Nutrition: Embrace sustainable New Year’s resolutions for long-term health

Bri Edwards PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

As we bid farewell to another year, many of us are beginning to set new intentions and embrace the promise of a fresh start.

New Year’s resolutions are a popular tradition, but they often fade away as the year progresses. So this new year, I invite you to switch up the usual “workout x amount of days/week” or finding a new 30-day diet to follow and engage in resolutions that have the ability to support your health for the long run.

Understanding your body’s nutritional needsMost of the time when we embark on a journey to improve our health, we tend to outsource it to someone else. This often involves following food and/or exercise programs for a specified period without really understanding what our bodies need.

As women, we have unique nutritional requirements compared to men. Our bodies and hormones react differently to meal times, meal spacing and macronutrients.

This year, try focusing on educating yourself about what your body needs as a woman, taking into account your current life stage. Approach this with curiosity and explore your habits around food without judgment.

Embracing your habits for sustainable health

To improve our health, understanding our habits can be a game changer. In time, we develop habits and triggers that serve us for a period until they no longer do.

For instance, eating in front of the TV or while working each day can lead to poor digestion and a disconnect from hunger and fullness cues. Realizing these habits can significantly support women in their journey towards improved health, often more effectively than drastic dietary changes.

Exploring new foods instead of diets

Rather than trying a new diet, have some fun in the kitchen and experiment with new foods. There is no shortage of new diets to try these days, but their long-term effectiveness often is limited.

This year, I suggest taking control of your nutritional choices and learning to explore new foods that could benefit your health.

A simple way to start is by picking one new food per week and incorporating it into your routine. This gradual approach helps you “crowd out” less supportive foods with more nourishing alternatives.

For example, trying spinach one week by adding a side salad to dinner can introduce you to a variety of nutrients without the sense of restriction that diets often bring.

This new year, let your resolutions support your long-term well-being. Embrace gradual change instead of overwhelming, restrictive approaches.

Studies show that taking a one-step-at-a-time approach to new health habits increases their chances of sticking.

By adopting sustainable resolutions that prioritize your long-term health, you can make meaningful and lasting improvements in your well-being.

Bri Edwards is a holistic health coach at Healthy Foundations in Dubuque.

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