5 Goals to Help You Live a Healthier Life
New Year Resolutions are hard. An unprecedented number of people will resolve to lose weight this year. At Coast Spine Center we have health discussions with hundreds of people throughout the year that include losing weight. Without a doubt the biggest obstacle to accomplishing that goal is yourself. We hear, “I eat healthy but I don’t lose any weight” all the time. Lots of us make a really simple process look big and daunting in our minds out of fear of failure. What we are doing is lying to ourselves. You don’t eat healthy, the evidence is right there in the mirror. If you ate healthy you wouldn’t have a weight problem, period. Genetics don’t matter, activity level matters very little, your job doesn’t matter. It’s a math problem, if you keep adding calories you will keep gaining weight.
So why do so many fail at losing weight. Because they made the wrong resolution. Don’t resolve to lose weight, resolve to be honest with yourself. Resolve to educate yourself about food and to make healthy choices. Keep a food diary every day and reward yourself each day for making healthy choices. Weight loss will happen if you focus your attention on what you say to yourself when you’re in your own head. And let’s be clear, you aren’t just losing weight, your body is becoming healthier in hundreds of different ways at the cellular level and because of that it looks better.
Here are 5 easy, yet specific goals to set for yourself this year that will have the desired effect of weight loss and improving your health because they focus your energy in the right direction.
- Cut out the sugar! This is the single biggest problem in the Standard American diet. Sugar is hidden by food manufacturers. It’s given other names and used in large quantities because it’s proven to be addictive and it helps them sell more food. So educate yourself on where sugar is hiding in your diet and start avoiding it. Read labels, anything ending in –ose is sugar. Carbohydrates are the same thing as sugar. If you must eat carbs make sure they come along with other nutrients that are valuable to health. Vegetable have carbs but they have so many other quality ingredients that it cancels it out. Pasta on the other hand doesn’t. So learn how to cook a spaghetti squash instead of buying pasta. Google metabolic syndrome and see how excess sugar in your diet causes poor health not just extra pounds. Or schedule a free consultation with one of the doctors at Coast Spine Center to discuss our fat loss program and detox package.
- Pay attention to quality. If you buy a nice car and the manufacturer says to put high octane gas in it, what do you do? You pay extra for the good gas! If you want your body to be a highly functioning machine and not a beat up ole jalopy, then give it good fuel. Cheap food is cheap for a reason. Fast food and processed foods have lots of artificial ingredients that are designed to take up space, taste good and increase shelf life. But they have very little nutritional value. In many cases they are even harmful to your health. So learn to cook, it’s really not hard, don’t be intimidate. We don’t all have to be Emeril Lagasse but we can all learn to cook 4-5 meals well. Take some time and watch the demonstration at the grocery store, get online and watch a video, or if you really need help in the kitchen there are lots of companies that pre-prepare meals using healthy whole foods and deliver them to your door for the whole week. One example of a local company who delivers you meals to your door is FitFixins.
- Choose a cheat day of the week. Don’t set your sights too high. Let’s be honest, what we need to work on is will power and discipline. Basically your New Year Resolution is to have more of them. Give yourself a reward for being good. Plan ahead, eat healthy 6 days a week then reward yourself on the seventh. Eat whatever you want, all day. Eat as much as you like, get it out of your system. Then get back on the wagon for the next week. Don’t make your goal unattainable. Set short term goals which are realistic, specific and achievable.
- Join a group. There are lots of Facebook groups or blogs that you can follow that will routinely give you healthy and delicious recipes to try, quick easy meals and a place to ask questions and get support for free. For starters subscribe to our blog or check out our Facebook Page. You can branch out from there. Having a network of individuals dedicated to a healthy lifestyle keeps you accountable and keeps you motivated. Surround yourself with those who challenge you and make you better. Make it fun! Bet your brother or sister, get your co-workers involved. A healthy lifestyle with a nutritious and delicious diet can be enjoyable as well as rewarding.
- Make it for a reason outside of yourself. Your children learn from you. Your family has to take care of you. Your friends and co-workers are concerned about you. Do it for them, do it to teach discipline and reward, do it to inspire your loved one, do it to save money for yourself and your country on health care, and do it for your dog. Find a higher purpose. It’s a lot harder to fail someone else than it is to fail yourself.
Make these resolutions this year. Set your sights on making good, smart choices and on being an inspiration to your loved ones rather than a bad influence, or worse yet a burden.
As a health care professional who has to have “the food talk” often I can tell you that these are the most common pitfalls, obstacles or mental blocks that prevent fat loss. An unhealthy diet and the resulting weight gain is connected to high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, back pain, gallbladder disease, arthritis, disability and morbidity. The US ranks 38th in overall health according to The World Health Organization (WHO) and the cost of our health care is many times higher than any other industrialized country due to our unhealthy lifestyles and the resulting chronic illnesses. 2 out of 3 adults and 1 out of 3 children are overweight or obese. This tells us that our unhealthy eating habits are being learned and copied by our children. The problem is growing. The youngest generation is the first one to ever have a lower life expectancy than the previous one. This poses a real strain on our health care system in the future. So don’t be a statistic, change your fate and set the right goals for yourself in 2016.