Monthly Archives: December 2015

How to make your New Year’s resolutions last

New Year List

As the New Year approaches, many of us naturally begin to think about what we would like to do differently next year.

I’ve often waited until December 31st, or even January 1st (and maybe even the 2nd!)—to jot down my New Year’s goals. From experience, waiting that long can often lead to disaster for falling through as the year moves forward. I realize now how important it is to take time to shift your mindset before the clock turns to the first of a new year.

And that’s what this article is about: My top three tips for setting your 2016 healthy New Year’s goals and to ultimately help you keep them!

Number 1: Take Time to Review 2015

Before jumping headlong into 2016, take a moment to reflect on 2015. First, celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Identifying what you did well helps to help cultivate self-trust which is key as you begin to work on your goals for next year.

Secondly, acknowledge areas of improvement. This step can help determine where you may need to shore up your resources to create a solid foundation to reach your goals in 2016. So, what went well this year for your health? Why did it go well? Where was there room for improvement? What would you do differently? Take time to think through these questions. Write everything down and don’t edit yourself.

Number 2: The Art of Setting GoalsResolutions

Let’s get real: resolutions get a bad rap! But really, what better time is there to reset than the start of a new year with a full fresh 365 days? The trick is not to fall into the vague resolution setting trap and get bogged down with guilt or get wistful about goals unmet.

It’s time to get S.M.A.R.T. with our goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. This is the framework you will use to ground your resolutions and ultimately lead to your success in 2016.

Write down all of your health goals. Again, do not edit yourself. Once you have your list, let it sit for at least an hour. Overnight is even better! When you come back to it, pick your top five goals in order of priority with number one being your first priority. After, put your top five list into the S.M.A.R.T. framework.

You won’t initiate all five of your goals on January 1. Instead you’ll focus on your first priority only and when you’ve reached that goal, you’ll move to your second goal and so on.

Don’t throw your original long list away though! You may blaze through your top five before December 31, 2016. If that happens, return to that original list and identify your next five priorities to put into the S.M.A.R.T.  framework and keep going! The process of personal improvement is never done!

Number 3: What’s in It for You?

Passion and excitement are an important part of the journey so be sure that your goals light your fire but you will need more than that to carry you through those cold, damp days of February when the thought of waking up at 5 a.m. to work out is very unappealing.

One way to create sustained desire to reach your goals is to identify the benefits. For example, will losing weight increase your energy to allow you to be more active with your children? For your top 2016 health goal, identify at least three benefits you will gain for following through on your resolution.

The start of a New Year is full of possibilities! Take the time now to think about what you would like to accomplish and how you will carry through that feeling of potential from day one to day 365.

What are your 2016 health goals? What was your number one health success in 2015?

Have a Happy New Year!

NY 2016

 

 

 

Adapted from an article by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Getting Enough Zzz’s

sleep-habits

Most people know to get enough sleep, but during this time of the year, busy lifestyles, erratic work schedules, and even new children (and pets) can keep you from getting the sleep you need. Current research now shows a connection between having good nutrition (and health) and sleep. So the question is … do you get enough?

‘Enough’ can be described in different ways, but usually describes anything more than six hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation may also not be intentional — it could be related to disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. New studies have emerged that bridge the connection between health/wellness and sleep.

Evidence linking sleep deprivation to weight gain was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showing the “relationship between partial sleep deprivation and excess fat make [sleep] a factor of interest in body weight regulation, particularly in weight loss.” Another study showed a possible link between type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and sleep disruptions/short sleep. Appropriate sleep habits may open the door to the prevention and treatment of these conditions.

Sleep disturbances may also affect the hormonal regulation in the body, resulting in increased appetite and a decrease in physical activity. This may lead to poor choices the next day, such as overeating or skipping our workout.

The main message from these studies is to get adequate sleep (more than six hours per night for adults). Though the science is somewhat unclear at this time, one thing remains true — lack of sleep is definitely linked to reduced nutritional health.

Worried about how to get enough sleep? Set a routine. Bedtime routines should always include a few minutes of Reading in Beddowntime such as reading a book, chatting with your family, journaling about the day, or meditation. Experiment with soothing chamomile tea or lavender essential oils, as they have been shown as effective sleep aids. As hard as it might be, keep the phone and texting out of bed; and avoid exercise, television, and the internet shortly before bedtime.

Getting the sleep you need not only can help you focus throughout the day, but also optimize your body for a healthy eating regimen and lifestyle. So rest up and happy eating!
Adapted from an article by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Zach Breeding, MS, RDN, LDN.

Healthful Holiday Eating

Worried that enjoying a traditional holiday meal and party foods with family and friends will destroy healthful food Holiday Wreathhabits you’ve been practicing all year? The good news is any foods, even beloved holiday dishes, can fit into a healthful eating plan with practice and planning.

Following some of these tips will help you plan for the rest of this holiday season. For starters, trying to lose weight during the holidays may be a self-defeating goal. Instead of trying to shed pounds, strive to maintain your current weight.

  1. Do not skip meals. In preparation for a big holiday party or feast, do not skip meals throughout the day. This can result in overeating later. Start your day off with a normal breakfast to get your metabolism going.
  2. Portion control. Using a smaller plate is a strategy that allows you to put less food on your plate. Plate sizes have been increasing over the years, and this can make your meal less visually appealing. Using smaller plates will make your brain satisfied with the amount of food on it.
  3. Increase leafy greens and veggies. Start by filling your plate with vegetables and salad before going to the entrees and desserts. Research shows eating a salad before your meal can help you eat fewer calories overall.
  4. Slow down! Eat slowly and savor every bite, and before you go back for seconds, wait 10 minutes to see if you really are still hungry. Taking a walk after dinner can also be a good idea to improve digestion, get fresh air, and decide whether or not we want that 2nd helping!
  5. Sit down. Research has shown that designating one or two places in the home and at work for meals is beneficial in practicing mindful eating, and can help us tHoliday Drinkso achieve our weight loss goals. Even if we aren’t at our home during the holidays, we can still sit down at a table with your plate and enjoy.
  6. Remember, conversation is calorie-free, and you may eat less if you settle into the festivities instead of heading straight to the buffet.
  7. Smart drink choices. Some alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks can really rack up the calories during holiday events. Egg nog, apple cider, and hot chocolate are some festive drinks that can unknowingly increase our intake.

 

You can try just a few of these strategies, and avoid holiday weight gain while still enjoying friends, family and the holiday feast!

* Adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Season’s Eatings: Try these 5 different foods right now!

The sun is setting sooner, the nights are getting cooler and wool socks are starting to sound like a cozy idea. This is the perfect time to celebrate the seasonal gems of autumn and winter by heading to your local market and filling your basket with these produce picks! When we can buy fruits and veggies year-round, we tend to forget they do have a season. Try these 5 different foods right now, as they are perfectly in season!

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes charge ahead of white potatoes in terms of fiber and vitamins A and C.  One mSweet Potatoedium baked sweet potato contains 4g of fiber, which is more than a packet of instant oatmeal! This can help with keeping us feeling full, and to help to stabilize our blood sugar. Their mellow, sweet taste works in all kinds of recipes. Slice into thin “coins” and toss with canola or olive oil before roasting. Sweet potato puree can also be used in foods like macaroni and cheese, oatmeal and brownies.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a lower-calorie and gluten-free alternative to grain-based pasta. Cut it in half to reveal a pocket of seeds; scoop those out and pop the two halves into the microwave or oven and cook until tender. Scrape a fork into the flesh and spaghetti-like strands appear! Voilà! Toss with pesto or fresh tomato sauce for a quick veggie side dish, or a lean meat tomato sauce for a main dish.

Pears

Pears are most delicious in the fall and early winter. Pears are unique in that they do not ripen on the tree but will Pearripen at room temperature after they’re picked. How do you know when they are ready to eat? Check the neck! If the fruit near the stem gives to a little pressure, it is ripe. Try pears on the grill, tucked into a panini, pureed into soup or a smoothie, or simply sliced with cheese and nuts. If you eat the peel too, one medium pear has 6 grams of fiber – that’s 20 percent of the daily recommendation!

Clementines

Clementines are an adorable winter citrus packed with vitamin C and fiber. They also contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium for strong bones and good muscle function. These are easy to peel and fun to eat, making them perfect for snack. You can also toss the sections into salads to make greens more appealing.

Beets

Beets are edible from their leafy greens down to the bulbous root. The leaves are similar to spinach and are delicious sautéed. The grocery store most likely will carry red beets; although there are golden varieties as well. The red color in beets is causedBeet by a phytochemical called betanin, making beet juice a natural alternative to red food coloring. Beets are rich in naturally occurring nitrates and may help to support healthy blood pressure. Roasting or steaming beets whole takes the fuss out of peeling — the skin easily slides off. They’re also delicious raw, shredded and tossed in salads or thinly sliced and baked into chips.

 

*Article adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.