Dr. Tariq Jagnarine
Family Medicine, Endocrinology/Diabetes
Health is always a priority heading into a new year, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more important than ever. Continuing from last week, here are some additional tips to be healthy.
Many people rely on convenience foods, such as packaged chips, cookies, frozen dinners and fast food, for a quick meal or snack. Though these items may be tasty and readily available, they can have detrimental effects on your health if eaten too often.
For example, frequent fast- food intake is associated with poor overall diet quality, obesity, and an increased risk of numerous conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. To cut back on the consumption of convenience foods, make a resolution to prepare more meals at home using healthy ingredients.
1: Rethink dieting
Chronic dieting is harmful to both physical and mental health. Plus, most people who lose weight through restrictive dieting regain up to two-thirds of the weight lost within one year. Dieting can also make it harder to lose weight in the future. Rather than setting a New Year’s resolution to lose weight by using restrictive measures such as a fad diet, try a healthier, more sustainable method of weight loss by focusing on increasing physical activity and eating healthier foods.
2: Add more produce to your diet
Adding more cooked and raw vegetables and fruits to our diet can go a long way towards improving our health in the New Year.
Numerous studies have shown that eating a diet rich in produce helps protect against various illnesses, such as diabetes, heart diseases, certain cancers, and obesity, as well as overall mortality.
3: Cut back on alcohol
Though alcohol can certainly fit into a healthy diet, imbibing too often can negatively affect our health. What’s more, drinking alcohol frequently may keep persons from reaching their health and wellness goals. Set a reasonable goal to limit drinking to weekend nights only, or set a drink limit for the week.
4: Be more present
Research shows that being more present may improve life’s satisfaction by decreasing negative thoughts, which may thereby improve psychological health. Making a New Year’s resolution to be more mindful and present may help to make us feel more contented in our everyday lives. Spending less time on the phone, stopping to notice the environment, and listening intently to others are simple ways to be more present.
5: Take a vacation
Taking a vacation — even a short one — may have significant and immediate positive effects on stress levels, and may enhance well-being.
In the New Year, make a resolution to take a vacation with friends or family members, or on your own. Whether travelling to an area of consideration for some time, or simply planning a staycation at home, taking some time for rest and relaxation is important for health.
6: Try a new hobby
It’s common for adults to let once-loved hobbies fall by the wayside as they get older, due to busy schedules or lack of motivation. However, research shows that partaking in a hobby that is loved can help persons to live longer, healthier lives.
7: Stop negative body talk
Talking negatively about one’s body can lead to feelings of body shame. In fact, research shows that engaging in and hearing negative body talk is associated with higher levels of body dissatisfaction and decreased self-esteem in both women and men. Make a healthy New Year’s resolution to engage in positive self-talk regularly, and reduce negative body talk. This may not only help improve the relationship with one’s own body, but also encourage others to stop talking negatively about themselves.
8: Visit your doctor
Getting examined regularly by a healthcare practitioner is important for many reasons. Having regular blood work and necessary screenings can help spot potential problems before they turn into more serious ones. Though the pace of doctor’s visits depends on many things, including the type of medical care, age, and medical history, most experts recommend seeing a primary care physician at least once a year for a checkup.
9: Take care of your teeth
Maintaining one’s oral health is a New Year’s resolution idea that can and should be sustained for life. Brushing and flossing our teeth regularly can help prevent oral conditions like gum disease and bad breath.
What’s more, some research suggests that gum disease may be associated with serious health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease, making oral care all the more important.
In addition to regular brushing and flossing, most dentists recommend a checkup and cleaning at least once a year.
10: Create a sustainable,
Instead of making a plan to follow yet another restrictive fad diet, this New Year, make a resolution to break the dieting cycle and create a sustainable, nourishing eating pattern that works.
The healthiest diet is one that’s rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods and low in heavily processed, sugary products. A healthy, long-term diet should not only be nutritious, but adaptable, meaning you can follow it for life, no matter the circumstances.
A sustainable eating pattern can be maintained on vacation, during holidays, and at parties, because it’s unrestrictive and suited to your lifestyle.
Though most New Year’s resolutions are only kept for a short period, the healthy resolutions listed above are sustainable ways to improve our physical and emotional health, and can be followed for life.
This New Year, try out a few of the resolutions in this article to help make this year — and the years that follow — the healthiest and happiest possible.