Healthy Resolutions: Meal Prep & Exercise

How to Make Healthy New Year Resolutions

Many people dread making a New Year Resolution. There are statistics that show only 9.2% of people report actually achieving their resolutions. Many people get easily frustrated with themselves if they don’t fulfill the goals they set, and even if they don’t see immediate results from their efforts.

The type of resolution you make can set you up for failure. Instead, create a purposeful and reachable resolution that gives yourself short and long term achievement while giving yourself some grace along your journey.

Here are some tips on resolutions to avoid and how to set yourself up for success:

  • Avoid: Making the general statement, “I want to eat healthier”, but not knowing what that means or how that looks. For success: Review your eating habits, or talk to a Registered Dietitian or your doctor to make a plan. Start slow with one or two habits you can change to move toward a healthier way of eating that will stay for the long term. Examples: Limit soda to one can a day (if you typically have multiple), try adding a fruit or vegetable to each meal, or set a goal to eat three whole grain foods a day.
  • Avoid: Having a vague exercise goal. For success: Make a choice of where you can start on a path of daily exercise and work toward a long-term goal. If you currently do not exercise regularly, start slow. Make your first goal to exercise 2-3 times a week and the work up to 5-7 times a week. Start with a small workout first and then add on minutes. Make sure to find something that is fun, and choose a variety of exercises. Go for walks (with a friend or your dog), join a gym, try a free fitness app on your phone, or take up a new sport like golf or swimming. The goal is to get moving and the more you start to feel better, the more you will want to keep going!
  • Avoid: Making too many resolutions that you won’t be able to keep. For success: Remember that health is a year-round, long-term journey. Start with small obtainable goals or habits to change and as those become a normal part of life, then you can add more goals.

Remember, if you encounter a setback, don’t stop working toward your goal. Make a fresh start the next day and keep reaching for your goals!

Stress prevention through nutrition and exercise

Managing Stress with Nutrition

Everyone has some kind of stress in their life, whether that be with your relationships, careers, finances or just day to day tasks that need to be completed. During these times of stress, it may feel nice for a moment to reach for the candy, TV remote or even alcohol but all of these are temporary escapes. To truly manage your stress in a healthy way, it takes a change in your lifestyle. A good diet is key to reducing stress and feeling better in your body.

 According to Harvard Health Publishing, short term stress can actually slow or stop your appetite, this is caused by your brain releasing corticotrophin hormone and your kidneys releasing epinephrine. The opposite is true if the stress is long term; if the stress persists, then your adrenal glands release cortisol which can increase your appetite. Research has shown that people tend to go for the more fatty and sugary foods during this time because of the perceived effects that these “comfort foods” have on them. Along with a poor diet during times of stress, many other factors may play a part in increased weight gain such as loss of sleep, less exercise and more consumption of alcohol. Along with the preexisting stress that is causing all of this to happen, these factors can also add to the stress that a person is dealing with and then a bad cycle forms. To reduce the impacts of stress, it is important to learn how to deal with stress.

6 helpful tips that can help you manage stress and keep it from getting out of control:

  • Eat and exercise regularly
  • Get healthy fats, such as from flaxseeds, walnuts and fish oils.
  • Eat your vegetables
  • Add high fiber foods such as oatmeal, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables.
  • Try to get more sleep instead of drinking caffeine
  • Buy healthier snacks in case you do feel like stress eating

Along with these healthy lifestyle tips, these foods have been shown to help reduce stress:

  • Vitamin C such as oranges and other citrus fruits have been shown to lower cortisol levels.
  • Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables have been shown to help increase serotonin levels and stabilize blood pressure.
  • Magnesium such as spinach, leafy greens, salmon and soybeans can help improve sleep quality.
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids such as fatty fish (salmon and tuna), nuts and seeds (flaxseeds, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds) can help reduce stress hormones.
  • Herbal teas have been shown to have calming effects and decrease stress inducing insomnia, anxiety and anger.

A healthy balanced diet is the first step in trying to manage your crazy stressful life because what you put into your body effects how it functions and how you feel. A healthy lifestyle can not only help you manage your stress but also live a fuller happier life.

Sources

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/how-stress-can-make-us-overeat

https://exploreim.ucla.edu/nutrition/eat-right-drink-well-stress-less-stress-reducing-foods-herbal-supplements-and-teas/

https://campushealth.unc.edu/health-topics/nutrition/nutrition-and-stress