If you want to get healthy in the new year, Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Somer, author of "Eat Your Way to Sexy," wants to help. She stopped by to share easy habits we can all start today.
The 7 Best (and Mostly Painless) Healthy Habits:
1. Bring food with you: Vow to never leave the house (when you will be gone for more than 2 hours) without a food stash. We live in what is called a “toxic food environment.” Calorific junk is everywhere, while broccoli is slim pickings. Just as you would put on a coat in the winter before leaving the house, also have a healthy food stash, such as baby carrots, string cheese, an apple, a tub of yogurt, etc, so that you eat healthfully when you’re comfortably hungry and are less likely to fall victim to the drive thru. This is one of the two most successful diet tips I’ve found for helping clients lose weight and eat better.
2. Stock the kitchen: The second tip I’ve found to work really well for sticking with your diet resolutions is to toss the junk and restock the kitchen. Toss the chips, Poptarts, CheeseWiz, and other junk. Remind yourself that your body deserves better than that! You deserve to be healthy, with lots of energy, in a good mood and sound mind. You deserve to feel great, not just OK. Then restock the kitchen with healthy foods like beans, whole grain past, frozen and fresh veggies, nuts, etc. If all you and your family have to choose from is healthy foods, you are automatically well on your way to losing weight and feeling better.
3. Eat the Rainbow: Nutrition is not a black-and-white science. However, there is one diet advice that is stamped in concrete. Thousands of studies spanning decades of research repeatedly and consistently show that people who eat the most colorful fruits and vegetables are the ones who have the easiest time managing their waistlines, have the lowest risk for all diseases from heart disease to dementia, are the happiest, and live the longest. Have a plan to include X number of colorful fruits/veggies every day in your diet. Not potatoes, not head lettuce, but really colorful stuff, from asparagus to spinach. The more you include, the better you’ll be.
4. Personalize Your Supplements. One of the trends in 2018 is taking a more personalized approach to nutrition. One size does not fit all and that is especially true when it comes to supplements. You need a plan tailored to you, one that stacks the deck in favor of living long, healthy, and vital. That program must take into account your age, gender, health status, stress levels, medication use, sleep habits, mood. exercise regime, and more. Don’t panic. There are companies now that offer that service.
For example, Vitamin Packs helps you take the guess work out of choosing a supplement just right for you. This nutrition subscription service takes your answers to an in-depth questionnaire and, using the latest technology, called Sage, creates a personalized approach to your unique health status and goals for wellness based on a thorough review of the research. From your age and gender to your lifestyle habits, health conditions, stress level, and mood, all aspects of your unique needs are considered in formulating a supplement program. Combine this state-of-the-art supplement plan with a healthy lifestyle and you will help slow, stop, and perhaps even reverse the aging process!
5. Be Mindful. Mindfulness is another trend this year and it fits perfectly into your diet resolutions. Every time you mindlessly pop a Hershey’s Kiss in your mouth at the bank or when walking by a co-worker’s desk or taste test a mouthful of mashed potatoes while cooking you are adding about 25 calories to your day. Eliminate four mindless bites every day and you’ll lose about a pound every month. Chew sugarless gum, drink water, or brush your teeth and floss to keep your hands busy and away from the food.
6. Be Honest: All of us glorify the good parts of our diets and downplay the bad. We underestimate our calorie intake by up to 700 calories a day and think we eat far more colorful fruits and vegetables than we do. Nine out of 10 Americans say they think they eat pretty well. All of them are delusional. Studies show that 99 out of 100 of us don’t even meet minimum standards of a balanced diet. Have a plan that once a week or once every two weeks you write down everything you eat for one day, including when and the amounts. Get out the measuring spoons and cups and see if that 1 cup serving of cooked carrots is really 1 cup or closer to ½ cup. Or that the serving of pasta is really closer to 1 cup, not 3 cups.
7. Strap It On: Invest in a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day. Walk up the escalator, rather than stand on it. Walk while talking on the phone. Get up every hour and walk for 5 minutes. Walk while talking on the phone. You might be able to lose weight on a diet alone, but the only way to keep the weight off is to move, move, move.