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
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.