Make Maintaining A Healthy Weight Your New Year’s Goal
If you’re like many people you probably make a few New Year’s resolutions. One item tops lots of lists: the desire to lose a few pounds and become healthier.
Many people start out strong but falter after a few weeks and fall back on old habits. It’s particularly difficult here in northern New Hampshire to remain motivated to eat well and remain active when snow, ice and cold keep us indoors snuggling up on the couch under a cozy blanket with a warm drink and snacks as we read or watch a movie.
Healthy eating habits and staying active are important every day of the year and Healthy Weight Week, celebrated this year from January 15-21, might give you the impetus to eat more healthily and engage in some kind of physical activity most days of the week. Changing your eating and exercising habits helps reduce the risk of many diseases, such as cancer, heart problems, strokes and diabetes.
The National Foundation for Cancer Research offers the following tips to help you maintain a healthy weight and live a healthier life:
- Add Fruits & Veggies: Strive to eat 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, preferably adding some to every meal and snack and varying what you consume. A good way to think of it is to “eat the rainbow.” Choose fruits and vegetables across the color spectrum to get all the nutrients you need. In addition to fruits and vegetables, a healthy diet includes whole grain foods, low-fat dairy, poultry, beans and nuts. Limit red meats and processed foods, which have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.
- Put the Fun in Exercise: To make moving a habit, find an exercise you enjoy and have fun doing and you’re apt to make it a part of your life. Walking is easy to fit into most people’s schedules, but maybe this is the year you want to take up tap dancing, Pilates or pickle ball or join a gym.
- Start Small: Baby steps will help you reach your goal faster than trying to set an unachievable goal. It’s possible to incorporate physical activity throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away when you shop for groceries, or crank up the music and dance around the house when the weather keeps you indoors. The more you move the easier it is to maintain a healthy weight.
- Hydrate: Sometimes we think we’re hungry and overeat when we are actually thirsty. Fill a glass with water instead of reaching for a snack. Water from the tap is a low-cost way to stay hydrated year-round, and drinking water throughout the day helps regulate the body’s temperature, aids in elimination and can keep your brain more focused
- Sleep Well: Six to eight hours of quality sleep each night helps us prepare for the day ahead, reduces stress and may lower the risk of developing many diseases.
- Relax: Our busy lives sometimes overshadow our need to relax and recharge, but managing stress is important to our overall health. Taking a few deep breaths when you’re feeling stressed can help put your mind at ease. Taking a walk in nature, joining a yoga class or learning how to meditate are also stress busters.
- Drink Sparingly: Alcohol is full of calories and has no nutritional benefit. Men should limit their alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day and women to just one. Remember to check how much of the beverage is considered one drink.
- Set A Goal: Setting a goal helps keep you accountable. If you want to run a 5K in June or lose 10 pounds by the end of the year, what are the steps you can take now to achieve that? Knowing what you expect from yourself can be a great motivator in helping you achieve your goal.
Setting a goal and adding some healthy habits to your life in January can help you live a healthier life and limit your risk of developing certain diseases. And by December you will have earned boasting rights that you kept your New Year’s resolution.
Shannon Lynch is the Executive Director of The Morrison Communities, which includes the Morrison Skilled Nursing Facility, Sartwell Place Assisted Living, Morrison Rehabilitation, and Summit by Morrison, a senior living community offering independent living, assisted living, memory care and respite care.
The Morrison Communities is a non-profit 501©(3) charitable community that has been providing quality healthcare to residents of New Hampshire’s North Country since 1903.