0005: Start It, Keep It
Three Healthy Resolutions and How to Keep Them
by Katie Conroy
New Year’s resolutions are kind of silly. Most of the time, people have given up on them by the time February rolls around. Even if you’ve already fallen off the wagon, there’s nothing keeping you from getting back on. Starting back up may even help take off a lot of the pressure that comes with making a goal and labeling it as a New Year’s resolution.
If you want to meet your goals and be healthier this year, keep it simple. Don’t put hard deadlines on yourself. Rather, think of a general goal you can approach in a holistic way.
The Resolution: Stress Less
Americans are stressed. The 2017 Stress in America survey conducted by the
American Psychological Association found that while stress levels vary depending on age, gender, race, and economic status, people today are more likely to report symptoms of stress, which include anxiety, anger, and fatigue.
Exercise is a great remedy for stress. It improves your health overall while releasing endorphins throughout your body. Endorphins are feel-good neurotransmitters that relieve pain and help create feelings of enjoyment and even euphoria. In fact, the natural high you get from endorphins is why many doctors recommend people in addiction recovery begin an exercise regimen. Graceful, flowing exercises like swimming and yoga are great methods that help you reap the benefits of exercise while being gentle on the body (something people in recovery need to be cognizant of).
If you find that you really enjoy fitness, you may decide to turn it into a career. If so, consider adding becoming a personal trainer to your list of New Year's resolutions. You can work on getting certified with NCEP Fitness.
The Resolution: Eat Healthier
Eating healthier can be quite a challenge in winter. Cold weather makes people want to warm up with fatty and starchy foods that add bulk to your waistline and make the number on the scale steadily increase. Instead of reaching for the pasta and cream-heavy sauces, fill up on whole foods when you hit the grocery store. Instead, stick to the perimeter of the supermarket where you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. The inner aisles are where hyper-processed foods live.
Other tips for eating healthier:
- Cook your own meals. Many restaurants only care about taste, so they add extra salt and fat. When you cook at home, you can control the ingredients.
- Cut calories by avoiding fatty meats like bacon, ribs, and sausages as well as sugary treats like cookies, ice cream, and candy. Notice we say avoid -- not cut out entirely. Telling yourself you’re never going to have a food you like ever again just makes it more tempting. If you have a craving, indulge it with moderation, then continue eating healthy for your next meal.
- Choose the right snacks for your dietary needs. Some snacks that may seem healthy to you might not actually work for your diet. If you've opted to cut calories, caprese salad and shrimp cocktail are good choices. If you have diabetes, stick to options like chia seed pudding and edamame.
- Drink more water. Drinking your calories with soda and juice will make you gain weight without contributing much nutrition to your diet. Meanwhile, drinking enough water helps control your appetite among other benefits.
The Resolution: Grow Stronger
Everybody wants to be stronger. Yet for some reason, so many people avoid lifting weights. You don’t have to bulk up to reap the benefits of weight training. Even working with lighter weights or your body weight can significantly improve your health. Lifting weights helps you live longer, feel happier, improve your balance, and burn more calories just living your day-to-day life.
New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be a dead end. Make simple goals you can keep to stay motivated. Instead of thinking of exercise as a way to lose weight, get moving for other benefits such as stress reduction. Insteading of starting a fad diet, resolve to eat healthier by cooking more meals and choosing whole foods. Finally, start weight training with the goal of growing stronger.
Want to take fitness a step further and become a personal trainer? Get in touch with NCEP Fitness and start working on getting certified today!