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Hope, Health, and Happiness in 2015

By Aarti Patel Email By Aarti Patel
January 2015
Hope, Health, and Happiness in 2015

New Year tips to help you make positive changes to your well-being and lifestyle.

Make fitness a priority: Instead of waiting for time to appear, make exercise a priority and find time. We all find time to watch TV, go shopping, talk on the phone, and spend time with friends; so likewise, make time to exercise and get fit. Plan to exercise on most days of the week even if it’s just for 15-30 minutes, and set SMART goals when it comes to improving your fitness or losing weight to help you stay focused and consistent. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. Goal setting will not only allow you to be successful, but will also help you reach your desired outcome.

Eat low glycemic foods: The glycemic index gives information on how carbohydrate foods affect blood sugar levels and insulin. Foods that are low on the glycemic index improve energy and help manage weight and blood sugar levels, thereby improving overall health, whereas foods with a high glycemic index raise blood sugar levels more than those that fall in the medium to low category. Swap out white breads, potatoes, white pasta, and white rice for oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans, and lentils.

Start your day with a power packed breakfast: I strongly believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it recharge your body but it also fuels your brain, keeping you fuller longer! This is the time when you can get away with extra calories, but unfortunately this is one meal where most people don’t eat enough or skip it entirely. If you’re into skipping meals, dinner should be the one to skip, not breakfast. Plan your breakfast each morning just as you would plan a dinner. Include foods such as quinoa, oatmeal, egg whites, beans, fresh fruits and berries, veggies, low fat yogurt, flaxseed, and nut butters.

Exercise self-discipline: This simply means leading a disciplined life by exerting self-control. Eat your meals at the same time every day. Keep them consistently healthy and nutritious. Go to bed at around the same time daily. Wake up at the same time each morning. Exercise on most days of the week preferably around the same time. Self-discipline does not mean that you should lead a restricted lifestyle, but rather that you are in control of your positive actions and decisions by choice. This is a skill that, when practiced, can help overcome negative behaviors such as smoking, alcohol addiction, and overindulging. The result is a rewarding, successful, and healthy lifestyle.

Set aside ‘me’ time: Most of us are too busy wearing many hats daily, and eventually this can cause stress and wear us out! When we take care of ourselves first, it helps us take care of others better. If not daily, then at least three times a week, set aside some time to be alone. This time should be just for yourself without friends, family, children, or electronics. Whether it’s going for a walk by yourself or meditating in a quiet room, having time to yourself not only teaches you to enjoy your own company but also allows quiet time to think and connect with yourself. Plan your time in advance and don’t give up your time for anything else. ‘Me’ time allows you to recharge, de-stress and be a healthier, happier person!

[Aarti Patel serves as the columnist for Fitness Lifestyle. She has a B.Sc. in Health Information Administration and is certified by the American Council on Exercise as a Personal and Group Fitness Instructor, and Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach. She can be reached at 404-376-5655; info@aartifitness.com. This column rotates monthly along with the Ask the Doctor column by Gulshan Harjee, M.D.]

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