On Your Health

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Don't Give Up on Your New Year's Resolutions!

Today we have a post from our guest blogger, Alix Benear, who is a registered dietitian at the INTEGRIS PACER Fitness Center (now YMCA Healthy Living Center - INTEGRIS). She completed the Coordinated Program of Dietetics at Texas Christian University and her Master of Science from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Hi everyone. I'm Alix. It's Jan. 8 and we're coming to the end of the first week of the new year. For many of us, the new year marks a time of both reflections on the past and hopeful new intentions for the future.

Did you wake up on Jan. 1 with every intention of overhauling  your diet? If so, how did you do? Have you found yourself right where you started just a few days later? Maybe you’re in that position right now, feeling helpless and frustrated with yourself, and already think your goals for 2016 are a wash.

But I’m here to tell to you something important. Give yourself a little grace and a second chance! The biggest mistake we make when setting a resolution is biting off more than we can chew. Here is my advice:

Pick one change to focus on at a time.

Give yourself a week or two to fully implement it and then choose another.

Resolve to make small, healthy changes all year long.

That's it. By going a little easier on yourself, and aiming to make simple changes that will still have a big impact on your health, you just might find you are able to actually succeed in the nutrition goals you've set for yourself in 2016.

Here are some little changes you can make that will have a huge impact on your diet.

Stop drinking soda, both regular and diet, or at least cut back the amount you drink.

Soda has no nutritional value or benefit. You probably already know that regular soda is LOADED with sugar, way too much sugar. This week the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services announced its new dietary guidelines for Americans, which it publishes every five years. One of the main takeaways: Americans need to cut way back on their sugar intake. Right now on average they are consuming 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, when they should be consuming no more than 12. Did you know that just one can of soda has about 10? But even diet soda has been shown to feed into hunger triggers, dull your ability to fully taste sweet foods and leave you craving more. Both regular and diet soda also trigger the release of insulin to promote fat storage in the body and have a lot of unwanted chemicals.

Get a restful night sleep.

Both sleep and hormones are controlled in the same sectors in the brain. When you are tired hormones increase in your blood and those same hormones may increase your appetite. The jury is still out on an exact recommendation on how much sleep we need, but it is estimated to be somewhere between 7 and 9 hours.

Add probiotics to your diet through yogurt or a supplement.

Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial to your body. They are most commonly associated with promoting a healthy digestive system, but have recently been linked to health throughout the body. An imbalance in these microbes has been associated with obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, and a number of digestive diseases. Get probiotics into your diet by eating active-culture yogurt and fermented foods. You can also grab a probiotic supplement at your local health food store.

Eat more non-starchy vegetables.

Non-starchy veggies like leafy greens, carrots, asparagus, onions and peppers are some of the most nutritionally dense foods. While they are low in calories, they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Not only should you aim to eat 4 to 5 servings of veggies each day, aim to make them different. The more variety you consume, the greater chance you have of meeting your nutritional needs through food without vitamin or mineral supplementation.

Reduce your intake of fast and processed foods.

Think of these foods as anything that comes out of a box or drive-thru window. They are laden with empty calories, sugar and fat. In addition these foods often contain numerous preservatives to keep them stable on store shelves and in your home. They are linked to weight gain and obesity, so really try cutting your intake of fast and processed foods in half to start. Once you're there keep reducing the amount of fast and processed foods as much as you can throughout the year.

That's it! If you make these five simple suggestions a priority, you will start seeing great gains in your health in 2016. Remember, 2016 is only eight days old so don't give up! Alix offers personalized nutritional counseling to clients, designed to meet their individual health goals. Make an appointment with her by calling PACER Fitness Center at (405) 949-3891.

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