With a new year headed our way, it is a chance to start fresh again and really focus on ourselves: mentally and physically. There are so many ways to improve your health this year, but you have to figure out what health goals you have before you jump into anything, or else reaching your goals might not play out as you imagined it to! Improving your health can be easy when you have goals in mind, but also takes a lot of work. Here are a few ways that you can improve your health in 2022:
Focus on your eating
No matter if weight loss is or is not one of your goals in 2022, focusing on your eating habits can dramatically help you improve your health this year. Why? For starters, eating a diet full of processed foods can slow down your metabolism, and you are probably eating a lot of ingredients that are not so good for you – ingredients that you can’t pronounce. That’s why reading nutritional labels on your food (if you are buying processed) is important. Look out for the total amount of calories a product contains, and not just for 1 serving (which is typically what’s stated on the label). But, when reading nutrition labels, it is not just about the calories. The most important part is the ingredients. Reading nutrition labels will help you to avoid only reading marketing labels like “high in fiber”, “low fat” or “zero sugar”, as these labels may be misleading. While a product is “high in calcium,” it could also be high in sugar – a detail you may have missed if you hadn’t read the nutrition label. Some of the better eating habits that you might want to focus on are: only buy processed foods with ingredients that you are familiar with, focus on more fresh produce and meat, cut out a lot of non-organic food, and reduce your portion sizes. As always, your eating habits should be fine-tuned to your specific needs and goals!
Slow down your bites
Did you know that eating too quickly can cause weight gain? According to quite a bit of research, faster eaters are more likely to be overweight, as compared to people who eat more slowly. WHAT?! In one study, it was also suggested that this is 115% more likely to happen in middle-aged women. As you eat, your body releases ‘fullness hormones’ that tell your brain you’ve eaten and should stop. However, as this process takes about 20 minutes, speedy eaters may consume too much food and only receive this signal later – which explains the ‘post-buffet bloat’ you may feel after a satisfying meal. The next time you’re having a meal, make a conscious effort to eat slower and observe the effect on your appetite.
Get more sleep
Sleep deprivation affects both your physical and mental health. Our bodies need at least seven to eight hours of sleep (you might even need more depending on your current health and activity levels) during which our brains and bodies are working hard to maintain immune systems, memory strength, and even hunger levels. Some simple steps to getting enough sleep include setting a regular sleep-wake schedule, limiting caffeine, relieving stress and getting enough physical activity, which will help to promote deeper, restful sleep.
Increase your water intake
You may have heard of the saying to “drink 8 glasses of water a day”, yet not many may actually follow this because a lot of people often choose to count their total liquid intake instead – which usually includes sodas, coffee, and other beverages. There are numerous benefits of drinking more water – it helps us to control our calorie intake, energizes our muscles, keeps our kidneys healthy, and hydrates the skin. As you stay hydrated with water, you’ll also find yourself having fewer cravings for sugary or less healthy beverages. Increasing your water intake will help you improve your health in 2021, no matter what your goals are!
Work on your mental health
Health does not just begin and end with physical health. Mental health needs to be considered, as well, especially since mental health has been on the decline. A lot of these physical health goals or improvements should help with mental health (like eating better + working out). However, make sure you are focusing on your mental health as an individual thing to improve. You deserve to feel great both physically AND mentally.
Bring out the workout gear
With our busy schedules, it can be hard to find time to exercise when your day consists of sitting in a car (if you are driving to work nowadays), sitting for eight hours at work, and then sitting at the dinner table and then in front of the TV when you get home. Exercise can be simple, though – even a quick walk each day can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes while getting the blood flowing and letting your mind relax for a bit. A lot of us struggle with finding the motivation, though. If that is the case, I bet that surrounding yourself with other like minded individuals could probably help you. There are places that help you reach your work out goals + also focus on COMMUNITY, such as CrossFit Solid Orange. According to their reviews, they are one of the best (if not the best) CrossFit gyms in Nashville and they offer CrossFit with Interval-Training Bootcamp, Strength and Conditioning Sessions, Olympic Weightlifting, and Personal Training, as well. With flexible class times, support from start to finish, and no judgement at all, CrossFit Solid Orange could be your ticket to success if you struggle with motivation!