New Years Resolutions: Learning better habits

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – We see it every year. Come January 1st, people flock to the gym and diet books fly off shelves to try to lose weight. But instead of investing in expensive diet plans or gym memberships that last a month…why not try something more sustainable? Dr. Laura Christoph, Professor of Nutrition, shared a habit-based approach to health.

New Years Resolutions: A Habit-Based Approach

It takes about 3 weeks to a month to make or break a habit.
Think about it. Focus on a single habit every 3 weeks and practice it daily, without fail. Once it becomes second nature, pick up a new one. In one year’s time, you will have transformed your life through 17 new habits!

Start with something small, and commit to it for three weeks.
Do it every day, without fail. Once it becomes second nature, move on to a different habit.

How to Get Your Habit Muscles Working:

Crowd in a fruit and vegetable at every meal: It is more fun to add things to our diet than deprive ourselves and take things away. Try committing to a fruit or veggie at every meal and snack throughout the day.
a. For Breakfast, have a green smoothie, a veggie and egg scramble, or some yogurt with fruit
b. For lunch and dinner, add veggies to soups, use spaghetti squash in place of pasta, and mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes
c. With baked goods, replace some oil or butter with veggie purees (See recipe!)
d. Try fruit for dessert and crudités with dip for snacks in place of chips.
e. When all else fails, you can use a veggie powder, such as “amazing grass” or “greens plus” as a supplement.

10 minutes of activity:
Lastly, I often recommend to completely sedentary clients that they commit to 10 minutes of physical activity each day. This might be a walk at lunch time, a short yoga practice in the morning, or a 30 minute YouTube exercise video after work. Sometimes, just committing to 10 minutes can set the foundation for daily physical activity. On the other hand, if you are already quite physically active, but avoid some of the exercises that could keep you grounded and injury free such as meditating, stretching, or mobilizing.

Use a simple food and fitness goal for your first 6 weeks, then add on from there. 2015 will be your healthiest year yet!

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