New Year, Healthier YOU
Taking the First Steps of Living a Healthy, Balanced Life
It’s that time of year again – a New Year and a fresh start. New Year’s resolutions are overflowing with intentions to get fit and eat perfect. The gym is packed, everyone is on their kale smoothie kick and all seems promising for a healthier year. Fast forward one month later and the gym is dead, the kale is on clearance at the grocery store, and we are suddenly stuck in our same habits we were the year before. So what happened to the promise we made ourselves, the mentality that “this is going to be my year to get healthy?” We begin to make the familiar excuse of I’m too busy to go to the gym, or I am tired of eating only green vegetables, and my favorite – it’s just too much work to be healthy. So how exactly does this health train derail so quickly?
Well, there are two answers: we are too hard on ourselves when we fail to “be perfect” and we make unrealistic New Year’s resolutions. We sabotage ourselves trying to make too many changes at once, setting ourselves up for failure before we even realize it. Let’s face it, change is hard, habits are even harder to break, and we give up quickly if things don’t go accordingly.
So how can we stay on track of becoming healthier individuals? It’s as simple as making small changes that add up to making a big difference. So what do you mean make small changes? Focus on one positive change at a time. Sit down and make a list of what you want to change. Prioritize what is lacking the most, whether it is not getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, or needing to increase your physical activity, pick what is most important to you and put your energy into it. For example, if exercise is your top priority, schedule gym time or walk time in your calendar and commit to it for one month.
You might be starting out with only two or three days a week, but it is a small change, in a positive direction, that can make a big difference. Once you have made one small change that has now become a new habit, take on your next resolution and begin incorporating it into your weekly routine. For example, if your next priority is to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, start with trying to add one serving to a couple of meals each day. Again, it’s a small change that can add up to making a big difference. Slowly begin to build off of your New Year’s resolution list, and more than likely you will find each resolution gets easier to incorporate.
This is what I like to refer to as making a true life-style change, and not a quick fix. Like I said earlier, change is hard and habits are even harder to break. Living a healthier life-style is an ongoing marathon, not a sprint and it takes a life-time commitment. It is import to recognize that we are human, we will not get it right all of the time, and we will “fail.” We are going to eat the cake at the birthday party and we are going to miss a day at the gym, however, it is called life and it will be okay. The key to being healthier is to find your own balance and what works for you. Do not get discouraged because you missed a gym day, instead make it a priority the next day. Did you have a piece of cake at the birthday party? Good for you – that is what you are supposed to do at a birthday party. Don’t feel guilty about it or become discouraged – it’s called balance and moderation, and it all fits into a healthy lifestyle. Don’t let these perceived “failures” derail you completely. These are not failures but challenges that are going to happen more often than not. Don’t throw in the towel just because you have an off day, everyone does, it happens, and each day is a new day.
So with the first month of 2015 under our belt, where do you stand with your resolutions? Do you feel yourself getting back into the routine of old habits? If so, regroup your thoughts, prioritize what you need to change, and commit 30 days to that one small change. Remember, one small change can make a big difference, so take those baby steps and commit to becoming a healthier you in 2015.
Amanda Heringer, MS, RDN, LDN
Dietician and Exercise Physiologist
St. Bernard’s Health & Wellness
870.207.7823 Work Phone
870.207.0525 Fax Number