Losing weight is the most common New Year’s Resolution. What better way to start the coming year than with visions of a healthier you and plans to get there! This coming year, make your resolutions realistic and attainable. Start with these small steps that can lead to big lifestyle changes:

Be active.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of regular exercise. To reach your 30-minute goal, you can break it up into three 10-minute increments. Less than 10 minutes of activity will not have the same health benefits. Don’t forget strength training as well. Lift weights for at least 20 minutes, two- to three-times per week. Take it slow at first, and then increase your time and/or intensity once you feel comfortable. If you haven’t exercised in a while, talk to your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough to begin an exercise plan.

Eat breakfast every day.

You’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day… It is! Eat a healthy breakfast as early as possible. It will give you more energy, keep you feeling full so you’ll eat less later on, and allow you to make healthier choices.

Smart snacking.

This will keep you going throughout the day. Looking for healthier options can make sugary and high-fat foods less tempting. Some good snacks to pack are whole-grain crackers, baby carrots, rice cakes, fresh and dried fruits, whole wheat pretzels and raisins.

Track what you eat.

Keeping a food diary is a great habit to start. This will help you make the necessary diet modifications.

Cut sodium intake.

Sodium contributes to water retention and raises blood pressure. Make sure to read labels and as much as possible, avoid processed foods as it contain the most sodium. A low sodium diet lowers your risk of heart disease.

Control your portions.

If you want to downsize your figure, begin with downsizing your dishes. Studies show using smaller plates and bowls promote weight loss because they help to curb overeating.

Increase your antioxidant intake.

Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food. Cigarette smoke and radiation also produce free radicals. Eventually, the damage from these substances can result in cancer, inflammation, and heart disease. That’s where antioxidants come in. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sums up their role: Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown, but if you dip it in orange juice, which contains vitamin C (an antioxidant), it stays white. You can defend your body the same way by including rich sources in your diet. Berries, beans, nuts and dark chocolate are some foods that contain antioxidants.

Quit smoking.

If you’re having trouble quitting, start smoking less today. Try smoking only half a cigarette and skip as many of your usual smokes as you can. If you feel the urge, distract yourself by doing other activities, or get help right away. Smoking cessation groups can be extremely helpful and supportive and medications like nicotine patch can help decrease the cravings.

Get enough hours of sleep.

Adequate sleep makes you feel better, decreases risk for cardiovascular disease, and boosts memory. Making a commitment to get the proper quantity and quality of sleep can help you get focused, feel motivated, and have energy to achieve your goals. A comfortable mattress and pillow usually do the trick. This will make it easier for you to fall and stay asleep, and you may just find yourself wanting to go to bed. Along with your sleep resolutions, your other New Year’s resolutions will be easier to keep. You will have more energy to exercise. Your motivation will be higher to not smoke. You may be less hungry and it can be easier to lose weight. Cognitive thinking skills may increase, making it easier to learn and get more organized. You may even find yourself with more patience for those family members you committed to hang out with more often.

Expect great things for yourself.

What is motivating you to lose weight? Do you want to feel more energetic, look better in your clothes, or simply improve your health? Find your motivation, set your mind and get clear about what you want and then make use of that to inspire you throughout your journey.

Don’t forget to reward yourself when you achieve your goals. We at Alkaline Wellness wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

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