When it comes to New Year's resolutions, health-related goals are definitely in the top three. For many women, however, the path to good health is not an easy one, with too many obstacles along the way. Procrastination, family obligations, work demands, and lack of time and energy are only a few of the excuses that can stop even the best of intentions. If your goal is to lose those last 10 pounds -- for the fifth year in a row -- why not consider making a new, more easily-done resolution that has equally big health payoffs?
Take your pick of these attainable resolutions that you can actually stick to this year:
Get More Sleep – Want more energy, improved mood, and help losing weight? Try sleep! The body repairs and regenerates during sleep. Getting enough sleep is the best way to help your mind and body function at its best. Optimum sleep time varies from person to person, from 4 to 11 hours a day. An easy way to find your optimum sleep time is to sleep until you wake up without an alarm clock or other interruption. Do this two or three days in a row, and you'll know what the ideal amount of sleep is for you.
Eat a Veggie or Fruit with Every Meal -- The evidence linking vegetable and fruit consumption to disease prevention makes this a smart resolution anyone can make and gain rewards from. To work in more healthy additions try slicing a banana into your morning cereal or yogurt, have an apple as dessert with your lunch, and start every dinner meal with a salad. Eating fruits and vegetables increases your fiber intake, which helps fill you up, making you less likely to eat unhealthy foods. In addition, fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and antioxidants, which your body needs for a strong immune system.
Find a Form of Exercise That You Love – Just because you don't like to jog or do aerobics doesn't mean you should give up on exercise. What works for one woman doesn't always work for everyone else. It can take some trial and error to find which forms of exercise are enjoyable for you. Try making a list of five new forms of physical activity that you haven't tried—like yoga, rowing, or swimming laps -- and give each a try for two weeks. Then, pick the ones that you enjoy most. Try new machines and/or classes; look for news about new exercise trends; do whatever it takes to keep your workouts consistently fun. That's what will ultimately get you working out more regularly.
Cook More at Home -- Relying on restaurant food after a long day of work is certainly convenient, but it can have health consequences. A lot of restaurant food is served in huge portions with more calories, fat, and sodium than a home-cooked meal. Cooking at home can be just as easy as calling for takeout. It only takes a little bit of planning. Planning your meals for the week can also ensure that you don't get caught short and have to order pizza -- again.
Cut Back on Sugar – This does not mean you must live your life without your favorite flavor of ice cream. You don't have to give up your favorite indulgences to make this resolution work. Just by taking a look at the added sugar in foods and trying to eat as little of the sweet stuff as possible, your body will thank you. Too much sugar is basically too many calories without any nutritional benefit for your body. More than likely, if you're consuming too much sugar, your diet may be lacking in healthy foods, increasing your chance for disease, decreased energy, and unhealthy skin.
Happy New Year from all of us at WHASN! We wish you a very healthy 2018.