has shown them that change means work and commitment! The problem is that we set ourselves up for failure by making guilt-ridden unrealistic goals after overindulging during the holidays. To be able to stick to our resolutions we have to make a list that is a little challenging but fun.
Here are Ten Top Resolutions for your Consideration:
1. Eat Healthier
A few small changes add up over the course of a year. Even though you are busy, try to cook at home. When shopping, purchase more fruits and vegetables (fresh is always best). You may not have time to make a gourmet meal every night, but if you prepare meals ahead of time, then on busy evenings you only need to finish what you have started. One-dish meals like chili or stew are great for busy nights, especially if you have a crock-pot. Challenge yourself with new recipes and new ingredients, and always have some 'veggie sticks' prepared for a quick snack. However, try to allow yourself with one free meal a week to eat whatever you want.
Even though it is critical for your mental and physical health, exercise is one of the first things to be pushed aside. It doesn't have to be expensive, and walking is a low-impact exercise. Go skating or tobogganing with the kids (even if it is only your inner child). The trick is to pick something you enjoy doing and get moving! Have fun and enjoy the many health benefits that come along with exercise, including getting in better shape, improving your mood, stress, and energy levels, boosting your immune system, and sleeping better at night.
3. Limit Sodium
A high sodium diet can lead to heart disease and stroke. Simply removing (or possibly hiding) the salt shaker can reduce the amount of sodium in your family's diet. Try seasoning foods with fresh herbs which are very flavorful and full of antioxidants, and if you do find salt a necessity, look for low sodium alternatives. With a larger focus on health in recent years there are now many palatable alternatives available. Keep in mind that fast-food, tomato sauces and canned soups etc are also high in sodium.
4. Increase Fiber
Most people lack fiber in their diet. Necessary for good health, fiber can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, improve circulation and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. Experts suggest a daily intake of 25-38g of fiber daily, but the typical diet only provides about half of that. Fiber supplements can also help, such as flaxseed, psyllium and fiberrific.
5. Feed Your Brain
The health benefits of fish oil (DHA & EPA) cannot be overstated. Many clinical trials have shown that fish oil benefits nearly every body system, including mood. Plan to eat cold water fish twice a week and/or take a good Omega-3 supplement with at least 1000mg combined DHA & EPA every day.
6. Get Enough Vitamin D
Get a daily dose of Vitamin D. Having a Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Adequate Vitamin D also facilitates calcium absorption, vital to women throughout their lives, and has been linked to decreased cancer risk.
7. Eat Your Probiotics
Replenish your probiotics daily. Necessary for good digestion and healthy intestines, make sure you include healthy snacks containing yoghurt or kefir, both of which are full of live probiotics. Alternatively, take a good probiotic supplement. Probiotics must be taken daily to continually provide health benefits.
8. Reconnect with friends and family
Everyone reminisces about old friends and wonders what happened to them. It is hard to keep connected when you are always on the go. Don't live with what if's and regrets. Schedule one hour per week to write, email, phone or visit friends and family.
9. Take some “me” time
Over the holiday, you have been busy every single day--not to mention hosting Christmas dinner for 30 people! Take the time to recharge and rejuvenate. Try to devote 30 minutes every day to yourself and at least once a week make yourself the most important part of your life! Curl up with your favorite book or treat yourself to a movie, whatever you enjoy doing.
10. Experience Life!
Set a date once a month to try something new. You could take a class in cooking or painting, try climbing, snowboarding, yoga, Pilates, or something as simple as a new ethnic restaurant. If variety is the spice of life, then spice it up and experience life!
These are some easy and fun resolutions to help encourage a healthy lifestyle in 2010. Whatever you resolve to do, make it a pleasant endeavour. Happy New Year!
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