I like to think of resolutions more in terms of goals that can be achieved throughout the month/year/decade rather than a strict new regime that needs to start in January and last forever. The truth of the matter is that most people are unable to keep to resolutions for more than a few weeks into January. If we are ready to improve our health, our careers and our creativity then it is important to set-up for success and create goals for the long term.
Looking at health and wellness goals for this fresh, new start why not begin with something attainable? Here are 5 suggestions to ease into improving diet and lifestyle for 2016:
- Start off with a sugar-free diet for 3 weeks. Most of us indulge over the holiday season and quite frankly are ready for this challenge. Excess sugar is stored away as fat in the body and can lead to feeling sluggish, tired, excess gas and bloating and water retention. It really only takes about 2-3 days of sugar-free eating to lose the sugar cravings and a noticeable spike in energy and mental clarity often takes place. If eating sugar-free (which means no white sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, alcohol and low fruits) is too much of a challenge, break it down into no refined sugar or no alcohol. Your body will thank you!
- Get back to exercise twice per week. It can be a real challenge to start-up with an exercise program initially, especially if you are lacking energy (hint: try the sugar-free challenge first, then you may crave adding in some exercise). Don’t over-do it at the start, you should feel recharged after a workout, not needing a nap. A mixture of cardio and weights in intervals has proven to be the most effective way to lean down and increase muscle mass. Consider personal training, joining exercise classes or just get outside and walk, hike or snowshoe.
- Add in some greens. There is almost nothing better than a green smoothie or Green’s drink to improve energy and metabolism. Loaded with B-vitamins and minerals it is the perfect pick-me-up for that afternoon fatigue that many people feel after lunch. Our favourite Greens Powder is available at Vitalia, or try making your own smoothie.
- Try fermented foods. The long list of health benefits of probiotics is a whole other topic, try adding in either probiotic capsules or foods rich in probiotics such as kefir, sauerkraut or home-made fermented vegetables (easier than you think!). This can help improve energy, flatten bloated tummies and reduce excess gas and even improve immune function.
- Start some basic supplements. A good quality B-Complex can boost energy, improve metabolism and help correct hormone imbalances. Omega 3s have a multitude of functions including decreasing inflammation, reducing cholesterol, improving mood and brain function as well as contributing to eye health. Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin but a steroid that acts like a hormone in the body. People with adequate levels of Vitamin D are less likely to develop auto-immune diseases, seasonal depression nor have prolonged or reoccurring illnesses. Always buy supplements from a good-quality health store or though your naturopathic doctor as supplements can have additives and contain less of the active ingredients than reported unless there is third-party testing.
Dr. Jennifer Luis B.Sc., B.Ed., ND