The new year just began, and along with it many new diets were started, gym memberships bought, and goals and resolutions set, but some of these resolutions may be unrealistic and difficult to stick to. Most people find it easier to work on forming one or two healthy habits at a time, which can help you stick to them long-term. Let’s take a look at a few simple health goals for the new year that you may want to try.
There are so many different diets out there, with each having their own set of rules, and pros and cons. However, you may find it easier to just try eating “clean”, which means cutting out processed foods and eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish and minimally processed foods like almond butter. You can tailor a diet like this to fit your needs, you can cut out things like grains, dairy, added sugars, or you can eat all of these things but keep them in moderation and ensure they are organic and nutrient-dense. Strict diets like keto and Paleo work great for some people, but everyone is different and there is no one-size-fits-all way of eating. Always listen to your body and pay attention to how different foods make you feel, and make adjustments when necessary.
You can start by cutting out processed foods like ice cream, frozen meals, chips, pizza, candy, etc. and incorporating more organic fresh or cooked vegetables and fresh fruits, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, and healthy fats like organic coconut oil and olive oil. There are some quality chips and frozen meals available, with some being Paleo compliant, but reading the ingredient label on every packaged item you eat is a good habit to get into. When reading ingredient labels look for short lists and ingredients you recognize. The number of food additives the average person is exposed to each week is too long to accurately list, and the long-term health affects of many of them are still unknown, so it’s best to stick to all-natural foods and ingredients.
Sedentary lifestyles are extremely common in most of the United States and Europe, and is believed to contribute to the development of some health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and possible some cancers. Exercise is so important to our overall health, and it can often help improve mood, cognitive function, heart health, circulation, etc. when done consistently. This does not mean you have to take a trip to the gym every day, because any bit of movement can help. For some people this may mean a walk outside or on a treadmill, riding a bicycle, lifting weights, following a home-workout video, or working out at the gym. You should aim for roughly thirty minutes of physical activity each day. If you are new to exercising, it’s a good idea to start slow and only do what you can, and slowly increase the amount of time you are active.
Stress and Sleep
Many people deal with stress on a daily basis, and this chronic stress can contribute to the development of some serious health conditions like heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, and emotional disorders like anxiety and depression. Sleep issues like insomnia and sleep apnea are also common problems that can contribute to the development of many of the same conditions that chronic stress contributes to. Stress can exacerbate sleep issues like insomnia, while sleep deprivation can make stress worse. So, this cycle of being stressed out and having trouble sleeping, then becoming more stressed due to poor-quality sleep and/or not enough sleep can really take a toll on the body.
Practicing stress-reducing techniques like meditation, yoga, a hot bath, exercise, or something else that helps you relieve stress may help reduce the negative effects stress can have on the body. Getting enough quality sleep each night is also very important, and adults should aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. Taking a supplement like Pantothenic Acid Complex may help give your body the nutrients it needs to better deal with stress, and may help regulate sleep habits.
This could be the year you reach your goals, but making them achievable can greatly increase your chances of sticking with them. Having a few simple health goals for the new year like forming a new habit each week, replacing a processed food with a healthy food in your diet every few days, or incorporating more relaxation into your daily life can all help to add up to better health this year. Let this be the beginning of a new and healthier decade!