Eating better and exercising are the most popular New Year’s Resolutions in America, according to Forbes magazine, just 8% of Americans actually achieve success. Two keys for success: (1) keep the resolution list short; and (2) set measurable goals.
Here are couple of example of how to put your resolutions into action: I will eat better by preparing healthy morning and afternoon snacks daily during the month of January. I will take a Tuesday/Thursday Spin class during the month of January.
“What I tell people is: Eat well. Move well. Think well. Set small achievable goals for short periods of time,” encourages Dr. Amy Michelle Willcockson, director of Live Healthy Iowa, which was created to strategically address Iowa’s growing obesity problem. Live Healthy Iowa brings together friends, families, businesses and communities in team-based wellness challenges designed to promote positive lifestyle change.
Lifestyle changes can be so confusing with all the fad diets and food labels making headlines. Treat “diet” as a noun to describe the kinds of foods you typically eat. Chances are, you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Only 12% of Americans eats the minimum daily recommended amount of 1 to 1½ cups of fruit; just 9% of Americans eats the recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Eating just one banana, half an apple, one salad and one cup of tomato soup would cover the basic fruit and vegetable requirements as outlined in a recent Today article. “Consuming enough fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet reduces the risk of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity,” according to the CDC.
NOTE: You don’t have to replace meat with plant proteins to “get healthy.”The key is eating a balanced diet. Do you know that pork tenderloin is just as lean as skinless chicken breast and meets the government guidelines for “extra lean”? Any cuts from the loin — like pork chops and pork roast — are leaner than skinless chicken thigh, according to USDA data. Lean pork is a good source of iron, potassium and other essential nutrients. Beef also is a good source of zinc, iron and protein; many cuts of beef also meet the USDA’s regulations for “lean” and “extra lean.”
I spend a lot of time eating at fast food restaurants when I’m traveling for work or to attend my kids’ activities. I realized there were days when I only at sandwiches and no fruits or veggies. One simple lifestyle change I made was ordering a chicken or turkey salad with balsamic vinaigrette and replacing the diet soft drink with water. Another change I made was swapping my morning cappuccino for black tea to cut calories and sugar.
“Focus on just one 10 percent increment at a time,” she says. “Don’t look at the insurmountable. Literally just take a step in the right direction. Then take the next step.”
To get 10 percent better in any one area, Dr. Willcockson offers this practical advice:
Eat Well. Portion control is key to healthy eating. One way to avoid binge eating is to eat smaller portions more frequently. Pack snacks to enjoy as mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks in the office or on the road that include a healthy fat with fruits and veggies such as: 1/3 cup hummus with 12 baby carrots; ¼ cup almonds or walnuts with 8 large strawberries; or 1 cup strawberries with 1 cup cottage cheese.
Move Well. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Park further away from the building you’re going to enter. As a society, we need to change the way we think about how we workout. Google “interval training” or “burst training,” and get ideas for workouts that are from 5 to 15 minutes long.
Think Well. Does your self-talk need to be more positive? Maybe you struggle with depression or have an unresolved issue with a family member or friend. Get a stack of positive affirmation cards and begin the day by reading one or watch a motivational YouTube video every morning.
“Find solutions,” says Dr. Willcockson. “It’s so classic to think, ‘I just cheated on my diet, so I may as well have another cookie.’ Or, ‘I can’t make it to the gym, so what’s the point in exercising?’ Be stronger than your excuses! What can you do to incorporate more movement into your daily routine?”
Step Up to the Challenge!
Become part of the network of support and education through the 2018 10-Week Challenge. Family members, friends, neighbors, church groups, or companies and businesses can sign up teams. Because activity is recorded online, teams can include members from different towns, states and countries.
The 16th annual 10-week challenge begins Jan. 22, so click here to learn more or to sign up now! All you need to do is get online and get moving.