“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” Benjamin Franklin.  

If you polled a room filled with people and asked them to share their New Year’s resolution, you’d find an overwhelming response would be to be healthier in the new year. You may ask yourself, but how do I do it and why is it important?  

Consider consulting a physician 

AdvoCare® considers it is very important for you to visit with your healthcare professional before beginning any regimen to ensure it is right for you.  The following will assist you in formulating a plan for a healthier lifestyle. 

Set your intentions 

  • Create a plan: Specifically, a meal plan!  Meal planning is great for individuals who have a difficult time with portion control.  Pre-planning and preparing your meals allows for better management of portion control and supports appropriate caloric consumption. This is especially convenient for managing servings when snacking, which can often be the culprit of consuming excess calories. 
  • Set Goals: Goals must be SMART! 
    • Specific: A specific goal has a much better chance at success than a general goal. To set a specific goal, you must answer the 4 W’s:  
      • Who is the goal for?
      • What do I want to accomplish? 
      • When do I want to start and how long is it going to realistically take? 
      • Why do I want to accomplish this goal? How does it benefit me long term?  
    • Measurable: How will you measure your milestones/success? 
    • Actionable: The goal should stretch and challenge you, but still but be achievable. 
    • Realistic: The goal should be something that is attainable. 
    • Time bound: Create a deadline and stick to it. 
  • Enlist the help of friends/family: Share your intentions with your friends and family. They will help to be your encouragement on the tough days and your cheerleaders on the days when you experience a small win. 

Eat a healthy diet 

Once you have set your intentions, it is important to start a healthy eating routine by incorporating a balanced diet.  A balanced diet should include lean sources of protein, plentiful amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables and limited quantities of processed foods and added sugar. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 1 in 10 adults consume an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. When you eat fruits and vegetables in season, they usually taste better and you get more of the nutrients you need.  Additionally, most fruits and vegetables are available at a lower price point during their peak season. 

Fruits and vegetables have phytochemicals, specific nutrients that the body needs that are only available in plants. Phytochemicals help support healthy body functions.  

  • Broccoli has about 3 grams of fiber per serving which is great for digestive health. It also has beneficial antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin which are great for eye health. 
  • Cabbage is rich in essential vitamins like Vitamin B5, B6 and B1. Vitamins are considered essential when they are required for normal daily functions and must be obtained from outside sources because the body is unable to make them itself. 
  • Collard Greens contain about 4 grams of fiber per serving. Collard greens are an amazing source of Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. 
  • Spinach provides more potassium compared to bananas. It is also a good source of plant-based iron. 
  • Strawberries are rich in iron, Vitamin K and folic acid. They are also a prime source of antioxidants that help support cardiovascular health. 
  • Cherries are a ‘sweet’ source of fiber. They also have antioxidants like quercetin, anthocyannins and carotenoids.  Cherries have gained popularity for being a heart healthy food choice. 
  • Melons are a low-calorie option that offer a host of antioxidants like Vitamin A, Vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene is another heart healthy antioxidant that helps ward off free radicals by neutralizing them in the cell. 

Add exercise to your routine 

The National Weight Control Registry published data suggesting that people who exercise 45-60 minutes a day are more apt to maintain weight loss.  

Physical activity especially high intensity workouts and weight lifting can also help rev up your metabolism. High intensity workouts burn more calories but they also have the added benefit of helping you burn more calories even after you are finished with your workout. This phenomenon is due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC.  

Strength training and conditioning help to speed up your resting metabolic rate by increasing your muscle mass. Some examples of strength training include Pilates, yoga, hand weights or weight machines and body weight exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the average person gets at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity per week.  

Practice self-care: get sleep and stress less 

One of the best ways to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle is by taking time to rest and reset. It may be easier said than done, but did you know that catching up on some much-needed sleep may help your metabolism? According to the CDC, adequate sleep equates to approximately 7 to 9 hours per night. Interestingly, about one third of Americans complain that they do not get enough sleep. Lack of sleep may negatively influence your weight loss journey, energy levels and mood. Sleep allows your brain to consolidate memories (store long term) and helps your body prepare for the upcoming day. 

Experiencing daily stress is completely normal. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to unwanted effects in our body, such as elevated levels of cortisol. Cortisol is one of our body’s key stress hormones involved in the flight or fight response. Stress and inadequate sleep can affect the circadian cycle of cortisol production. Elevated levels of cortisol can lead to changes in blood pressure, metabolism as well as altered sleep patterns. Give yourself permission to have quiet time. Set a calming atmosphere with aromatherapy oils like lemon, lavender, rose and/or eucalyptus. Studies have shown extended use of aromatherapy can alleviate stress and improve sleep quality

Looking for a support system to help build these habits in the New Year? The 24-Day JumpStart® provides all the tools you need to focus on a healthy diet, supplementation to fill in nutritional gaps, stress and sleep management, and working to incorporate exercise.* 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  These products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

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