Two of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to work out and lose weight. However, it can be difficult to suddenly change your lifestyle. If you don’t have the time or money to join a gym this New Year, make some healthy changes to your diet first.
A healthier diet can lead to weight loss and many other health benefits, including reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
What foods should you focus on to eat healthy or lose weight? A balanced daily diet should include fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and low-fat dairy products.
Most Americans don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables. For a balanced diet, you can aim for at least 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Most Americans eat the recommended amount of grain, but not enough whole grains (like whole wheat bread, oats, quinoa, brown rice, popcorn, and many more).
Instead of restricting yourself, think about what foods you can add to your day. If your goal is to lose weight or eat healthier, think about your current diet and what foods you might be missing.
It’s easier to set small, specific goals when making a lifestyle change. Think SMART – your weight loss goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. An example of a SMART goal: I’m going to eat four servings of vegetables a day this week. Another example is making dinner at home six evenings a week before the end of January. Your goals should be personal to you. Use measurable goals that you know you can achieve to avoid discouragement. Starting an extreme or ambitious diet is often unhealthy and can make you “give up.” If you are planning to lose weight, remember that regular weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is safer and longer lasting than rapid weight loss.