Have you made a New Year’s Resolution yet? 2016 is right around the corner. Do not be overwhelmed, here are three to choose from that will quickly refine your health and restore damages of 2015.
Cut the sugar.
Start simple: Don’t add simple sugars (like cane sugar or corn syrup) to anything like coffee or cereal, and avoid obvious sources of sugar like candy or cookies.
After one month: Read the labels. Start cutting out products that have sugar added to them in the ingredients. Things like tomato sauce, crackers, and bread often contain more sugar than the seem.
At month three: Consider limiting other sweeteners. This includes honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and especially artificial sweeteners.
Believe it or not, sugar is an acquired taste. That means it can be “un-acquired”. By gradually removing sugar from your diet you will give your taste buds time to adjust. I have personally found that after living sugar-free many whole foods taste sweeter to me than I remembered (especially yams and sweet potato); They are plenty sweet on their own.
2. Cut out Processed Carbs
No more white bread: Only choose products that are made with at least one serving of whole grains.
After one month: only choose products that are made with only whole grain
Go for minimally processed: Limit your intake of grains in the form of flours and opt for eating them whole. When a grain is ground into a flour the surface area is increased, making it easier to be broken down by digestive enzymes. The easier the grain can be broken down, the higher its Glycemic Index is, this means it will raise your insulin levels more. Raised insulin levels correlates with fat storage.
One of the many benefits of giving up processed carbohydrates is that it also eliminates many other unhealthy options. Want to enjoy some hummus? Go ahead, but swap the white pita bread for some nutrient dense vegetables or multigrain crackers. Want to eat chicken? Have it grilled instead of breaded and fried. Going for the whole grain is cheaper too. Compare a three to four dollar box of cereal versus a pound of oats that will cost you no more than one dollar.
3. Drink only tea and water, no liquid calories
Go cold turkey on this one: Meals do not need to be accompanied be a calorie laden beverage. No more sugary juice with breakfast or sodas at dinner. Also, energy drinks have never been considered workout equipment, ditch those too.
Consider tea: There is some debate over which tea has the most health benefits, but as long as it does not have added sugar there is no harm done. Tea can provide beneficial antioxidants and the varieties that are naturally caffeinated can lend a boost in energy. If caffeine is something you prefer to avoid go for herbal teas.
If cutting calories is the goal, this is one of the easiest ways to do it. However, make sure that you are still well hydrated and monitor your water consumption. Your body and wallet will be happy once you stop spending your calories and cash on unnecessary beverages.
Trying to turn a whole unhealthy lifestyle upside down overnight never helped anybody. But, a simple and maintainable approach toward long lasting healthy habits did. Choose one of the suggestions above to gradually shift into a healthier you for the new year.