With a new year comes a renewed drive and determination to make impossible resolutions. We promise to swear off sugar, run four miles every day and go vegan so that we can finally achieve the ideal body type and lifestyle we want. But rather than swearing to make extreme changes that only last a couple of days, it’s better to make smaller, more sustainable ones that will have a lasting effect.
The easiest change that you can make to boost your overall health is to incorporate more whole foods into your diet, which include vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds and fish. According to Healthline.com, a whole foods based diet can significantly reduce heart disease risk factors, body fat, blood sugar levels and risks of obtaining certain diseases such as diabetes.
If you aren’t used to having whole foods in your diet, you can start by slowly incorporating servings of them into your meals. For example, add about half a cup of your favorite vegetable to two out of your three daily meals, and gradually add more.
An easy way to ensure you are eating more whole foods is having a vast majority of your meals cooked at home. With home-cooked meals, you can guarantee that your food is made from fresh and beneficial ingredients that haven’t been processed or injected with preservatives. Once you get into the habit of making your own food, you can control the ingredients you put into your body. At the same time, you gain knowledge about nutrients and the benefits of certain foods. This serves as a better alternative to eating out, since restaurants tend to over-season their food by adding overwhelming amounts of salt, butter and unhealthy toppings. Restaurants also tend to serve bigger portions, which can result in overeating.
The next step toward a healthier way of life is to find a physical activity that you enjoy. According to MedlinePlus.gov, working out can drastically increase your mental and physical health, strengthen your bones and muscles, and help your thinking and learning skills. Rather than aiming for the ordinary workouts of lifting weights and running, find ways to move your body in a way that allows you to break a sweat and have fun at the same time.
Alternatives to more traditional ways of working out include biking, dancing, jump roping, swimming, badminton, or any other sport you enjoy. When you partake in a physical activity you actually like doing, it no longer becomes a hassle and will instead become a habitual recreation that you can look forward to.
The last resolution that you should definitely make is one that requires the most patience and perseverance: changing your mindset about dieting. The diet industry is a billion-dollar franchise built upon fad diets and quick fixes that nearly never last. According to Healthline.com, chronic dieting is harmful to both your physical and mental health and it also makes it harder to lose weight in the future.
Instead of pushing yourself into restrictive measures that will do more harm than help, try incorporating the suggestions mentioned above into your lifestyle.
Even though New Year’s resolutions have a track record of not really benefiting people, these resolutions are capable of drastically improving your health in various ways. Make 2021 the year you finally obtain your health goals and sustain them as long as possible.