10 tips to a healthier 2014

January 3, 2014

“Weight loss and improved fitness goals are one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions,” says Susan Rosato, LHSC Fitness and Health Registered Nurse. “It’s important to remember that healthier habits and changing our behavior isn’t something that occurs magically overnight. But with dedication and the right attitude change is possible over time.”

London Health Sciences Centre’s award winning  Fitness Program is a very unique workplace wellness offering for all staff, affiliates, and physicians that  includes a couch-to-5K running program, walking program, frontline workers “we come to you” campaign; provides stretch breaks, team health challenges and over 80 fitness classes across four sites per week.

“Although the Fitness Program is designed for LHSC staff there are some key things that anyone can do in order to make our goals attainable,” continues Rosato.

Susan Rosato’s 10 Tips to a healthier 2014:

1. Don’t delay…start today! Start with a few small changes and focus on them. Once those become comfortable, add a few more small changes at a time.

2. Set realistic goals. Make sure your goals are specific, realistic and most importantly forgiving. Healthy living is a process of learning. Break down your goals into short term and long term goals. Set 2 short term goals that you want to achieve in the first 6 weeks and a long term goal that is 6 months out. For example, "Exercise More" is not a specific goal. But if you say, "I will walk 15 minutes, 3 days a week for the first week," you are setting a specific and realistic goal for the first week. When it comes to eating, balance is key. It’s not realistic to think you can change your eating habits overnight. The goal should be to make better food choice, not perfect ones. Replacing one meal at a time or even a portion of a meal will help to get you there. Include foods that are in season and packed full of flavor to help you to feel more energized and healthier.

Move more. There are many fun and enjoyable ways to be active that can be incorporated into your day. The benefits of lifelong exercise are abundant and regular exercise may even motivate you to make healthy food choices a habit.

4. Add resistance training to your exercise regime. Resistance training will help to change your body composition and allow you to develop more lean muscle mass, your bodies most metabolically active tissue. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories your body burns, even at rest. So lift weights and you will soon find that you are tighter and more toned and looking and feeling great!

5. Have a recovery plan. Know that you will likely have an occasional set back or tough day. We all do. Instead of giving up entirely after a setback, simply start fresh the next day. Remember that you’re planning to change your life and it won’t happen all at once. There will be days that you will find things easier, and days that will be much more challenging and that’s okay.

6. Focus on how you feel. Feeling happier and having more energy are all great benefits that can be achieved during this transformation. Shifting your focus towards choosing healthier lifestyle choices that are sustainable over your lifetime instead of a number on a scale will help you to stay motivated on a daily basis.

7. Stay hydrated. Water is good for you. It helps keep your body functioning properly. Try adding some natural fruit or flavor to your water by adding some lemons, limes or even a few slices of cucumber.

8. Get 8 hours of sleep. Don’t underestimate the value of proper rest for your body. Sometimes a nap or a longer sleep-in on the weekend can decrease your stress level and revitalize you on your journey towards improved health.

9. Write it down. Tracking your food or tracking your activity allows you to see how you are progressing and to make connections between your behavior and your results. It helps you to see what things you do that make the biggest difference and what doesn’t help at all. Think of the obstacles and challenges that may interfere with your ability to reach your goal and write out a solution for those times when you will be most tempted to make a poor choice. Thinking ahead and deliberately designing a strategy for those inflection points and difficult moments is critical.

10. Celebrate your successes! Don’t discount any progress that you make as even those small steps along the way play an important part in getting you to your goal and are certainly worth celebrating. Making changes is not easy, and it takes commitment but if you are ready to get started, it is definitely worth the effort! Most importantly, don’t give up. Remember that you make those healthy changes to your body from the inside out so think of all the benefits you are reaping from being active and eating well.