Only 25% of people will follow through with their New Year's resolutions after 30 days, and just 8% will be successful. So, instead of setting resolutions this year, set goals that will allow you to live a healthier lifestyle. And the more specific you are about your goals, the more likely you'll achieve them. To help you get started, consider implementing one of these lifestyle changes below.
1. Reorganize Your Kitchen
Whether you’re trying to slim down or you are looking for an overall wellness boost, start by reorganizing your kitchen. For starters, make your kitchen less of an area that you hang out in for long periods of times. Brian Wansink, Ph.D., Director of the Cornell University and Food and Brand Lab and author of Slim By Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life explains, “Removing some kitchen comforts helps people spend less time—18 minutes less, on average—in the kitchen. And they tend to snack less." He advises giving your kitchen a makeover, which should only take 15 minutes. Dr. Wansink recommends only having a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter and putting only the healthiest foods at eye level in the refrigerator. Any unhealthy food should be wrapped in tinfoil and placed in opaque containers, preventing cravings. Or set the sweets in hard to reach places where they’re not as visible. As for your counter tops, keep them clear as possible and allow for easy access to cookware. Lastly, make sure to have a well-stocked pantry of the basics (beans, whole-wheat bread, canned vegetables, etc.) and a fridge filled with colorful vegetables. These effortless kitchen adjustments will help kick start your wellness journey.
2. Plan Your Meals
Cooking in bulk at the beginning of the week, like on Sundays, will ultimately save you time and money. Before you go grocery shopping, plan your weekly meals and check out the store’s weekly circular to find out what deals are going on. Make sure to keep an eye out for frozen or canned vegetables, lean proteins, and fresh fruit. Once shopping is completed, pick a day to prepare the week’s meals, and have storage containers ready. After all the meals are cooked, place each one into a plastic storage container, so that way you can grab and go throughout the week. The ultimate goal of meal planning is to control portions and calories, which will optimize your health journey.
3. Cut the Carbs
When we cut back on the carbohydrates, you immediately reduce the number of daily calories you consume. The lack of carbs will trigger your body to start burning fat as fuel, instead of using the glucose from carbohydrates. Replacing refined starches with high-fiber foods will get rid of that midsection flab. It’s recommended by the Institute of Medicine to consume 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day. And most importantly, you’ll have more energy because whole-wheat carbohydrates will feed your body with long-term fuel; therefore you won’t be looking for a quick energy fix.
4. Add Probiotics
Seventy percent of your immune system resides in your gut. Therefore, taking daily probiotics or increasing your intake of Greek yogurt will help maintain the gut’s integrity. In the long run, this will prevent you from getting sick, you’ll tolerate allergy season better, and you’ll feel less bloated.
5. Up Your Protein Intake
Protein is the most important macronutrient because it’s riddled with essential vitamins and minerals and amino acids. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of it per kilogram of body weight. However, if you workout daily, your body will need more for muscle recovery. Getting back to the basics, your body uses protein to build and repair tissues, make enzymes, hormones and other chemicals. It’s essentially the building block for bones, muscles, cartilage and skin. Diets lacking in protein, like a vegetarian diet, can put you at risk for vitamin deficiencies, in particular, vitamin B12. This vitamin is necessary to help maintain energy levels, concentration, mood, vision, and appetite control.
6. Drink More Water
How much water you consume every day can play an important role in how you’re feeling. The Institute of Medicine advises that men should drink 13 cups a day and women should drink nine cups a day. Maintaining adequate daily water levels will improve mood, aid in digestion, and rid the body of toxins. The Journal of Nutrition found that the dehydration could significantly reduce your mood and cognitive function.
7. Incorporate Colorful Produce
Each season offers a new round of vegetables and fruits. Adding a new variety of fruits and vegetables to your diet will feed the body with a fresh set of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.
8. Find Time to Exercise
Daily exercise will not only burn calories, but it will boost your overall mood. Daily exercise will release feel-good chemicals—endorphins—which will elevate your mood and improve overall cognitive function. With exercise brings an increased body temperature, creating a calming effect. If you’re not a fan of the gym, then try taking a class, going for a swim, or even completing chores around the house or outside. Any movement will make an impact.