It’s a new year and that means a new chapter. Take the time that you maybe didn’t last year to improve your health. Focus on 2019 and get to where you want to be with these 10 steps to a healthier you.
10 Steps to a Healthier You in 2019
Step One: A Year in Review
Look back on how your diet and your lifestyle was last year.
- Did you overeat?
- What was your routine fitness regime?
- Did you watch a lot of television?
- Were you happy with your weight?
- Were you confident in your skin?
- How were your energy levels?
- Do you smoke?
- How often did you eat out?
Write down anything that you can think of that you did last year that will help you to make better choices this year.
Step Two: Set Goals
Is your goal to lose weight? Do you want to be able to run up and down your stairway without becoming winded? Do you want to reduce cholesterol or lower your blood pressure? Or are you looking to gain strength? Feel better? Sleep better? Decide what you want to achieve over the next month, and over the next year.
One possible goal for your first month could be a resolution to take your lunch to work four days per week for each week this month instead of eating out every day. This saves calories and money.
Start with your statistics. Take body composition measurements and make your goals. Then write down your goals in a notebook or in the food diary you are going to create in step seven.
Step Three: Determine Your Needs
Here are some ideas you might want to consider:
- Do you have high blood pressure? If so you may wish to reduce sodium in your diet by avoiding canned and packaged foods.
- Are you overweight or obese? You need to decrease your calorie intake or increase your amount of physical exercise. You can choose a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet, just be sure to watch your calories and portion sizes.
- Do you have diabetes? If so, then you need to reduce your sugar intake.
- Do you have high cholesterol? Increase your intake of soluble fiber like the fiber found in oatmeal. It will help lower your cholesterol levels.
Reduce your intake of saturated fats and increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, flax, walnuts, and olive oil.
Step Four: Supplement
A healthy diet should give you all of the vitamins and minerals you need, but many people take vitamins just to make sure they are getting enough. There are several supplements available, but all you really need is a simple multivitamin. Speak with your health care provider before you take any additional supplements or if you have any health conditions.
Step Five: Design a Healthy Diet Plan
Here’s what you need to know to design your new diet:
- How many calories do you need to eat each day to reach your weight gain or weight loss goal?
- How do your eating patterns fit your lifestyle? Are you always on-the-go and need things quickly? Do you have a whole family to cook for?
- Do you feel better with three large meals per day or five smaller meals per day?
- Will you continue to eat in restaurants often?
- What types of fruits and vegetables do you like?
A healthy diet should give you five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day, 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day, five or six ounces of protein per day and a small amount of omega-3 essential fatty acids. To stick with your new diet, you’ll want to include foods you enjoy. If you love hamburgers, that’s okay. Make them at home with whole grain rolls and cut down the size of the burger patty, or use ground turkey. Add lots of lettuce, onion, and tomato. Serve your burger with a salad instead of fries.
- Use raw peppers instead of chips.
- Choose whole grain bread and pasta instead of white bread and white pasta.
- Skip the sugary desserts and have a small dish of fresh berries with a dab of whipped cream or non-fat whipped topping, then add a sprinkling of chopped walnuts.
- Use lemon juice instead of oil for as salad dressing.
- Choose low-fat ground turkey instead of high-fat ground beef to cut back on saturated fat (read the label – not all ground turkey is low in fat).
Step Six: Shop and Cook
Make a grocery list before you go shopping. Stay away from the snack food aisles and the prepackaged foods aisles when you shop, focus on the perimeter. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, lean meats, fish, and legumes. Avoid foods high in saturated fats, sodium, trans-fats and sugar.
The best cooking methods are essential for healthy nutrition, too:
- Sautéing is better than deep-frying. Frying foods adds fats and calories and doesn’t add any nutrition.
- Steam your vegetables instead of boiling them to mush. Steaming will preserve the vitamins found in the vegetables.
- When you cook your healthy meals at home, be sure to make a little bit extra to take to work or school the next day.
Step Seven: Keep a Food Journal
If you’re serious about changing your diet, losing (or gaining) weight, and improving your health, you’ll find that keeping track of things is key to your success in a simple food and exercise diary. This will help keep you motivated and help you get back on your diet if you have a temporary setback.
Be sure to note the portion sizes and write down the calories you eat every day. Add up the number of calories per day and your total for the week. If you need to lose weight, decrease the number of calories you need to eat each week by 500. For most people, that adds up to one pound per week.
Step Eight: Healthy Living Goals
Good nutrition is just one part of a healthy lifestyle. Another component of health and fitness is exercise. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you need to get out and get moving. In order to lose weight, it is important to increase aerobic activity like walking or running. If you need to increase your strength, then you need to start resistance training such as lifting weights.
Do you smoke? If so, you’ll do yourself a favor by quitting. Smoking has been connected to many chronic diseases, plus you will save a lot of money over the next year if you quit smoking.
How much alcohol do you drink? One drink per day has been shown to be beneficial. More than one drink per day can be detrimental to your health, however. If you find yourself drinking more than four ounces of wine, two ounces of liquor or twelve ounces of beer each day, then you may need to decrease your consumption of alcohol.
Step Nine: Reduce Stress
Stress is detrimental to your health. Stress includes daily events like constant deadlines at work; long drive times with excess traffic; more activities than time to do them; and emotional trauma like death or divorce. Here are some ways you can reduce your stress.
Step Ten: Stay Motivated and Maintain
Sometimes getting started with a new healthy diet and fitness plan is the easy part. Many of us hit occasional roadblocks due to busy schedules, loss of motivation, and sometimes we hit weight loss plateaus.
Those are the times when we feel like we do everything right, but the scale doesn’t seem to budge. When this happens, don’t give up. Here are some articles and resources that will keep you motivated:
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Love Ya’ll A Latte,
Faith Ellis is the creator and writer for Ladies, Lattes, and Lifting. She aspires to help women on their fitness and health journey and provide them with real and safe ways to reach their weight loss goals. In her free time, Faith enjoys writing fantasy novels, meal prepping, and spending time with her husband and two furbabies in their home in North Carolina.