Wellness consultant Allie Henderson says to avoid fads, stick to the basics, and make a plan.
OREGON, USA — 2023 has arrived and many use the start of a new year to kick off a healthier lifestyle. Making a pledge to exercise more, eat healthier, and lose weight are your top three New Year’s resolutions, but how do we get there and make it sustainable?
Wellness Consultant Allie Henderson walks us through a few steps to getting started and achieving your health and fitness goals.
“Some of us go out and look for these bad diets or crazy workout plans; looking for something new,” Henderson said.
“And it’s nothing new, it’s been the same for years.”
Every January, we see people flocking to the gym, grabbing onto the latest trends, but Henderson says start simple with the basics: healthy foods and exercise.
Here are her tips for getting started and where to focus:
- Take an inventory of your lifestyle: where are you in terms of healthy eating and exercise? What do you need to work on more?
“We know if we haven’t exercised at all, we know if we’re eating a little too much processed food, maybe eating too much out and things like that and so don’t worry too much about what everyone else around you is doing,” Henderson said.
“Find those areas and then you can look a little more specific.”
- Focus on nutrient-dense foods and beverages, limit those higher in added sugar, saturated fat and sodium, and stay within calorie limits, according to the USDA”Dietary guidelines for Americans.”
Adult females need 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day and adult males need 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day.
“The first thing is to abandon the diet. I know it sounds a little counterintuitive, but we just want to choose a healthy, sustainable way to eat for the rest of our lives and then find an eating pattern that works for you,” Henderson said.
- Include a variety of foods in your diet and keep portion sizes in mind. Complex carbohydrates: Whole grains rich in fiber. Fruits and vegetables. Lean sources of protein and vegetable fats, such as nuts and avocados.
- Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugar, saturated fat and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.
- Pay attention to your eating habits and take time to enjoy your meal
“This means that when you eat you remove all distractions and really focus on tasting the food, putting your fork down, chew each bite thoroughly and swallow before taking the next biteHenderson said.
“Listening to your body to tell you when it’s really hungry and when it’s full. These are just very simple things that are often forgotten but can do a lot for our health.”
- When it comes to exercise, remember that it’s about getting your body moving.
Each week, adults need 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of physical activity per week. It’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That physical activity looks different for every individual. You can spread that activity out over the week and break it into smaller chunks each day.
“Find an activity you enjoy. Exercise doesn’t have to be going to the gym or just going out for a run. You know it can seem like things like going out and dancing, setting up obstacle courses with your kids and playing with them—anything that will get your heart rate up counts as exercise,” Henderson said.
“And then find an activity you enjoy and then remember that it doesn’t necessarily have to be all at once.”
- To help you meet your exercise commitment, make a plan and find ways to stay accountable.
“Look at your week and find that you know these are the days and times I can practice. Put it in your calendar and figure out what activity you’re going to be doing,” Henderson said.
“And coming back to the accountability, find someone who can join you and ask them, because then you’ll be much more likely to actually do it.”