New Year, New Me

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Hannah Hale | hhale3@radford.edu 

How to Be Healthier in 2018

We are a month into the New Year, and the most popular resolution Americans have is to lose weight.

Instead of defining “healthier” as shedding pounds, observe it as a goal to feel healthier and take care of your body. Being attentive to your well-being is crucial to your overall quality of life. It is not too complicated to make small, gradual lifestyle changes that can make a huge difference.

The most important lifestyle habit is eating! It is usually smart to eat smaller portions, especially since America’s portion sizes are significantly larger than portions in other countries, but restricting yourself will only lead to quitting easily.

Do not cut out your most beloved foods. Instead, be more mindful and allow yourself to enjoy your favorites responsibly. Counting calories obsessively or eating significantly less will only make it more challenging to keep up with your goal of living healthier.

Try including more plant-based foods in your diet, be mindful of your meats, and do not eat when you are not hungry. Being responsible and paying attention to your habits will help you understand what your boundaries are. Do not feel guilty if you overeat one night! You are only accountable to yourself, and you should be kind to yourself.

A simple way to significantly improve your health is to drink more water. Soda consumers shake to their core when this is suggested, but just replacing one soda a day with water is fantastic. You can gradually reduce the number of sugary drinks you consume, but it is up to you if you want to give them up entirely or not. Just remember to get enough water either way.

Be sure to set attainable exercise goals for yourself. Doing so allows you time to get into the swing of exercise rather than attempting to run on a treadmill for an hour on your first day at the gym. You can start small by doing home workouts using your body weight. Try doing some exercises just a few minutes a day, and eventually, it will become more comfortable with time.

Do not expect yourself to go to the gym five days a week if you have not been in months. Start out a couple of days a week and add more when you feel comfortable. A weightlifter did not start off lifting hundreds of pounds on their first day.

Allow yourself time to grow. If you are really lost and need some guidance, try the Group X classes at the Recreation and Wellness Center on campus. They offer a variety of classes such as yoga, BODYPUMP, Zumba, Cycling, and more. Taking a class can give you an opportunity to learn and make friends!

It is important to point out that doing these things could help you lose weight, but it could also make you gain weight. This is why the scale is unreliable. You could have 10 pounds of fat, but that fat would be significantly larger than 10 pounds of muscle. Also, the more muscle you gain, the more fat you burn. If you are not losing weight or you are gaining weight, it does not mean that you are not progressing.

It is a great thing to aspire for better self-care. Remember always to be kind to yourself, and reward yourself for every milestone you hit. It is entirely possible to live healthier without spending tons of money or time. The goal is to feel good and feel healthier through positive lifestyle changes.

Picture credit: (www.nirsa.net): https://nirsa.net/nirsa/awards/outstanding-sports-facilities-award/outstanding-sports-facilities-awards-recipients-2017/