If your New Year’s resolution was to eat better or start exercising you’re not alone. On average, more than 40% Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of a new year is a chance for a fresh start. An opportunity for self-improvement. If you don’t have a New Year’s resolution but want to make healthier choices this year than continue reading.
Here are 5 ways to improve your health and achieve your goals
- Know your numbers to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. The next time you’re at the doctor’s office write these numbers down and compare at each medical visit.
- Height/Weight (to determine your BMI)
- BMI or Body Mass Index [formula for BMI: weight (kg)÷ height2 (m2)]
Normal weight: 18.5–24.9
Class 1 Obesity: 30-34.9, Class 2 = 35-39.9, Class 3: = >40
- Waist Circumference (<35 inches for women, <40 inches for men)
- Total Cholesterol (<200)
- Blood Pressure (<120/80)
- A1c (<5.7)
- Cook more often. Cooking at home saves you money and calories. According to Foxbusiness.com, the difference between buying groceries and paying for restaurant meals and takeout is that most food establishments charge a 300% markup on the items they serve. This means that any time you spend $15 on an entree, the food you’re eating only costs $5 to make. I rather save my money for a vacation instead.
Did you know most restaurants serve two to three times more than the healthy portion sizes
recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines? One meal may equal 1500 calories! Not good for
- Exercise consistently. Haven’t worked out in a while? Start slow. Walk for 15 minutes daily than increase the minutes weekly. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. That’s 30 minutes of activity, 5 days a week. Include strength training using all of the major muscle groups at least 2 days a week.
- Download a fitness app to keep you on target with your health goals. Invest in a Fitbit or a similar device to track activity, exercise, food, weight, and sleep.
- Get an accountability partner. This person will give you a swift kick in the you-know-what when you need it the most. Find someone you love and trust to share your goals. Check in with them often. Preferably daily or weekly until your health goal(s) are met.