Re-sync Your Life

Want to get back on track to achiev­ing your res­o­lu­tions? Here’s how you can align your daily ac­tions to make them stick

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

Are you on track with your new-year res­o­lu­tions?

The most pop­u­lar New Year’s res­o­lu­tions are health-re­lated. How­ever, 44 per cent of us break them in the first six months, so why not try some­thing dif­fer­ent. You will still be work­ing to­wards the same re­sult, just from a dif­fer­ent an­gle and with a higher rate of suc­cess. Here’s how to take a fresh ap­proach to five health-based res­o­lu­tions.

RES­O­LU­TION 1 TO LOSE WEIGHT

COM­MIT TO Tak­ing a pro­bi­otic ev­ery day. In six months, you will lose twice as much weight. Re­searchers say it is due to the way pro­bi­otics re­duce lev­els of an ap­petite-re­lated hor­mone, as well as con­cen­tra­tions of a strain of in­testi­nal bac­te­ria that has been linked to obe­sity. It is thought the pro­bi­otics work by al­ter­ing the per­me­abil­ity of the in­testi­nal wall so that pro-in­flam­ma­tory mol­e­cules, which are linked to obe­sity, do not en­ter the blood­stream.

MAKE THE MOST OF IT Pick a sup­ple­ment that con­tains the Lac­to­bacil­lus rham­no­sus strain, which is the one linked to weight loss, as well as at least one other va­ri­ety of pro­bi­otic. Other re­search has also shown that multi-strain pro­bi­otics are most ef­fec­tive at boost­ing weight loss.

RES­O­LU­TION 2 TO EX­ER­CISE MORE

COM­MIT TO Ask­ing your­self how much ex­er­cise you plan on do­ing this week. That can in­crease how much time you ac­tu­ally spend be­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive by as much as 138 per cent. Be­cause ex­er­cise is a good-for-you habit, ask­ing the ques­tion makes you think about how much you should ide­ally be do­ing, com­pared to what you usu­ally do. By sim­ply plan­ning ahead and know­ing what your goals are will mo­ti­vate you to get off your butt and move more.

MAKE THE MOST OF IT Link ex­er­cise to a “cue” like hear­ing your alarm clock go off in the morn­ing so you are con­di­tioned to re­spond as an in­stinc­tive habit. As soon as you hear the cue go off, make ex­er­cise the ob­vi­ous choice – as long as it is an ac­tiv­ity you en­joy and get a kick out of.

RES­O­LU­TION 3 TO DRINK LESS

COM­MIT TO Par­tic­i­pat­ing in

one or two “dry” months, this year. One in two peo­ple who quit al­co­hol for four weeks at a time say they drink less in the months that fol­low – and for more than a third of them, it is a change that lasts at least a year. Plus, af­ter a month off al­co­hol, your in­sulin re­sis­tance, which is a mea­sure­ment of di­a­betes risk, will be 28 per cent lower, and your liver stiff­ness, which is one in­di­ca­tion of liver dam­age, will im­prove by 12.5 per cent. MAKE THE MOST OF IT Of­fi­cially sign on to months like Fe­bFast (fe­bfast.org.au) and ask­ing your friends and fam­ily for their sup­port. Not only are peo­ple who regis­ter for a cause more likely to stick with it than peo­ple who go it alone, telling oth­ers what you are do­ing in­creases your chances of suc­cess by 10 per cent.

RES­O­LU­TION 4 TO EAT HEALTH­IER

COM­MIT TO Cook­ing as many meals at home from scratch as pos­si­ble. It is the key to a health­ier diet – peo­ple who cook

at home more of­ten than not con­sume fewer kilo­joules. They also eat fewer car­bo­hy­drates and less su­gar and fat than peo­ple who eat out more fre­quently. Plus, when “home cook­ers” do eat out, they tend to make health­ier choices.

MAKE THE MOST OF IT Cover half your plate with veg­eta­bles for both lunch and din­ner. Do that and you are much more likely to hit the rec­om­mended “eat five serv­ings of veg­eta­bles” a day, some­thing few of us rarely achieve.

RES­O­LU­TION 5 TO SLEEP BET­TER

COM­MIT TO Eat­ing at least 25g of fi­bre ev­ery day. You will spend more time in the stage of deep, restora­tive slow-wave sleep if you do. One ex­pla­na­tion could be that cer­tain nu­tri­ents have a direct ef­fect on your body’s cir­ca­dian rhythm – low-fi­bre di­ets may de­lay the drop in core body tem­per­a­ture and re­duce night-time mela­tonin se­cre­tion, both of which are vi­tal for good sleep. Good sources of fi­bre in­clude whole­meal pasta (8g of fi­bre in 1 cup), kid­ney beans (6.5g of fi­bre in 100g), and fresh corn (6g of fi­bre in 1 medium cob).

MAKE THE MOST OF IT Avoid sat­u­rated fat as well, par­tic­u­larly at din­ner­time. The same re­searchers say meals rich in sat­u­rated fat in­crease the time it takes to fall asleep by 70 per cent. This means stay­ing away from meats such as beef, pork and lamb; pro­cessed meats such as sausages and pep­per­oni; and dairy items such as cheese, but­ter and cream.

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