Healthy Habits For The New Year

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It’s Coming! 

It’s coming.  That first week of January where we feel just a little bloated from all the Christmas and New Years celebrations.  We’re faced with a new blank calendar and primed and ready to set new (albeit unrealistic) goals. 

I don’t think I met a new version of myself last January (‘new year, new me’ you know?).  I’m not even 100% sure that I’ve improved all that much.  There are some things that have gone well and there’s some things that definitely haven’t changed. 

If you love setting goals and resolutions, that’s good!  If you are tired of that hamster wheel, here are a few health-related things you can incorporate into the New Year that will benefit you and maybe just maybe, carry out for the whole year. 

Diet 

You don’t need to try the latest and greatest diet.  When I’m talking with my clients, we discuss what their family already does and how to make that better.  Food is expensive nowadays!!  I’m working on incorporating more plant-based proteins to make my budget stretch a little. 

Here’s one of the top things I recommend incorporating into your meal plan for multiple reasons: lentils. 

  1. Reason #1.  Canada is a major producer of lentils.  We ship most of them overseas.  So if eating local is important to you, this is an amazing food to enjoy. 

  2. Cost.  These are incredibly economical for the grams of protein compared with animal proteins.  You get a high quality protein that is very shelf-stable for a very attractive price point. 

  3. Nutrient value.  Protein, fibre, and iron are just a few nutrients this small but mighty food can flex on.

  4. Health benefit.  The fibre content of lentils is very high.  It helps lower cholesterol levels, keeps you regular, and helps you feel full and satisfied.  Combine the fibre with the high protein content and this is a food that helps to balance your blood sugar levels. 

Compared to other raw beans and legumes, lentils actually cook up really quickly. 

If you don’t know where to start, here are a couple of recipes to get you going:  Banana lentil muffins are a big hit in my house (especially with a few chocolate chips sprinkled in) or try this delicious lentil curry.

Fitness

Did you sign up for a new gym membership last January? Or maybe order some new equipment for the basement or garage gym? That’s GOOD!  Any exercise is better than none when it comes to supporting your metabolism.  But as with anything, it only pays off when we do it consistently.  SIGH. 

Here’s one of the best things you can do to support your metabolism: weight training. 

As we age, our muscle mass will slowly start to decrease on its own.  It’s a process called sarcopenia.  When we aren’t proactive against it, our weight can slowly start to creep up even though we eat and exercise the same. 

Focusing on weight training helps to maintain your muscle mass and supports your metabolism.  Investing in some expertise from a kinesiologist or trained exercise professional will go a long ways in helping you build your strength. 

Mental Health

While this is not my area of expertise pe se, food is absolutely an area that is impacted when we are not doing well mentally.   One of the most powerful tools we can use is gratitude.  Research has shown that those who practice gratitude on a daily basis report a higher level of overall health. 

I’d like that. 

Gratitude has been an important grounding tool when I feel dissatisfied with my current life state.  As if I don’t have enough food, or nice enough home décor, or my floors are the wrong color (although we did recently redo our floors and I love them and I am SO GRATEFUL for them – see what I did there?). 

Practice gratitude when you feel like you don’t have enough, you are not enough, or you feel dissatisfied with the status quo of something (ie. Your weight or your size or your body shape). 

It’s as simple as this:

“I’m thankful my body fought off that sickness.”

“I’m grateful for a body that could handle going on that hike.”

“I’m thankful I have a pantry and fridge full of food.”

“I’m thankful I have the money to buy the groceries I need.”

Gratitude changes things, and it just may help you moving forward in this New Year. 

So get out your new planner, set some goals, maybe even resolve to do something new this year. 

Matthew Kelly states in his book The Long View states that “most people overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade.”

You don’t have to set a 10 year goal, but what if you did some important yet simple health related things consistently for 10 years?  That’s pretty powerful. 

Wishing you and your loved ones a healthy new year! 

 

Connect with our dietitian to discover what your unique nutrition needs are and how healthy, simple habits can make a difference in you and your family’s lives. 

Written By:

Raina Beugelink

Registered Dietitian

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