Tips For Keeping Healthy Resolutions
Health-related goals, including losing weight or improving diets, often top the list of most common New Year’s resolutions – but that might not mean much if, as data from University of Scranton researchers suggests, only about 8 percent of people keep such promises through the end of the year.
In order to gain some insight on maintaining health-related goals, we turned to someone whose job it is to help people stay on track with such pursuits: local registered dietitian and nutritionist Lisa Matsunaga.
Matsunaga had studied psychology at University of California, San Diego. But after graduating, she traveled to different countries – Spain, Ghana and Japan, among them – and discovered her passion for food. These days, Matsunaga runs a private practice based in Honolulu, where she helps clients manage weight, provides nutrition therapy for various conditions and aims to increase clients’ general wellness.
Here, Matsunaga shares some tips to help you achieve your health and wellness-related resolution.
1. Make your goals concrete and actionable.
If the resolution you made for the new year does not entail specific actions, you might need to rethink it. Reaching goals, Matsunaga says, is more attainable with a game plan. It also helps you break down a big, overarching life change into a manageable action.
“Instead of saying ‘I’m going to lose weight this year,”‘ say you’ll aim to lose one pound a week by exercising three times a week and swapping out soda with water at work,” Matsunaga explains.
2. Make your resolution enjoyable.
Resolving to eat a salad every day for lunch sounds like a healthy choice, but the bottom line is that it won’t work if you hate salads. So, stick to meals that are nutritious and enjoyable at the same time. There are also several gluten free recipes for desserts that you can try out. The key is to find those foods that meet at the break-even point for nutrition and taste.
“Find a healthy activity you enjoy, and you’ll be much more likely to stick with it,” Matsunaga advises.
3. Don’t go hungry.
If you are trying to stay on track with a diet, doing something as simple as going to a restaurant or dinner party can be challenging. The menu or potluck spread likely will be riddled with temptations. One easy way to offset cravings is to eat a little bit before you go.
“I always have some nuts or a light snack before an event so I’m not reaching for everything I see when I get there,” Matsunaga says.
Going out to eat, in fact, is one of the biggest challenges that Matsunaga sees with her clients in general. She suggests a good way around this is to cook at home more. And while not everybody has time to cook regularly, she suggests preparing meals in bulk ahead of time. (Oatmeal and soups are easy to do in large batches, she says.) However, not many people can commit to this. Only if they knew that consuming home-cooked meals in conjunction with probiotics (like the ones here) can bear great results in regard to overall health, they would have probably freed up some time from their busy schedule to cook at home every now and then.
That said, even if you’re going to a pot-luck, she suggests contributing a healthy dish that you like so that you can indulge in something even if everyone else brought fried foods and desserts.
4. Prioritise sleep.
A prerequisite of a healthy lifestyle includes good sleeping habits. This means developing the practice of sleeping before midnight and reducing the use of gadgets before you hit the bed.
It is easy to push our sleep by a few hours in today’s fast-paced and highly technological world. This is especially common among the youth, as they tend to be glued to their smartphones because of the popularity of mobile games, social media, OTT platforms, and more. As a result, there is a large accumulation of sleep debt.
When you begin to work on your sleep hygiene, you will notice that the results are visible, and you experience a boost in energy levels, focus, mood, and strength. You be more productive with your work, and be able to juggle different responsibilities better.
But even though it may not be as simple to fix sleep and follow a proper routine every day, there are ways to work around the issue. There are several options for you to choose from as supplements for better sleep.
For starters, you could utilize the benefits of cannabis to induce a state of relaxation, which can be helpful for sleep. Marijuana products like bud, hash, oils, and more are based on certain strains that can be consumed through a glass hash pipe, a rolled joint, vape, or bong among other instruments. The consumption of cannabis has been linked to effective relaxation according to many studies, hence, it can be considered a viable sleep supplement.
You can similarly seek prescribed doses of melatonin products, which are extracts of the sleep hormone known as melatonin. Consider reaching out to a doctor to figure out what kind of dosage you would require to experience a healthy amount of sleep. Finally, you can begin to practice breathing techniques, which are a great way to relax your mind and body. These not only help improve your sleep health, but also your mental health, mood, and immunity.
5. Set reasonable goals.
New Year’s resolutions are inherently optimistic – they come with the notion that we can all be better in the coming year. But there’s a line between optimism and being unrealistic.
The simplest and most common resolution is going to the gym. People say “I will lose 10 kgs by the end of the year” or “I will start going to the gym every day”. Oftentimes, when people make such resolutions, they expect it to be easy and think that they can seamlessly move onto a fit lifestyle.
Rather than trying to go all out on the first day itself, it makes more sense to ease yourself into a fitness regime. Perhaps getting a few resistance bands, a skipping rope, and a rowing machine hire could help you start simple and develop some consistency.
Once you’re used to this, you could move on to exercises that are slightly more difficult, like jogging, swimming, and light weightlifting, following which, you can escalate the intensity of your exercises.
The same reasoning applies to diets too. “Saying ‘I’m going to stop eating sugar’ is not realistic,” Matsunaga says. “Instead, you could say, ‘I’ll allow myself one sweet treat a week.’ That way, you won’t feel deprived and you won’t feel like you’ve failed just because of one cookie.”
In order to help you identify what’s reasonable for you to achieve when it comes to dieting, Matsunaga suggests starting by keeping a food journal.
“Write down everything you eat and drink from the moment you wake up until you go to bed for a week,” she explains.
With everything written out, you should be able to see what areas you can improve upon. Then tackle one thing at a time.
6. Keep going.
With any goal, there will be setbacks and times when you don’t quite hit your mark – and that’s OK.
“One bump in the road isn’t going to derail your long-term goals,” Matsunaga says. “Expect them, allow them, and keep moving forward.”
FOR MORE FROM MATSUNAGA, VISIT HER WEBSITE AT HAWAIIRD.COM.