According to The Statistics Portal website, 53 percent of Americans made a resolution to save money in 2018 while 43 percent resolved to lose weight or get in shape. Other research shows most people want to commit to a healthier lifestyle, but they don’t make health related resolutions because they are afraid of failing.
I start my resolutions on December 1 because I needed a little practice before the New Year actually arrives. For 2019, I committed to one resolution per month so I can stay focused. The key to sticking with your resolutions is to keep them simple, write them down and remind yourself daily.
I committed to a healthy lifestyle years ago. When I changed my lifestyle and adopted a healthy diet and exercise program, I lost 45 pounds, decreased my total cholesterol by over 100 points, reversed my pre-diabetic condition and lowered my blood pressure and heart rate to that of a healthy athlete. The changes I made were not difficult, and I hope this column brings a little inspiration for readers to stick with their resolutions in 2019.
If you have health related goals, it is important to understand that exercise and nutrition are the keys to great health. Medications are great for treating symptoms, but nutrition and lifestyle changes are often more effective in treating the cause of chronic illness such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type-2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.
You don’t need a gym membership to get exercise. We are fortunate to have 300 days of sunshine every year in the Denver area, with average high temperatures above 40 degrees even during the coldest winter months. We have plenty of opportunity to get outside and walk for at least 30 minutes almost every day of the year. When it comes to exercise, walking for 30 to 60 minutes, five or more times per week is a great goal that will result in better health.
The nutrition side of the equation may be a little more challenging for some people. The typical American consumes more than twice the amount of protein and fat on a daily basis than is recommended for good health. Americans also eat far too many processed foods that contain refined carbohydrates, added sugar and sodium. Most Americans are deficient in fiber because they don’t eat enough whole grains, vegetables and fruits. The excess protein and fat, along with the lack of fiber contributes to excess weight, elevated cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and other health issues.
The only diet that has been scientifically proven to prevent and reverse chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes is centered on plant-based whole foods. The key to this diet is the elimination of processed foods and animal-based foods. I am not saying you need to give up the hamburger on the 4th of July or turkey on Thanksgiving; just don’t eat those foods every day. When it comes to your resolutions, start simple by giving up one unhealthy food each month during 2019, such as hamburgers, fried foods or cheese.
This website provides information on the benefits of eating a whole-food, plant-based diet, along with recipes that will keep you inspired to stay on track. If you want to learn more about a plant-based whole foods lifestyle from other experts, I would recommend looking at www.NutritionFacts.org and www.PCRM.org. These websites are non-profit organizations that help uncover the truth about diet, nutrition and lifestyle. If you have a health related resolution, please start with simple and realistic goals. You should also take the time to do your research and stay true to your health.