Happy New Year! Like many, you may have made a New Year’s resolution. However, did you know that only 8 percent of us actually succeed in keeping our resolutions? This year, don’t just resolve—make a promise to yourself or someone else. Think that the difference between a promise and a resolution is just semantics? Think again.
A resolution is simply the mindset that you are determined to do something, but a promise is a commitment and an oath to achieving your goals.
At our office, we are providing promise cards from Because I Said I Would, a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity, so that you can promise to make this your healthiest and happiest year ever!
Stumped on what to promise yourself?
Here are some ideas:
1) Cut the Sugar, Increase Fiber
Most health experts now agree that chronic sugar consumption is the primary cause of obesity and leads to obesity-related illness. Chronic sugar intake leads to fat accumulation, fatty liver disease, unhealthy cholesterol ratios, heart disease, type 2 diabetes—and that’s just the start of the list. Sugar is also the primary cause of the world’s most rampant and preventable disease: tooth decay.
The World Health Organization recommends we cut our sugar consumption down to 5 percent of our daily calories. That’s 26 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. Note: if you drink soda, you will need to limit your consumption to two-thirds of a 12-ounce can for the entire day. And that would mean none of your other food for the day can include sugar.
To tame your insulin response and reduce the impact sugar has on your body, increase your fiber intake. The Institute of Medicine recommends about 38 grams of fiber each day for men and 25 grams per day for women. That means more fruits, more veggies, nuts, legumes and whole grains. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel, even within your first week of upping your fiber.
2) Avoid the Artificial Additives
Eating restaurant-prepared meals, fast food and processed or prepackaged food means that you are eating a lot of hidden ingredients—ingredients that put you at risk for obesity and obesity-related diseases, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and gut and skin problems. Many of these result in chronic systemic inflammation from a sensitivity to chemically processed, genetically modified or full of sugar, salt and fat.
Stick with whole foods as much as possible. And if you eat dairy or meat, you want to know that the animal was not munching on a bunch of chemicals during its lifetime that are going to end up stored in your body fat.
If you take a look at the ingredients of anything and don’t recognize them as food, there is a reason: they aren’t food. If you overload your body too much with these foreign substances, your body will let you know with a negative reaction.
3. Break Away From Addiction
If you are dependent on anything—sugar, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, junk food, prescription drugs used for other purposes, marijuana or other street drugs—your health is in jeopardy. Addiction is also psychologically damaging, as you carry it around like a monkey on your back.
Take the first step during the new year. Find help—a program, sponsor, or accountability partner. Fixing addiction is never easy on your own. And it is a one-day-at-a-time job. Remember, though, that days add up to weeks, months and years, until you are living a longer, healthier, and happier life.
4. Get Moving!
A sedentary lifestyle is associated with weight gain, loss of mental clarity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, depression and even colon cancer. This year, get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.
That is a good investment of your time. The benefits of exercise include helping you manage your weight, enhance your mood, boost your energy, improve your sleep quality and enrich your sex life. Not bad for a little over two hours each week!
5. Become Your Own Health Advocate
If you are an adult, chances are no one cares about your health as much as you do. Keep track of your medical and dental signs and symptoms, screenings, test and treatments on a computer or in a notebook this year if you haven't in the past.
If you suspect a disease or have a diagnosis, do some quality research on the Web. If you are taking prescription medications, read up on the long term health risks.
Most importantly, never stop asking questions. Even if the questions stay the same, the answers may change as knowledge evolves.
6. Floss Daily
Only four out of 10 Americans report that they floss daily and nearly 20 percent don’t floss at all, according to the American Dental Association.
Why is flossing daily a change worth making? Good oral hygiene can make a major difference in your systemic health, but so does the diagnosis of silent diseases, such as decay, periodontal disease, occlusal disease, and oral cancer. Yes, good oral health really does help you live longer and better.
If you are one of the 60 percent of Americans who put daily flossing on the backburner, resolve to change your oral hygiene habits in 2017 so you can have a lifetime of good health.
What are you promising to do this year? Let us know in the comments below or stop by our office to pick up your own promise card!