Tips to keep res­o­lu­tions on track

Lesotho Times - - Health -

AL­READY hav­ing a hard time keep­ing your New Year’s res­o­lu­tions? Re­search from the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton in Seat­tle re­veals al­most 40 per cent of peo­ple who make New Year’s res­o­lu­tions break them within two months.

The US Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health says you’re more likely to stick to a change in your rou­tine by tak­ing one small step at a time — so break down your res­o­lu­tions into bite-size chunks.

It’s help­ful to en­vi­sion your over­all goal, but putting one foot in front of the other is eas­ier than jump­ing in with two feet. Here are some sim­ple tips to get you back on track.

First, keep your health on the fore­front of your brain. You can do this by in­te­grat­ing health and fit­ness into your ev­ery­day life.

For ex­am­ple, how many times a day do you walk in and out of your house? Put an ex­tra pair of gym shoes by the door. They’ll re­mind you that all you need to do is put on work­out clothes, lace up and hit the gym or work out at home.

Speak­ing of work­ing out at home, break down your work­out plan into small parts. In­stead of com­mit­ting to an hour a day at the gym, make 30 min­utes your goal. Re­duce the length of your work­out to make it less in­tim­i­dat­ing.

If you’re con­stantly snack­ing on un­healthy foods, that’s a prob­lem. Try this: place an ob­sta­cle be­tween you and those snacks. Line up wa­ter bot­tles on a shelf in the fridge, block­ing fat­ten­ing left­overs or desserts that you find your­self go­ing back to mul­ti­ple times a day.

You can do this in your pantry, too. Place wa­ter bot­tles in front of bags of chips, crack­ers, or cook­ies.

Then drink a full bot­tle be­fore eat­ing some­thing un­healthy.

If you’re a night­time eater, try this trick: Make eat­ing less en­tic­ing by putting some­thing on your hands, such as lo­tion. You can even paint your nails in­stead. You wouldn’t want to ruin your fresh man­i­cure by dig­ging into a bag of chips, and you wouldn’t want to eat candy that tastes like lo­tion.

Fi­nally, fo­cus on pos­i­tive af­fir­ma­tions. Stud­ies show that say­ing pos­i­tive things to your­self helps im­prove your body im­age and self-es­teem. Write out a pos­i­tive af­fir­ma­tion on a sticky note. Place these notes on your bath­room mir­ror or some­place that you look at daily. Then, you are in essence train­ing your brain to think pos­i­tive thoughts about your­self. Be­low are tips for health­ier eat­ing habits and get­ting ac­tive: Start with a clean slate: Clean and or­ga­nize your pantry and fridge by chuck­ing the overly pro­cessed junk foods. Re­place those sug­ary ce­re­als, cook­ies and crack­ers with hy­dro­genated oils, bot­tled salad dress­ings and re­fined grains like white rice and pasta. In­stead, stock up on healthy gra­nolas and un­salted nuts and seeds; a good olive and av­o­cado oil; a va­ri­ety of vine­gars; and whole grains such as quinoa, farro, bul­gur, mil­let and brown rice. Ev­i­dence of your clean slate will help: Post “be­fore” and “af­ter” pho­tos on so­cial me­dia to in­spire your­self and your friends. Be truth­ful: It can be easy to fool your­self into think­ing you’re eat­ing healthy. Sure, there are car­rots in that cake and peaches in that pie. But these foods don’t count to­ward the fruits and veg­gies you should eat ev­ery day. Cook more: De­velop seven to 10 go-to healthy recipes and the shop­ping lists you need for them. Print them out or take pho­tos of them with your phone. Let fam­ily mem­bers pick favourites. Aim to try a new recipe once a week or once a month. Try tweak­ing favourites with dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents. Re­duce sodium: Ex­per­i­ment by sea­son­ing food with herbs and spices such as basil, black pep­per, cayenne, gar­lic, nut­meg, and gin­ger in­stead of salt. In­clude more seeds. Many seeds of­fer heart-healthy fats, fi­bre, pro­tein and im­por- tant nu­tri­ents such as mag­ne­sium and potas­sium. Keep a shaker with un­salted sun­flower seeds, flax seeds, in your re­frig­er­a­tor to sprin­kle over soups, sal­ads, yo­gurt and oat­meal.

Stop throw­ing away fi­bre. A good por­tion of a fruit or veg­etable’s fi­bre con­tent – im­por­tant for di­ges­tive health, heart health and to re­duce risk of some can­cers – can be found in its peel. So wash the out­side but don’t re­move the peel from pota­toes and ap­ples when cook­ing. (Only do this with ed­i­ble peels – not pineap­ple, or­ange and av­o­cado peels.)

Read the in­gre­di­ent list: Many peo­ple fo­cus on the pack­age front and the Nutri­tion Facts la­bel. A quick short­cut if you’re con­fused: Start by look­ing for foods with nu­tri­tious in­gre­di­ents listed first, such as whole grains, fruits or veg­eta­bles.

Graze, don’t gorge: If you’re at a party with a tempt­ing spread, try a small sam­ple rather than a full por­tion. Bal­ance these tan­ta­liz­ing snacks with health­ier op­tions such as fresh-cut fruits and veg­eta­bles, or have a healthy snack be­fore you go so you’re not hun­gry when you ar­rive.

Help make healthy food more avail­able: If you have a school-age child, team up with other par­ents to ad­vo­cate for health­ier cafe­te­ria foods. At home, al­ways have a stock of ready-to-eat healthy snacks on hand so they’re easy to grab and go when hunger strikes.

Stay hy­drated. Start the day with a glass of wa­ter first thing in the morn­ing. Look for health­ier op­tions than sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages such as sparkling wa­ter. Make wa­ter tastier by adding fruit to your ice cubes.

Get mov­ing. While many of us fo­cus on diet with our res­o­lu­tions, re­mem­ber the im­por­tance of get­ting ac­tive, too. It doesn’t take a lot of ex­er­cise to im­prove your heart health, help lose weight and just feel bet­ter. But it can help to keep track of your ex­er­cise time. The Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion rec­om­mends an hour and a half a week of mod­er­ate phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity for most adults each week (or at least 75 min­utes of vig­or­ous ac­tiv­ity each week or a mix of both). Kids should get about an hour a day. — Heart.org

You’re more likely to stick to a res­o­lu­tion by im­ple­ment­ing small changes.

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