It’s always the same thing – every January, people across the country resolve to lose half their body weight, suddenly turn vegan, or run a full marathon the following week. The problem with these goals, as admirable as they are, is that they are not attainable New Year’s resolutions, at least in the short term. All too often, people who make such far-reaching, lofty goals each January 1 are more likely than not to be disappointed – and then even more likely to fall back into their old bad habits.
At Laredo Emergency Room, we recommend a more measured, gradual approach to your healthy New Year’s resolutions.
Making these small, simple tweaks to your diet can make surprisingly big changes in your overall health and physique:
Hydrate smart. Of course, you’ve heard the age-old wisdom about drinking eight glasses of water every day – and if you’re like most people, you fall short of that goal most days. But if you look at what you drink each day, including coffee, sodas, alcoholic beverages, and other drinks, you may find that you actually drink plenty of fluids – just not the right kinds. Switch even just some of your sugary or high-calorie favorites for water with lemon. Adding lemon to your water not only gives your otherwise bland drink a bit of zesty flavor – but it also boosts metabolism.
Go whole. Switching from white or refined grains to whole grains is one of the easiest ways to improve your diet. Virtually all grain-based foods, from tortillas, breads, and muffins, to cereals, pastas, and pizza crusts, are available in whole wheat varieties. People who make this simple swap have better digestive health, lower cholesterol, and lower body weights than people who eat white, refined grains. A Nurses’ Health Study, documented by the National Institutes of Health, even concluded that increased intake of whole grains can protect against coronary heart disease, which can help keep you out of Laredo Emergency Room.
Eat slowly. The body takes about 20 minutes from the time you eat to feel full, which means that if you go back for a second helping before those 20 minutes are up, you may find in the end that you’ve overeaten. In other words, you were satisfied with your first serving – you just didn’t know it. Eating slowly allows your body to catch up to your appetite, reducing the chance that you will overeat and consume more calories and fat than your body actually needs. Eating slowly can also reduce the risk of heartburn and abdominal discomfort.
Size right. Portion control can go a long way toward losing weight. Our culture of huge portions is catching up with Americans in a big way, and the trend has spread from the restaurant table to the kitchen table. Gradually cutting back portion sizes can trim calories and fat from your diet each and every day, helping you to lose weight without actually changing what you eat or restricting you from eating your favorite foods. Giving yourself specific amounts of snack foods, rather than eating right out of the box or bag, and keeping snack foods hidden from view can also help.
These helpful yet completely do-able strategies will have you feeling better, less bloated, and more energetic – and likely will help you trim a few pounds while you’re at it, all without making major changes. See, attainable New Year’s resolutions are possible, if you just take it in small steps.
Hiring a personal trainer is another fantastic approach to achieving your health goals in 2019. Learn more about the top things to look for in this blog: How to Pick a Personal Trainer.
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