Healthy New Year Resolutions


On the last day of the year 2010, when the clock stroke midnight, Sicilians would have consumed lasagna as it brings luck … Italians would have prepared a dish with lentils as they are shaped like coins and symbolize a wealthy new beginning…Greeks would have baked bread with a buried coin in the dough…Chinese would have adorned every front door with a fresh coat of red paint, as the red color denotes luck and happiness…In Spain they would have eaten twelve grapes as each grape would bring luck for each month of the year…And, You would have been greeting and jumping, Wishing this year, you would hold on your New resolutions…

The tradition of making new year resolutions dates back to 4000 years where Babylonians originated a very common resolution of returning something they had borrowed from someone during the previous year. Today, the most popular new year resolutions are: to lose weight, to quit smoking and to start a better relationship. Unfortunately and sadly, most people fail at these attempts.

Why most resolutions fail ?

In a recent study led by the psychologist Richard Wiseman,700 people had been surveyed and asked to describe their strategies to achieve their new year resolutions. The results showed that, only 22% succeeded in following a good strategy and the remaining 78% had failed in reaching their goals because they simply focused on the negative aspect of not achieving them. An in-depth examination of the successful strategies revealed five essential steps to achieve any resolution:

1-Dividing each goal into smaller realistic achievable tasks

2-Rewarding oneself each time a task is successfully achieved

3-Sharing your goals with your friends and hanging out more with those whore share similar goals

4-Focusing on the benefits that each resolution has

5-Keeping a diary of your daily progress

If you take for instance, the goal of losing weight and divide it into smaller tasks of cutting down your caloric intake to 1200 calories per day, exercising 4 times per week, rewarding yourself once every two weeks with a day where you can eat as much as you want, hanging out with people who are also following a diet plan, listing the health benefits of losing weight (decreased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, etc.) and finally writing down every day your food intake on each meal you’ll be successfully managing to achieve your goal!

My suggested healthy resolutions for the year 2011:

1-Remain Positive throughout the 365 days

“Optimistic people live longer, get fewer infections and suffer from less pain”. A recent research shows that men and women who disposed from enough optimism  were less sensitive to pain. Also, for you to score high in every aspect of your life, only positive thoughts and vibes will help you reach the mountain’s top!

2-De-stress and laugh till your hearts content

Whenever you stress out, your body directly releases, the stress hormone Cortisol that increases the fat deposits on the abdomen as well as the lipid and glucose levels in the bloodstream leading to weight gain.

The laughter therapy has long been known for its highly praised health benefits. Not only does it put you in a positive mood throughout the day but also, strengthens your immune system, sends more oxygen to your tissues improving breathing and facilitates your digestion, leaving your muscles relaxed. Laugh out loud as soon as you wake-up, it is contagious, doesn’t cost a penny and is a hundred percent effective!

3-Be Active

Find the type of exercise that makes you feel at ease and practice it at least 3 times a week.If you hate going to the gym, you can benefit from outdoors walking and jogging  or simply exercise at home by following a yoga/tae bo dvd or by playing and exercising at the same time on your video game (Playstation move).Regular exercise improves your blood pressure, blood glucose levels, increases your HDL levels, decreases the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, relieves stress, puts you in a good mood and most importantly  helps you lose weight!

4-Have breakfast everyday

One of the most common misconceptions among the Lebanese population is to skip breakfast in order to reduce the daily caloric intake when in fact studies have shown that a  healthy breakfast decreases your appetite throughout the day and helps you manage your weight problems.Also, it provides you with enough energy to boost your attention span and heightens your sense of well-being

5-Drink Milk everyday

Another misconception among the Lebanese population is the way drinking milk is suddenly stopped after the age of 18 due to the ignorance of the fact that, our daily calcium requirements increase with age.And that, several studies have found that milk and yogurt assist weight loss and maintain bone mass since a glass of milk or yogurt in the morning helps increase satiety and thus decreases the caloric intake by 9% at the next meal.In addition to that, dieters who took 3 to 4 servings of milk or yogurt while dieting have burnt more fat compared to their counterparts who didn’t.

6-Eat five meals per day

In order to  increase your metabolism and burn more calories you should eat three main meals (Breakfast, lunch , dinner) and include two snacks in between.

7-Become a Flexitarian

A flexitarian is a flexible vegetarian that consumes red meat once every week or two weeks and eats more vegetables, grains, cereals, fruits and nuts. By becoming a flexitarian one could weigh less than meat eaters, have fewer diseases (cancer, diabetes, heart disease) and live on average 3 .6 years longer! The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends to limit the meat consumption to 18 0z per week or less than 500g and to avoid processed meats!

8-Focus on healthy sweet and salty snacks

And who said that snacking on 30g of dark chocolate or 12 pieces of nuts with a glass of tomato juice doesn’t take part of a healthy balanced diet? On the contrary, in order to increase one’s metabolism and reduce one’s appetite at lunch and dinner snacking in moderation is more than crucial!

9-Increase your antioxidants intake

As a plant grows it produces a wide variety of natural chemicals to fight against the rain, the wind and the sun.Those chemicals hold the name of PHYTOchemicals(Phyto means plant).The happy fact is, when we eat those plants the phytochemicals get active in our bodies and protect us against all diseases!Thus, ensuring 2 to 3 servings of fruits per day and up to 5 servings of vegetables is mandatory!

10-Organize your eating hours and portion your plate properly

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”Luciano Pavarotti wasn’t wrong at all when he stated this quote that each and everyone of us must cherish and apply.We should never skip meals or postpone our lunch breaks.Another key to a healthy eating habit is to portion the plate properly: 50% salad, 25% proteins and 25% carbohydrates!

11-Take your time while eating

Your brain takes around 20 minutes to send a message to your stomach and to tell you to stop eating.Therefore, if you’re eating in a fast way, you will eventually end up eating twice the quantity in order to feel full.Also, studies have shown that if you take enough time to eat you will be saving around 70 calories at each meal which makes at the end of the day 210 calories; the amount that you could be willing to burn during your 20 minutes walk!

12-Apply the Hara Hachi Bu

The Hara Hachi Bu is a Japanese eating habit derived from the island Okinawa which holds the highest rate of longevity in the world. The habit consists of always eating 80% of your dish or eating till you’re 80% full. By applying this habit one will be definitely saving calories, feeling more energetic after a meal and decreasing the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases and others.

13-Control your drinks

Thinking about all the drinks as low calorie ones isn’t the best way of thinking! The only calorie free drink is water and many replace it with fruit juices or carbonated beverages when thirsty.Therefore, drinking everyday at least 8 cups of water is mandatory and counting the calories in your drinks is a must. A cup of café latte holds alone 190 calories, a glass of fruit juice holds between 110 calories and 150 calories, alcoholic beverages caloric amounts vary according to the type of alcohol but they’re all in general highly caloric except for the glass of wine that varies between 72 and 86 calories depending on the color!

14-Eat less outside and cook at home

The hidden amounts of fat and calories inside the dishes you order at different restaurants ranging from fast food to high end ones, would always remain unknown to you and thus decreasing your outings and focusing more on home made food would help you control your food intake. Moreover, the act of diving into the world of cooking doesn’t only help you portion your serving sizes but also discover the aromas and ingredients of each and every dish you’d be eating.

15-Get seven hours of sleep

When was the last time that you barely slept at night? Can’t you remember how much you ate the next day? And, how many sweet cravings you had?  Sleeping enough is a basic thing that will help you lose weight and manage your appetite.

A recent study has shown that by the simple fact of sleeping an extra hour per night one could lose around 4.5kgs per year

Another study at Harvard University showed that women who sleep less than 5 hours per night are more likely to be overweight than those who sleep 7 hours and tend to eat twice the portions the next day.

Are you in a complicated Relationship with Food?

Whether you are underweight, overweight or something in between, if you don’t like your body you will never be happy with it.
Lose weight without Dieting with a Healthylicious relaxing plan at the beginning of this new year! Book your appointment now!

Nicole Maftoum
Clinical Registered Dietitian

el Metn, Lebanon
(961) 70- 63 55 40

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