In the New Year, some will make several resolutions, some will make none, and most will not keep their resolve past March. However, if you are going to make just one resolution to support good health in 2017, resolve to eat better. There’s just no getting around it, good nutrition is key to long-term wellness. Many chronic diseases are preventable and related to nutrition. And, while you are at it, if the word diet implies deprivation to you, and the word willpower causes you stress, resolve to eliminate those words from your vocabulary. If your goal is simply to improve your health, or you chose a loftier goal to achieve and maintain your ideal weight, replace diet and willpower with one meaningful and important word, commitment, as in commitment to a healthier lifestyle and all that implies.
Most of us understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods, and that some amount of daily exercise helps maintain health. Yet, many us struggle to meet our goals. So yes, getting from Point A–setting a goal–to Point B– achieving that goal–takes commitment. The only way to reach your goals is through your own accountability. According to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, it’s adherence to healthy behaviors that supports both long-term health and ideal weight. True commitment to behavior modifications ensures that you follow through on your intentions. Further, focusing on consistency in small daily actions can help you to reach your behavioral goals.
Setting short-term unreachable goals is a recipe for frustration and failure. The key to long-term success is to set small achievable goals, reward yourself when you reach them, and then set new goals to help you reach the next level. If you choose to eat healthier, be specific about your intentions and be mindful about meal planning. Rather than set a general goal to consume more fruits and veggies, simplify by adding a piece of fruit to your morning meal, having a salad for lunch and filling half of your dinner plate with a variety of vegetables each night. If you are not a fan of veggies, try roasting them with a bit of olive oil and some spices and you may be pleasantly surprised, as roasting caramelizes the veggies and brings out their natural sweetness.
Simple nutritional changes that support overall health could include:
- Eat less sugar. Overconsumption of sugar is behind the rise of obesity, diabetes, type 2, cardiovascular disease and impaired cognitive function. Eliminate or at least reduce consumption of liquid sugar, such as soda and fruit juice. Watch for hidden sugars in processed foods, flavored yogurts and condiments.
- Whether you are hungry or craving something salty or sweet, most people will eat whatever is in front of them, whether healthy or unhealthy. Fill your fridge and pantry with healthy food and snacks to reduce temptation and help you stay on track.
- Pay attention to nutritious foods that provide energy, including almonds, eggs, and dark leafy greens, and eliminate unhealthy foods that drain your energy, such as sugary foods and refined carbohydrates.
- Eat less meat. Start by making meatless meals one or two nights each week. Try vegetarian chili or whole wheat tortillas filled with beans, avocado and veggies. Studies show that a plant-based diet is ideal for preventing and reversing disease.
- Increase your fiber intake, not only by consuming more fruits and vegetables, but by adding some interesting whole grains such as quinoa, bulgur or farrow.
- Don’t forget about healthy fats. Beware of processed low-fat foods that are high in sugar content and avoid processed oils high in omega-6 fats. Avocados, olive oil, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds are all good sources of healthy fats, as well as fiber.
- Focus on quality and eat real food. Real food comes without packaging and additional ingredients, which are often artificial and health damaging. If you are worried about expenses, purchasing real food doesn’t need to break the budget. Shop local sales and farmer’s markets when possible. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season, and equally nutritious frozen products out of season.
- Add in some fermented foods to keep your intestinal system functioning optimally. Foods like sauerkraut, pickles, plain yogurt and kimchi are all readily available. Fermented foods help to restore and support the intestinal microbiome, which aids good digestion and elimination.
- Drink more non-caloric beverages, such as water or unsweetened tea. Often, hunger can be confused with thirst. Rather than conform to the eight glasses of water a day rule, just be sure to drink enough water to satisfy your thirst, especially during exercise.
- Don’t forget about vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Both macro and micronutrients are necessary for peak function. A high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement can help to support optimal health.
Healthy nutrition is not a fad or a diet, it’s a commitment that can lead to a longer, healthier lifespan. If you are looking to lose weight while improving your nutrition, remember weight loss is a long and steady process. When you eat healthy foods most the time, and get some exercise that you enjoy at least three times each week, you may find that you lose weight naturally. Consistency is the key that opens the door to the greatest wellness benefits.
Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements to help support your improved nutritional goals and optimal function:
Sweet Defense™ by Enzymatic Therapy – Along with a healthy diet and exercise, Sweet Defense™ has been shown to help reduce sugar cravings and provide the necessary nutrients for blood glucose, carbohydrate and energy metabolism. Gluten, soy, sugar and dairy free.
PGX® Daily by Bioclinic Naturals – PGX® is a clinically studied polysaccharide complex that provides viscous soluble fiber associated with increased satiety and reduced appetite. PGX® helps to lower the glycemic index of meals, contributing to healthy glucose metabolism. Gluten, dairy and yeast free.
MetaFiber® by Metagenics – MetaFiber® provides a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers to support the structural integrity of the intestinal wall, healthy intestinal transit time, and bowel regularity. Non-GMO, vegetarian formulation.
New Greens The Original by Iagen Naturals – This complete superfood drink mix provides 10+ portions of fruits and vegetables per serving. Synergistic ingredients include digestive enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants, detoxifying herbs and fiber. Natural mint flavor, stevia sweetened.
Greens First Berry Pro by Greens First – This proprietary powdered drink formula contains 54 different super foods, extracts and concentrates, and provides antioxidants, probiotics, soluble fiber, natural flavonoids and 15+ portions of fruits and vegetables per serving. Produced without solvents at low temperature to preserve nutrient content. Naturally fruit flavored. Gluten, soy, dairy, egg free, Non-GMO formulation.
10 High-Fat Foods That Are Actually Super Healthy. https://authoritynutrition.com/10-super-healthy-high-fat-foods/
The 9 Best Fermented Foods for Your Gut. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/the-9-best-fermented-foods-for-your-gut/
12 Baby Steps to Optimal Nutrition. https://authoritynutrition.com/12-baby-steps-optimal-nutrition/
10 Small Diet Changes to Start Making Now. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/11/16/10-small-diet-changes-to-start-making-now