Only 8% of Americans attain their New Year’s resolutions each year. What if this year, instead of making sweeping resolutions to “lose weight” and “exercise more” we were all to take smaller steps toward nourishing ourselves, respecting our bodies, and feeling our best?
If you’re swimming in a sea of goals without a clear path, read on – these six changes to your weekly routine can set you up for success in the year ahead:
1. Eat Breakfast Every Day to Promote Healthy Arteries and Waistlines
Skipping breakfast has been linked to weight gain, brain fog, and low energy levels. Sure, nobody wants to be drowsy all day, but did you know that men who skip breakfast are 15% more likely to have substantial weight gain and 21% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes?
The likely cause? Insulin resistance at the cellular level triggered by stress or adrenal dysfunction.
The same study found that there is a 27% higher risk of heart attacks on Monday mornings for men with existing heart disease.
You need most of your fuel in the morning as you transition from a sleepy state to “full steam ahead,” so doesn’t it make sense that breakfast should be your biggest meal? According to Dr. Rodier, we westerners have our eating schedule backwards: we should be eating breakfast like kings (big meals full of healthy protein and veggies), lunch like queens, and dinner like paupers.
2. Go Gluten-Free to Protect Against Allergies and Chronic Disease
You’ve read the science, you know gluten is a troublesome protein for many people, which may just be the cause of your chronic health problems. For anyone suffering from less than optimal health (even too many colds each year), then 2015 could be the year to kick inflammation-causing gluten to the curb – it’s easier than you think!
When the body is fed a diet rich in carbohydrates, insulin pumps are continuously on, which limits the body’s ability to break down fat for fuel. Eventually, the body gets addicted to glucose while being starved for fat in the form of cholesterol, which is needed for healthy brain function.
Need help kickstarting your (or a loved one’s) gluten-free journey? Visit our gluten-free resources page for tasty recipes and breaking science to help you shop, keep you motivated, and make gluten-free living easier! Also, check out this awesome gluten-free cheat sheet, from Gluten-Free Goddess, that lists sneaky foods to avoid and offers tips on going gluten-free.
3. Meal Preparation on Your Day Off
One of the easiest ways to eat healthy all week long is to purchase and prep your food on your day off and store in BPA-free plastic or glass containers, which are perfect for eating on the go. Here are a few tips for making 2015 a food-prepper’s paradise!
- Wash and slice fruits and veggies and store in BPA-free containers for easy snacking throughout the week. You’re much more likely to go for the healthy stuff when it’s already prepped!
- Season and cook lean proteins like chicken, tofu, or ground turkey so that can you can add them to dishes like stir-frys, Mexican-style burrito bowls, and salads in a flash!
- Bulk up on smoothie ingredients. When you’re in a rush or running low on ingredients, whipping up a smoothie is the best way to get quick, dense nutrition on the go. Make sure to have plenty of frozen berries, nut butters, leafy greens (like spinach and kale), and of course, Constant Health Daily, on hand throughout the week. If you’re feeling fancy, bulk up your smoothie with a big omega-3 burst by adding half an avocado and a tablespoon of chia seeds!
4. Replace Sugary Drinks with Antioxidant-Rich Teas
A recent article from NutritionFacts.org demonstrated just how important antioxidants are to overall health: If we don’t eat antioxidant-rich foods with each meal, then for hours after we eat, our bodies are thrown into a pro-oxidative state, which damages our cells and sets the stage for chronic disease.
Having just a few cups of tea each day can help fill the antioxidant gap in our diets. Just one cup of green or black tea has 10 times the amount of disease-fighting antioxidants as a piece of fruit or a vegetable! Tea has also been shown to support a healthy metabolism and proper detoxification.
5. Ditch Late-Night Eating Patterns
Not only does eating late foul up your metabolism, but it can also disrupt your sleep and cause painful acid reflux. Additionally, studies have shown that midnight snackers tend to weigh more than those who don’t snack at night.
Night owls also tend to consume more calories, eat more fast food, and eat less fruits and veggies. A recent study out of Spain found that while early and late eaters had similar energy intake, dietary composition, estimated energy expenditure, appetite hormones, and sleep duration, early eaters:
- Began to lose more weight each week, beginning in week five
- Lost significantly more total weight; early eaters lost 22 pounds on average, compared with only 17 pounds for late eaters
- Lost significantly more weight as a percent of their initial weight
Send yourself to sleep with a hot cup of calming tea and resist the urge to snack on chips and dip in 2015!
6. Start Eating Mindfullly
Eating mindfully is a world apart from dieting. Often, it’s not just about what you eat, but how you eat it. Mindful eating is grounded foremost in observation (of the textures, smells, colors, shapes, and flavors of your food) and turning off distractions (like the television, eating while driving, or multi-tasking).
When you chew your food fully and slowly, hormonal signals between the brain and belly fire off, telling your brain that you’re full before your over-eat. Instead of counting calories or weighing out your meals, try these tips to eat mindfully in the year ahead:
- Take small bites and chew completely
- Eat with your non-dominant hand or use chopsticks to slow you down
- Take 20 minutes to eat a meal
- Before snacking, evaluate whether or not you’re actually hungry