Is There A New You in This New Year?
There is no better time than a new year to take the positive action steps towards a healthier you. Not only is it a new beginning on the calendar, but the Holidays are behind you, with all the busyness that often leads to exhaustion.
Add to that mix all the treats traditionally had for the holidays, and you end up feeling like a slug once it’s all over.
So you want to feel better? It will take more than a diet, although that’s an excellent place to start. Although the word “diet” is just so negative. It has the word “die” in it, after all. To make real positive and lasting change, the most important thing you can do is change your lifestyle- how you live.
Lifestyle change takes time and action steps that can only be taken one step at a time. Some of the most important steps in lifestyle improvement include sleep, food, activity level, and healthy thinking.
Good quality sleep is highly underrated in American culture. “You can sleep while you’re dead.” Right? Well, don’t get enough good quality sleep, and you might be taking that dirt nap sooner than you think.
Sleep is how the body regenerates itself, allowing the heart rate to slow down and decrease blood pressure, allowing the brain to store memories and reboot for the following day, and allowing the immune system to catch up to the day’s toxin exposure and provide protection. Chronic inability to sleep well is related to high blood pressure, increased insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, decreased ability to make decisions, cognitive decline, depression and anxiety, weight gain, and increased sickness, to name a few.
Most adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. To begin the journey of a new you, start with better sleep habits. Taking that one step will make the other steps much more accessible to integrate into your new lifestyle.
The next step in the journey is addressing the issues you might have with food. Everyone has them. We hold on to foods we know aren’t good for us, but we think we can’t live without them. The truth is that most of the foods in the standard American diet will be forced to live without by way of an early death!
The standard American diet will kill you early! People in America are dying earlier than people in any other industrialized nation in the world. And it’s because of the food. 40% of Americans are considered obese, with another 30% being overweight. Cardiac arrest affects 1,000 Americans per day. 800,000 people are affected by a stroke each year in America.
Both cardiovascular disease and strokes are PREVENTABLE! They are prevented with a healthy lifestyle, which includes making better choices regarding food.
There are so many great resources for healthy recipes and healthy grocery shopping that are economical. Develop a taste for foods that aren’t processed and covered in preservatives, salt, and sugar. It’s as easy as just starting with more broccoli!
Once you have improved your sleep and are making better food choices, you will discover that you feel great and want to increase your activity level. This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym and go six times a week, although that might be what you want to do! It can be as simple as just going for a walk every day.
Whatever appeals to you to get you moving, GO! You will find that you will be able to maintain weight loss, your mood will be improved, you will have even more energy and sleep better, and your immune system function will improve.
Last but not least, you will find that once you have addressed the physical attributes of your lifestyle, your mental health will improve. You will feel better, so your thoughts will also be better. Positive thinking has been shown to extend your life, improve your mood and relationships, and decrease stress. So it really improves your life to see the glass as half full!
While attempting to change all these things at once can be overwhelming, it’s so much easier to consider it a journey and take one step at a time, one day at a time. Before you know it, the year will have passed, and you will be a new you!