As 2015 begins to roll out, take this time to think about the person YOU want to be and the accomplishments you aim to achieve. It helps to first reflect on 2014’s past successes, achievements, and best moments and use them as fuel for the upcoming year. In order to be your best self, you must be healthy in all facets: emotionally, physically and socially. I challenge you to take on these 7 steps for your best year yet! Do more for YOU. Taking care of YOU will help YOU live life to its fullest!
1. Drink more water. Our bodies are approximately 70% water. Most of us do not drink nearly enough. Hydrate your cells and your outward appearance will glow. Your body runs best on all levels when properly hydrated. And if you are drinking more water, naturally you will be drinking less sugar-sweetened or artificially-sweetened beverages that your body has no requirement for.
2. Eat more whole, plant-based foods. Plant foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans. These are the foods that grow from the ground. If you are eating more plant-based foods, then you will naturally be taking in more fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, heart-healthy fats and less bad fats and sodium. Think of antioxidants as anti-aging, anti-disease, anti-damage to the body. Plant-based foods help lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer. So make plant foods the bulk of your diet in 2015.
3. Sleep more. Get -7-8 hours most days of the week. Most of us do not get adequate sleep and we probably don’t realize how tired we actually are. Get the recommended 8 hours a couple days in a row and see how good you feel. It’s wonderful.
4. Exercise. Exercise helps you feel and look better–mentally and physically. Walk your dog, sign up for classes at your local gym, put an exercise App on your smart phone or iPad. Get a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps per day (5 miles). Just MOVE!
5. Stimulate your brain. Read more. Travel to new destinations. Take an art or cooking class. Sign up for a 5K. Start a new business you are passionate about. Find activities that make you happy.
6. Get more sunshine. Vitamin D plays numerous roles in our body and more of us are deficient than realize. Vitamin D is found in very little food sources, with the exception of mushrooms and fortified dairy and non-dairy milk. So our body has this amazing ability to synthesize it with exposure to the sun as it absorbs into our skin. Furthermore, getting more in touch with nature has stress-lowering effects beneficial for overall health.
7. Laugh more. Laughing lowers stress. When you start to laugh more you may start to see certain situations aren’t as bad as you think. Share more laughs with friends and family.
So make this your year of YOU! Put in the effort to be healthy and happy so YOU enjoy your life more. Happy 2015!!
Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of The Trim Traveler and The Teen Eating Manifesto. She is a nutritionist and writer based in Huntington, Long Island and NYC. Lisa specializes in weight management and diabetes for teens and adults. Visit Lisa’s website for more information.