Healthy Upgrades: Resolution Check-In

We're a full month into the new year, complete with new resolutions. How are you doing so far? If weight loss was on your list, making a few little adjustments or upgrades to your lifestyle can make a big difference on the scale. Here are some tips that anyone can do, anytime. So, no more excuses!

Does your health need an upgrade? First, let’s remind ourselves what that word upgrade really means. "Upgrade" means to raise (something) to a higher standard, in particular, improve by adding or replacing components. 

The reason I think reminding ourselves what the word upgrade really means is because it reminds us that when we make changes or sacrifices, we get something in return. The reason most New Years resolutions fail or are forgotten by now is that we forget why we are doing them in the first place.

We want to feel better, so our sacrifice isn’t without lots of benefits. We need to constantly remind ourselves why we are doing what we are doing. Place reminders all over your life. Put them on the refrigerator, at your desk, in your car, wallet, everywhere you are, so your goal stays in front of your face all the time.

Making changes and eating healthy can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. For this particular list, I’m focusing on the specific actions that will help bring life back to your resolutions.

These particular foods/upgrades also help reduce or eliminate inflammation, as the objective goal of choosing these healthy food upgrades. Preventing or reducing inflammation is the best way to stay healthy, disease-free, and most importantly, feel great every day with fewer aches and pains, so we lose weight and shed body fat. Rather than view them as a punishment, I prefer to call them upgrades, because they are.

You are not alone! Sixty-eight percent of us are overweight in America, according to the CDC. And this number is expected to continue to grow rapidly. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than any other disease. It’s estimated that 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC)... unless we start to do things differently.

Here are three healthy habit upgrades that will also breathe new life into your resolutions:

#1: Make sleep your top priority. Sleep deprivation is worse than most people think. Lack of sleep has severe consequences to our long-term health. Research proves that people who consistently fail to get enough sleep are at an increased risk of chronic disease such as:

  • Mood swings and declining mental health, increased anxiety, and depression 
  • Chronic aches and pains from inflammation
  • Increased stress levels
  • Increased blood sugar levels (also contributes to weight gain). Diabetes equals high blood pressure, and heart disease, and that these conditions may lead to a shortened life expectancy.

Goal #1 should be to get more sleep! Sadly, trying to stock up on weekends by sleeping in it doesn’t work. Our bodies reboot when we sleep. For optimal health, aim for 7-8 hours per night, and the best way to do this is to create a sleep schedule and go to bed and wake up the same time every day. This requires you to plan your life around your sleep versus the other way around.

Exercise daily. The best time is as soon as you wake up, even if it's only five minutes... it matters. Exercising too late in the day can affect your ability to go to sleep and cause weight gain, which is what you don’t want.

Use natural sleep aids like melatonin to help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. Deep sleep is where our bodies heal, and melatonin also helps reduce belly fat and boosts immunity. I suggest that all of my clients take melatonin every night, even if they don’t have sleep issues because it’s so good for them. It also walks them away from the detrimental drugs that supposedly help induce sleep but actually hurt health by clogging the liver and inhibits the body's healing process. Taking melatonin works with your body, not against it!

#2: Swap out kinds of milk for metabolic boosting whey protein instead. Whey protein has less sugar and carbs and boosts metabolism 25 percent, which is critical to controlling weight as you age because metabolism declines every year. It’s also the #1 way to improve health, strengthen bones, and boost immunity.

Everyone should be drinking a clean protein shake daily, and products like Ensure® won’t cut it. They are highly processed, contain inferior protein sources, and are loaded with all kinds of sugars.

I suggest turning your black coffee into a metabolic and healthy boosting beverage. I have it every day, seven days a week, exactly 12 hours after my last meal to allow my body to fast every night for 12 hours. This lowers blood sugar and is great to slow the aging process and prevent all sorts of disease.

#3: Stop researching and stick to science! No matter who you are or how old you are or what ails you, a low-low approach is the best way to lose weight and stay healthy. Low-low is the best of all worlds... low-fat and low-carb.

Cardiologists prefer we eat this way because it's the best for heart health and losing weight after 40. C'mon people, seriously? Cave man-eating? We haven’t been bent over in years, and we no longer have hair on our hands. Our bodies have evolved and so should our diet!

Having said that, low-carb is best. Lower the bad carbs like bread, rice, pasta, and sugars. Alcohol and the gourmet kinds of milk we like to add to our excessive coffee drinking are causing us to gain weight at rapid paces, and we aren’t even aware of how it’s happening.

Focus on good carbs like green leafy vegetables, and keep your fat to 20 grams or less daily, if you want to live a long, healthy life. Saturated fats, like those found in cheeses and meats (kinds of bacon), are horrific for health and make us fat!

The kind of weight gain we see these days requires a special approach. Due to blood sugar surges (especially the kind of overeating we do on holidays and while traveling) is making our bodies are resistant to weight loss, which is a big problem. What we used to be able to do to lose weight no longer works. I repeat... It. No. Longer. Works!

Mind over matter. There is more hope than you think, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve got five pounds to lose or 105 pounds. These healthy habits above work every time, regardless of age or health issues, and your whole family can do them!

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