Want to get healthy in the New Year? For most people, health issues like losing weight and exercising are at the top of their list of resolutions. Yet, year after year, people fail to keep their resolutions and fall back into the same patterns. At Fast Track Urgent Care, we believe that there are just three resolutions necessary to help you stay on track towards better health.
Eat More. That’s right—more vegetables and fruit.
Make a daily goal for yourself and try your best to hit it every single day. For adults, the ideal is to get nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If that sounds daunting, remember that one serving = half a cup. If you have a big, healthy salad once a day, you can knock out your vegetable goal. Add some fruit to the salad, or have some for a snack, and you’ll be at your nine-a-day goal in no time.
And although fresh vegetables are ideal, don’t let the “perfect” be the enemy of the good. Some people say they don’t like to buy fresh veggies and fruit because they can’t manage to finish them off before they go bad. If this is the case for you, buy frozen. That way, you’ll always have healthy options on hand, ready to go. Cook vegetables into stir-fry dinners and make smoothies with frozen berries and spinach.
If getting nine servings of vegetables and fruit per day still seems like too lofty a goal, start smaller. Adding any amount over what you’re eating now will be beneficial! Striving to get more fruits and vegetables every day means that you’ll be pushing away less healthy foods in order to make room for the good stuff.
Do More. More moving, more walking, and more sleeping!
The more steps you take per day, the more calories you are burning—and the healthier your heart is getting! Fitness trackers are all the rage right now, but you can use an inexpensive pedometer to count your steps just as well. And just like with fruits and vegetables, the way to get more steps in is to set a goal.
There are plenty of ways to add more movement into your daily routine and take more steps. Start with what you’ve got: can you walk in your neighborhood after dinner or in the morning? Can you fit a brisk walk into your lunch hour? If you work in a tall building, you can use the stairs as a mini-workout. Bust boredom by listening to music or an audiobook while you’re walking.
You may have heard that there’s a link between sleep and weight loss, but what does it really mean? Not getting enough sleep can affect your weight in a few ways.
- Lack of sleep affects hormone levels in adults, causing men to feel hungrier and women to feel less full, both of which can lead to overeating. Sleep deprivation can up your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which can make your body hold on to fat.
- When you don’t get enough sleep, you are tired during the day, which can lead to poor decision-making in things like food choices. That tiredness also makes you less likely to exercise.
- Being awake more also gives you more time to eat.
So turn off the TV, put down your phone, and get to bed at a decent hour! You’ll feel better and might even see some additional health benefits.
Love More. Starting with you!
It turns out that practicing self-care and self-compassion can reap great rewards. When you’re working on developing healthier habits, positive self-talk is a must. Treat yourself as you would a friend—don’t berate yourself for slip-ups or imperfection. The path to a healthier year starts with a positive mindset. Get more concrete data from this self-compassion infographic.
Showing more compassion to others has numerous benefits as well. Studies have shown that people who relate positively to others and who help other people are healthier and more resistant to illness. In addition, giving to others activates pleasure centers in the brain that make us feel good.
To get another take on the benefits of being kind, check out this commencement speech that went viral in 2013.
Three Ways to Happiness in 2015
It may sound too simple, but each of these three new year’s resolutions—Eat More, Do More, and Love More—can set you on the path to greater wellness. For more wellness advice and quality health care, visit a Fast Track Urgent Care location in the Silver Spring area.