By our Nutrition Consultant: Sandra Porter Leon, MS RDN
Here we are, nearing the end of January, and for many of us, our New Year’s Resolutions are already in the rearview mirror. Despite our best efforts, the notions that seemed so energizing in December now seem unrealistic. If you were hoping to eat healthier and even shed a few pounds in the new year, trying the ‘non-resolution’ approach – where you drop the unattainable diet and exercise goals and focus on a few new daily habits – may ultimately lead to a routine of good health.
You may be surprised that conquering these easy habits throughout the day can encourage healthy eating and exercise- and even help reduce some belly fat along the way.
Make your bed.
Believe it or not, ‘bed-makers’ not only eat healthier foods and exercise more, but set more personal goals than those who leave their beds untidy. Based on a survey with over a thousand responders, this simple activity provides a sense of accomplishment and kick-starts other productive habits (and even willpower) throughout the day.
Drink a cup of water with lemon before your morning coffee.
We all know the benefits of water, but experts say imbibing lemon water before your morning cappuccino will hydrate and even jumpstart your metabolism. According to experts at the Cleveland Clinic, squeeze half a lemon in hot water (I also add a ½ inch ginger or turmeric root) and enjoy your first vitamin C and antioxidant shot of the day!
Eat when the sun is out.
Michael Roizen, author of What To Eat When explains that our metabolism is linked with our circadian rhythms, most active in the morning and slowest in the evening. “Food eaten in the morning causes less weight gain and less chronic disease than food eaten at night,” says Roizen. In practical terms, front-load most of your calories – especially carbohydrates- before 3 pm and couple with a light dinner at night. Try our new smoothies for a healthy nutritious breakfast on the go!
Declutter the Kitchen.
How do you reduce mindless eating? Take the chips off the counter! Simply by re-arranging your kitchen, says Brain Wansink, author of Slim by Design, you can eat less junk and more nutrient-dense foods. Folks in cluttered environments, continues Wansink, may eat over 40% more snacks than people who live in a cleaner setting. Easy fix. Remove all junk food from plain sight and replace with a bowl of fresh fruit (like our delicious Pink Lady apples or clementines)!
Sleep at least 7-8 hours per night.
Research links people with good sleeping habits with reduced calorie consumption, healthier diets, and even decreased anxiety levels. And the opposite is also true in that sleep-deprived subjects, according to researchers at University of Chicago, were more likely to choose high-carb and high-fat snacks, as well as larger meal portions. Why? Reduced sleep increases our cortisol levels and decreases insulin sensitivity which informs our body to retain fat. Get your ZZZZ’s!
Write it down.
Studies show that we are 40% percent more likely to achieve our goals if you write them down. But don’t bite off more than you can chew! When I work with clients, I always recommend setting small achievable specific goals, like drinking less soda, smoking fewer cigarettes, or eating more vegetables, as opposed to dropping ten pounds. Writing the specific goal helps us focus on the prize and even motivates us to complete the task with action.
I’d love to hear from you! If you have comments or questions on this article or ideas for future topics, please click here to send me an email. I welcome your feedback as we begin more conversations about balanced eating and healthy lifestyles.