January, the month of resolutions – resolutions for health, finances, personal growth, etc. The challenge with a “resolution,” however, is the very root of the word – to resolve – indicating that something needs to be “fixed.” What if we were to start 2022 with an attitude of growth and of clarity, rather than a sense of needing to fix something. Health goals are at an all-time high during the month of January, many of which are forgotten about or simply ignored by March. Research shows this happens for a few reasons, two of which we will discuss below: 1) the lack of a plan and 2) a mindset focused more on fixing than growing. This is good news because it means we can switch up how we think about our goals for the new year. We can go in with a plan and the mental, emotional, and physical support we need to make them happen!
What kind of plan is best for you?
The answer is simple – the one you’ll stick with that focuses on total wellness! There are many fad diets and programs available that promise to help you lose a lot of weight or quite a few inches in a short period of time. There are, however, also many dietary lifestyles that can help you lose weight and inches (and probably even improve your health) without making you starve, restrict heavily, and create a negative mindset around food. The main points to each of these lifestyles are pretty much the same, focusing on whole foods, sufficient water intake, and movement. As you investigate what type of New Year health plan you’d like to adopt, consider the overall healthy lifestyle habits that will not only help you in the short-term but also the long-term:
Water – So much research shows the #1 thing we can do for our health is make sure we are consuming an adequate amount of water. A great goal is to consume half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, work your way up to drinking 100 ounces of water per day. Notice we said, “work your way up.” Let it be a process.
Good Carbs – The dreaded “C” word, the word that comes with so much negative press. Carbohydrates are not created equally, so it is important to understand why there is so much confusion around them. Sugar and starch are tasty (even addictive, literally), and we have a tendency to consume way too much. That is why many plans encourage a “low carb” lifestyle, but what they’re really talking about is low sugar and starch! Did you know fruits and vegetables are carbs, too? They’re the healthy carbs that provide a ton of nutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants…really more than we could ever imagine. And we need all those things for optimal health! Eat carbs by incorporating more fruits and vegetables (especially those deep color veggies) into your dietary lifestyle!
Healthy Proteins – We live in a high protein era, where fad diets and short-term gain programs recommend focusing on protein protein protein rather than quality protein and in moderation. Most people thrive on about a quarter of their daily food intake coming from protein, with lean protein options offering adequate nutrients to meet our body’s needs. Fish, poultry, beans, and nuts and seeds are fantastic lean protein options! (See below for a special celebration of the bean!!)
Movement – Moving more is a part of a most healthy lifestyle plans. Exercise is great, but the overall goal is simply to move more. If you currently take about 3,000 steps a day, set your sights on 4,000. A great overall goal is to aim for 10,000 steps a day, but again, let it be a process! Your process may include an exercise class a few days a week, walking your dog more consistently, or going to the bathroom on the other side of the building at work. What can you do to move more in 2022?
What mindset habits do I need to create to support my goals?
The biggest question here is WHY are these goals important to you? Then HOW you answer is all about your mindset… Let’s not think so much about what we don’t want; that can stay in the past. Let’s focus on what we do want, what health goals we want to achieve. For example, rather than setting a lower weight goal because you don’t want to feel bloated and overweight anymore, what can your goal provide for you as you reach for it and then accomplish it? Losing weight might mean seeing a specific size on your jeans you’ve always wanted to see, having the energy to play in the backyard with your kids, etc. Visualize the healthy outcome and use THAT to propel you forward!
Additional health strategies, tools to support your goals, and more are to come as we proceed through January. What a great time of year to evaluate, grow, modify, evaluate again, and continue on the path toward greater wellness! Let’s move forward together!
National Bean Day is January 6th, and we encourage you to take advantage and learn more about “the bean.” Really, beans come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. They are a significant source of protein but also of fiber – both of which we need to survive and thrive! This super budget-friendly food option also provides a variety of flavors, textures, and potential with recipes. North Dakota State University has an arsenal of information on beans beyond the basic nutrition, from tips on how to soak dry beans for maximum benefit to education on how to introduce beans into your diet. Do you currently incorporate beans into your diet? Will you start? January 6th is a great day to start!