It seems that every year about this time we vow to make a drastic change in our lives over the next year. New Year’s Resolutions seem to provide the motivation to start again. And again. And again. What’s different about this year’s resolutions? Most of us have good intentions and start off the year with a strong desire to lose weight, quit smoking, or start saving money and stop spending it. What are you resolved to do this year, and what are the main things people hope they can change?
Do you enjoy a drink now and then? Many of us do, often when socializing with friends and family. Drinking can be beneficial or harmful, depending on your age and health status, and, of course, how much you drink. For anyone who drinks, the internet offers valuable, research-based information. What do you think about taking a look at your drinking habits and how they may affect your health? Rethinking Drinking can help you get started. www.alcoholism.about.com.
Resolve to eat healthier food in 2014. Go on internet sites to get a head start on what your dinner plate should look like. Add more vegetables and focus on fruit. Make all of your grains whole grains. Have you gotten your dairy today? When you eat your proteins, make sure they’re a different color. Like chicken and fish…tan and light brown, as opposed to beef, which is dark brown. When you toss the junk food in the trash and eat well, you’re being a positive role model for your kids. Eating seafood twice a week, and/or fish, you’re getting a lower calorie, higher protein and lower fat meal and less of the fat from beef and pork.
Cut back the sugar in your kid’s diet. Encourage more fresh fruits and less candy. If you put melons and berries in front of them, they will be getting more vitamins and nutrients and less of the harmful sugar that leads to type 2 diabetes later in life. If you share your weight loss goals and workouts with your children, they will be more likely to stick to a diet and exercise regimen, knowing that these are family goals and not just a punishment for them. You’re instilling positive choices in their lives.
Sometimes we don’t see how much we’re eating, and this brings up the subject of Portion Control. Eat your dinner off a salad plate and not a larger dinner plate. This is a real eye opener. When you eat your frosted mini-wheats in the morning, measure out what a single portion looks like and you’ll be surprised to know that the manufacturer’s idea of a portion is ¾ of a cup, while our idea of a portion is the whole bowl. Everything in moderation is a good way to go.
Consider convenience: A single-serving container of low-fat or fat-free yogurt or individually wrapped string cheese can be just enough for an after-school snack. Swap out the sugar and keep healthier foods handy so kids will make the right choices, even if you’re not around. prepare homemade goodies. For homemade sweets, add dried fruits like apricots or raisins and reduce the amount of sugar by adjust recipes that include fats like butter or shortening by using unsweetened applesauce or prune puree for half the amount of fat. You have to realize that these are long term changes for your old bad habits. Try to see the light at the end of the tunnel…that you aren’t dieting, YOU’RE MAKING A LIFE CHANGE THAT LASTS FOREVER!
Choose lean protein foods such as low sodium protein snacks like nuts, deli meats and or hard-boiled eggs. Wrap a piece of deli meat around a wedge of apple for a really healthy snack that will fill you up and give you more satisfaction than sugar-based snacks. If you keep these snacks in the fridge, ready to eat when your kids get home from school, they will appreciate the ease of snacking and are more likely to go for the healthy choices.
A New Year’s Resolution shouldn’t be painful. If you set your goals once a month and stick to them, you can change your habits a little at a time and not feel like the world is crashing down around you. We depend on food to do all sorts of things from changing our mood to avoid getting type 2 diabetes. Even if you exercise half an hour a day with a brisk walk, results will show in some new ways, like going down a size in your clothing, feeling happy because your blood sugar is on an even keel, and you’ll have a feeling of satisfaction over a longer period of time because you’re not taking a radical, unrealistic approach to food. When you remove all sugar, sodium and fats from your diet you will get very hungry and begin to make bad choices again. Understanding that your car cannot run on empty, that it needs gas to go, your body can’t live on empty calories. And ideal goal for most people is 1200 to 1500 calories a day along with a half hour walk, a bike ride, or a trip to the gym.
It doesn’t have to be painful. In the long run you will be healthier, live longer, and have better self-esteem because you have taken your life in hand and made changes a little at a time. Try creating a budget and sticking to it. Put the difference in a vacation account and a year from now you will surprise yourself when you see how much you can save by not over-shopping, eating veggies and fruit, and avoiding shopping when you’re hungry. Good luck with your resolutions for 2014. This website: prepare homemade goodies. There are lots of healthy suggestions on this website: www.choosemyplate.gov to get you started.
Other resolutions to turn your life into a positive spin are, for one, doing some volunteer work in your community. Taking the focus off of your own issues and helping others to manage theirs is a blessing that keeps on giving. Look into finishing your degree or working towards a better job. It’s completely possible to be a better person by making sure you’re taking care of yourself and keeping a bright outlook on meeting goals and living a fuller life. If you’re doing all of this and are still smoking, understand that part of the success package is cutting back on alcohol consumption and quitting smoking. A change has to happen on all levels of your life. If you don’t build a sturdy foundation, all your resolutions will come falling down around you. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just take baby steps, one day at a time, and you will see that you can accomplish more than you ever thought was possible. Happy 2014!