RIVER VALLEY DISTRICT: Checking In on Resolutions

By Gina Aurand
River Valley District - Foods, Nutrition & Health Agent

Here we are, more than half way through the month of January already! Did you make New Year's resolutions this year? After eating our way through the holiday season many of us made resolutions that had to do with eating less, exercising more, and losing weight. Maybe not necessarily in that order or maybe not all three, but probably at least one of your resolutions had to do with trying to be healthier. How are you doing? Many people don't make it through the month of January with their resolutions. Maybe you want to be healthier this year but just don't know where to start. Trying to be healthier is something we can all do better at. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming or difficult, but the key can be to start easy. Make one or two small changes and build from there.

If you are looking for some ideas to improve your health in 2018 here are a few things to try:
1. Wash your hands often with soap and water. This is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from infections and illnesses. Good hand washing has five easy steps. Wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry.

2. Make healthy food choices. Try to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Aim to add more whole grains to your diet. Pick low fat cuts of meat and try to work fish into your diet at least once a week. Pick foods that are low in fat, sugar, and sodium. Try to bake, broil, and steam foods rather than frying them. Be aware of portion sizes. If you need to, measure out your food until you are comfortable seeing what an appropriate amount looks like. Maybe use a smaller plate so that you see a full plate when filling it.

3. Get active. Maybe at first this means you park further from the door of the store. Then trying walking a little every day. You can build up your distance after a while. Adults need two and a half hours a week of moderate intensity physical activity. Get a friend or family member to walk with you. People are more likely to stick to exercise if they have a partner to encourage them.

4. Get more sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with many chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. The average adult needs seven or more hours a night.
I hope that you have continued to be successful in your resolutions for 2018. If you haven't, don't be discouraged. You don't have to wait for next year. You can start now. Start small and stick with your changes until they are habits. Then add another small change. Try to make 2018 your healthiest year yet. You won't regret it.