While December is a time of celebration and indulgence for many of us, January is often seen as a new beginning and a time to set resolutions to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Diets marketed to result in fast weight-loss are very tempting when we are looking for a quick fix; however, these are difficult to maintain, causing us to regain any weight lost and resulting in feelings of discouragement and frustration.
Here are five realistic tips to set you on the right track for improving your health and eating habits this year:
- Don’t attempt to overhaul your entire diet overnight.
Research has shown that setting small, realistic goals is the way to go. A few examples of attainable goals might be to include a fruit or vegetable with every meal or limit eating fast food to one time per week. Achieving and maintaining these small goals long-term can have a major impact on overall health.
- Focus on real food.
Keep things simple with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish and dairy products. The fewer the ingredients, the better. By focusing on natural, whole foods, you will be consuming less trans fats, added sugars and sodium—all of which can be detrimental to your health.
- Ditch feelings of guilt.
We all have bad days! Life as a student is stressful and busy which can sometimes lead to less than ideal food choices. What you eat is not a reflection of who you are as a person and should never be the cause of feelings of guilt or shame. Food is just food. Having the ability to move past a bad day and refocus on the goals you have set is imperative to long term success.
It is well known that physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Making time in your day for some activity can result in increased mood, reduced stress and increased productivity. For Canadians, cold weather often encourages us to remain indoors and hibernate during the winter; this is the perfect time to put your URec membership to good use! If you are not a fan of the weight room, try a yoga or spin class. Lastly, do not forget the health benefits of walking! Bundle up and take advantage of the beautiful walking trails Fredericton has to offer.
- Seek out credible information.
Finding evidence-based information online can be a huge challenge. The Dietitians of Canada website (Dietitians.ca) and EatRight Ontario (Eatright.org) are two sources that provide credible nutrition information on a wide variety of topics—including budgeting, vitamin and mineral needs, heart health and more. Check out these sites for the answers to your nutrition questions and to help set your goals this year. For inspiration, visit the UNB Nutrition Pinterest page at Pinterest.com/unbnutrition. Here you will find meal ideas, and plenty of tips to make healthy eating fun and easy.
For help with setting goals to live a healthier lifestyle this year, call, or drop in to the Student Health Centre (506) 453-4837 to book an appointment. Dietitian services are FREE to all full-time UNB and STU students. No referral is needed.