The end of the 2016 is close at hand, which means many of you are starting to think about the changes in your life that you want to make in 2017. The most popular one is getting to the gym more often and making fitness a priority. By the second week in January, gyms are flooded with new members and every piece of cardio equipment is getting drenched with sweat. It seems that by the end of February, the fitness frenzy begins to taper off and by April everything is back to normal. This cycle occurs year after year, just like the changing of the seasons in New England where I grew up.
Joining a gym is a great step to regaining your health, both physically and mentally, but if you do not change what you are putting into your body, frustration can set in very quickly when you don’t get the desired results you were looking to achieve.
Ask yourself these few questions: Do you eat out too much? Do you cook at home at least 5 days a week? How much processed food and sugar is in your family’s diet? When you go food shopping, do you spend more time on the outside aisles or the inside aisles?
A great New Year’s Resolution to make as a family is to start taking control of your own health by cooking healthy home-cooked meals and eliminating processed foods and foods loaded with sugar.
Working out is great, but the most important thing to focus on is your food intake. Substitute potato chips with fruit, bleached bread with nuts (if you’re not allergic). There are plenty of healthy alternatives you can eat instead of unhealthy choices. The first step is teaching yourself how to grocery shop correctly and not giving into the pressure of buying processed, prepared meals.
90% of your shopping should be done on the outside aisles. Your grocery basket should be filled with tons of vegetables, fruits and lean meats. A good rule to follow t is only buying items that have no more than 4 or 5 ingredients. If it takes you too long to read a label, put the item back on the shelf. The ingredients should all be naturally occurring and not words you can’t pronounce or something that sounds like should be taught in a chemistry class.
One big culprit contributing to the unhealthy American household is juice. We consume far too many sugary drinks in this country, and what makes it worse many of these drinks are marketed directly to children. Gatorade, Powerade, Orange juice and so on, are all loaded with excess amounts of sugar.
Try making your own juice with fruits and vegetables. Apple Cider Vinegar is also a very healthy drink when mixed with water and honey. Drink more water. I do not have any store bought juice in my house. I make my own juice and drink a ton of water.
This New Year, sit down as a family and have an honest discussion about your family’s health. If anybody is on medication for high blood pressure, pre-diabetic or just feeling sluggish, a change in how you eat can drastically improve your health. If you don’t know how to food shop correctly, there are plenty of trainers at gyms who take their clients shopping. Ask if that service is provided at the gym you belong to. Learn how to prepare different types of foods and try new dishes.
Cooking together is also a great way to bond as a family. If you have children, take them with you shopping and teach them how to pick out ripe fruits and vegetables. Also, allow them to prepare some meals in the kitchen under your supervision. Try doing a family challenge of consuming no soda or store bought juice for a week. Show them the difference between a healthy choice and a bad choice of food.
Now THAT is a New Year’s resolution that will pay dividends for a lifetime.
I hope you have a very Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!