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07

BIGGEST LOSER: What do we do to stay on track on those New Year’s resolutions?

By Lindsay Fraser

FLORENCE, S.C. – It’s February: 30-plus days after Jan. 1, the New Year. Some of our New Year “eat-healthier-and-exercise-more” resolutions seem so long ago, part of a distant past, hastily made in a pair of tight pants and heightened optimism.

And since Jan. 1, life has gotten back to its normal chaos, even with a snow day or two thrown in there. School is back in and work Christmas parties and vacations are over … and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow – six more weeks of winter.

Life is busy, so why not just wait until it gets warmer to get back on track? Because despite scribbling down your goals in a post-Thanksgiving and Christmas cookie aftermath and panic, your goals were made with your health in mind.

For most of us, getting a little more active and eating a few more fruits and vegetables per day is not a bad thing to focus on.

So what do we do to stay on track?

Well, if it has been a week since going to the gym or walking before work, lace up those sneaks and get moving. Been a few days of takeout? Get to the grocery store with your list in hand and cook a well-balanced, homemade meal tonight. The journey to better health might be hard work, but it most certainly is well worth your time and effort.

Imagine how wonderful it will be to see those improved lab values, feel those pants fit a little better and feel more energized from good food and a better night’s sleep.

Find motivation by surrounding yourself with support, which, believe it or not, is just as important for your health as is good nutrition. Why do it alone? Recruit others for better living.

When your family and friends are on board, achieving your goals will become much easier, and much more enjoyable. Find others who share your same health goals and become accountabil-a-buddies, helping encourage each other along the way. You might be their only support, and they might be yours!

Living well is contagious, and when others see how happy and fabulous you feel, they soon will want to join the cause.

Here are some other ideas to get committed to the healthier life you want to live:

>> Make “Fruit Food Art” with the kids. Make fruits and vegetables fun for the family by creating faces or animals with different fruits and veggies before eating them.

>> Avoid buying sodas, sugary sweets and cereals, and processed foods such as potato chips, cookies and pre-made meals.

>> Pack fresh fruits or homemade fruit and nut trail mix instead of candies and cookies as snacks.

>> Include a raw vegetable in lunches, even for the kids. It’s never too early to eat well.

>> Try whole wheat bread instead of white, butter or potato bread. Make sure the first ingredient reads “whole wheat flour” in order for the product to be whole wheat.

>> At meal times, make half of your plate a non-starchy vegetable (asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, leafy greens, squash, zucchini, etc.).

>> Find new ways to make old favorites:

          • Add some spinach, broccoli florets, or mushrooms to pasta sauce.

          • Add fruit slices (apples, pears, strawberries, etc.) to salads.

          • Use applesauce instead of oil when baking sweets.

>> Uncover fun ways to be active together:

          • Take a before-or-after dinner walk or bike ride together.

          • Plan a weekend play day outside at one of the Pee Dee’s local parks.

>> Plan a relaxing activity once a week for the whole family to enjoy:

          • 30 minutes of quiet reading outside together.

          • Stretching for 10 minutes as a family.

          • Walk outside while talking on the phone with out-of-town friends or family.

The bottom line: It’s OK to start again. Your health will thank you.

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