By Samantha Nazareth, MD
Dr. Samantha Nazareth
We all know what the New Year means … New Year’s resolutions. After we’ve enjoyed the good cheer and celebrations from November through December, we are left in January wondering how to start fresh and become healthy. It’s easy to say, “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m signing up for a gym membership”. As the story goes, most of these resolutions don’t stick. In fact, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February! The problem with most resolutions is that they are not sustainable. My challenge for you is to commit to one of these nonconventional long-lasting resolutions instead.
1. Commit to being aware. This means being aware of when you are hungry and when you feel full. How many times do we eat because ‘it is time’ or we simply maintain a daily eating schedule that is the same everyday? Eat at 6 am, then at 12 pm and lastly at 8 pm. Sounds familiar? We lead busy lives so having a routine makes that part of our life easier to manage. However, by tuning into our bodies a bit more and listening to the message of “I’m full”, we can now make a conscious decision of putting the fork down.
2. Put the phone away. I suggest this to all of my patients when they are eating. When we are eating, the last thing you want is to be in a frantic state responding to emails and going through a to-do list. When we are stressed, this keeps us in a fight-or-flight state. This state does not promote optimal digestion. And, if we are eating, we want our body to do its job to break down the food properly and extract the nutrients.
3. Venture off to a new supermarket in a new neighborhood. I’ve recently starting shopping at different grocery stores in different neighborhoods. It has been an eye-opening experience viewing produce and products I’ve never seen before. It’s like traveling to a foreign destination without getting on a plane. I now try to incorporate a new food item from these stores every week into my weekly recipes.
4. Create or buy a healthy food planner. Most people have heard about yearly productivity planners for goal setting. If you want to dive deeper into healthy lifestyle goals, there are also health-focused planners to purchase. These help track your progress of your weekly healthy goals (i.e. no desserts) and also stretch your comfort zone by making suggestions to go to the local farmer’s market or even ferment your own foods.
5. Commit to reading the ingredients on packaged foods. I’m not talking about the nutrition facts. I want you to look at where the ingredients are listed, which are typically listed below the nutrition facts. This is the first step to becoming aware of the unusual things added to processed foods. Also, know that if the package is organic or gluten-free, this doesn’t mean there is no added sugar. I know this might mean spending a bit more time in the supermarket, but at least you can be more informed as a consumer before you check out at the cash register. #
Any questions about gut health, wellness or nutrition? Send them on Instagram or Twitter to @drsamnazareth.