OREGON, USA — 2023 is here and many use the start of a new year to jump-start a healthier lifestyle. Vowing to exercise more, eat healthier and to lose weight are the top three New Year’s resolution, but how do we get there and make is sustainable?
Wellness consultant Allie Henderson takes us through some steps to get you started and on your way to reaching your health and fitness goals.
“Some of us go out and we look for these bad diets or crazy workout plans; looking for something new,” Henderson said.
“And it's not new, it's been the same for years.”
Every January we see folks flocking to the gym, grabbing on to the latest trends, but Henderson says to start simple with the basic elements: healthy foods and exercise.
Here are her tips to get started and where to focus:
- Take an inventory of your lifestyle: where are you at in healthy eating and exercise? What do you need to work on most?
“We know if we haven't been working out at all, we know if we're eating a little too much processed foods, maybe eating out too much and things like that and so don't worry so much about what everyone else around you is doing,” Henderson said.
“Find those areas and then you can look a little bit more specific.”
- Focus on nutrient-dense foods and beverages, limit those higher in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium, and stay within calorie limits, according to the USDA’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”
Adult females need anywhere from 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day and adult males need anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day.
“The first thing is to ditch the diet. I know that sounds a little counterintuitive, but we just want to pick a sustainable and healthy way to eat for the rest of our lives and so find an eating pattern that works for you,” Henderson said.
- Include a variety of foods in your diet and keep portion size in mind. Complex carbohydrates: whole grains high in fiber. Fruits and vegetables. Lean protein sources and plant-based fats, like nuts and avocados.
- Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.
- Pay attention to your eating habits and take time to enjoy your meal
“That means when you're eating to remove all distractions and really focus on tasting your food, putting your fork down, chewing each bite completely and swallowing before you take the next bite,” Henderson said.
“Listening to your body to tell you when it's actually hungry and when it's full. These are just very simple things that are often forgotten but can go a long way in terms of our health.”
- When it comes to exercise remember it’s all about getting your body moving.
Each week, adults need 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) of physical activity a week. That’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week, according to the CDC.
That physical activity looks different to every individual. You can spread that activity out during the week and break it up into smaller chunks each day.
“Find an activity that you enjoy. Exercise doesn't have to be going to the gym or just going outside on a run. You know it can look like things of getting out and dancing, setting up obstacle courses with your kids and playing with them, anything that's going to get your heart rate up counts as exercise,” Henderson said.
“And so find an activity that you enjoy and then remember that it doesn't necessarily have to all be at once.”
- To help you stick to your exercise commitment make a plan and find a way to stay accountable.
“Look at your week and figure out you know these are the days and times I can exercise. Put it in your calendar and figure out what activity you're going to do,” Henderson said.
“And back to accountability, find someone who can join you and ask them, because then it's going to be much more likely that you actually do it.”