New Year’s Resolutions – Why not sticking to them is sabotaging our health…
Happy New Year! January is a wonderful time to reassess our health care goals, and use the motivation of starting 2017 to make healthy nutritional choices and exercise regularly. The fitness centers fill and the weight loss industry thrives, for maybe three months? So how can we set ourselves up for long-lasting changes? What are some strategies that will help you look and feel better, and transform those lifestyle changes into daily habits?
A regime of regular exercise accompanied by a wholesome diet will impact your life in a variety of ways. These are some of the many benefits I’ve seen in patients, and myself:
• Improved general well-being
• Less sugar cravings, choosing more nutrient dense foods and healthier snacks.
• Healthy weight loss. Generally losing 1-2 pounds per week is a realistic goal.
• Measurable strength and endurance gains.
• Less irritability, especially in the face of two young children!
• More energy throughout the day, which means no longer needing that afternoon coffee, or carbohydrate snack.
• Improved sleep quality and duration, which, in turn, also helps boost our energy levels.
• Pride on accomplishing the health care goals you set out to achieve (pat yourself on the back!)
So why is it that according to a poll from Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, almost two-thirds of Canadians tried losing weight in the past 5 years, but the vast majority failed to keep it off?
It is often that we are setting unattainable, unrealistic goals, and setting ourselves up for failure. Or maybe we’re doing too much too fast. And when that doesn’t work out, we get down on ourselves, and reach for that glass of wine and box of chocolates.
Use the energy from the start of a new year to set specific goals. With a realistic, individualized plan, you can gradually incorporate healthy choices as part of your lifestyle, not just as an all-or-nothing fad. I’ve listed a few strategies to achieve your desired results and maintain your optimal health:
• Seek a health professional such as a Naturopathic Doctor, to tailor a nutrition and exercise program to your individual needs.
• Eat a variety of healthy foods you like and plan your meals.
• Partner up with a friend to exercise.
• Try new ways to move! Snow-shoeing at night, take those ski lessons, explore North Shore trails, try a new class like Barre fitness and yoga or go dancing!
• See a Naturopathic Doctor to discuss potential hormone imbalances and updated lab testing. Dysregulation of hormones (thyroid and cortisol) may cause a reduction in metabolism, and impede your progress.
• Recipe swap healthy, yummy recipes with friends. The internet is full of delicious recipes, check out www.ohsheglows.com!
• If you find yourself struggling one day or week, be gentle with yourself and ease back in to your routine.
• Visualize and believe you can live the healthy life you desire!
Dr. Sarah Wulkan, ND