The start of a new year is cause for many women to resolve to get healthier in one form or another and losing weight is the #1 resolution each year. Resolutions are easy to make but hard to keep, given that 45% of Americans make resolutions, but only 8% report being successful. Which begs the question: "How can we make resolutions to get healthier more successful?" My Answer: Make a Non-Diet Resolution. Here are my top 5 Non-Diet Resolution Suggestions.
#1: Move more, Sit Less
Even for people who exercise regularly, this is really important. There's even a term for these people: Sedentary Exercisers. Yes, it's true. Those who go to the gym or walk or do other exercise, but spend the rest of their day sitting at work, in front of a computer, and in front of the TV at night. Sitting for long periods of time increases your risk for several medical conditions (obesity, diabetes, heart disease). The Solution: get up and move every hour, take 10-15 minutes after eating lunch to walk--a great strategy to lower blood sugar. When working at your computer, stand at least half of the time -- there are manystand up desks these days.
#2: Sleep More, Weigh Less
Many studies show a strong connection between lack of sleep and weight gain. Sleep-deprived adults eat about 300 calories more per day. Not surprising because lack of sleep decreases willpower, making you more likely to indulge on foods high in sugar and fat, trying to boost energy and/or mood. The Solution: Turn off all screens 30 minutes before bedtime, drink non-caffeinated drinks after 3pm, go to bed 30-60 minutes earlier. Aim for 7-8 hours of solid sleep per night.
#3: Eat More Vegetables, Especially from my Top 10 List
The average American eats less than 1 serving of vegetables daily. If you're a woman over 45, you need at least 5 servings (2 1/2 cups) of vegetables daily. I've helped many women gradually work up to this amount--it just takes a bit of planning and brainstorming to figure out the best strategies that work for you. Along with getting those 5 servings, get more nutrient-bang for your buck by choosing these Top 10 Veggies more frequently.
#4: Drink Up
More water, that is. I'm impressed by the number of women I work with who walk around dehydrated most of the time. Not getting enough water affects every organ and system in our body and makes exercising more difficult. Just like the vegetables, it takes some strategies and sometimes problem-solving to get 6-8 servings per day as a minimum, but it's doable!
#5: Have More Fun!
Research shows the more we laugh, the better our health --it's really true! Laughter decreases stress hormones and improves your resistance to infections by increasing immune cells and antibodies. So go out and have more fun! Many of the women I work with set goals around having more fun as part of their Wellness Plan. With our very busy lives, we need to schedule in fun, just like you schedule a doctor's appointment, exercise or your child's soccer game.