New Year's Resolutions and Eating Better

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If you are like many Americans, you have probably made the New Year's resolution to eat better in the coming year. With the added inches and pounds that many of us are currently carrying, this may very well be the most popular resolution made this year. Thanks COVID! Changing your diet and the way you approach food is no easy task. We tend to fall into many of the same eating patterns that we grew up with as they bring us a sense of comfort and nostalgia even though they may not be the best for our physical-and in some cases mental-well being. Breaking the cycles that have become a part of our every day routine takes time and dedication, but with some common sense tips, you can easily retrain yourself to eat healthier and enjoy yourself while you do so. How do I know? Because I have done it myself.  And I am about to do it again.

An obvious starting point for such information is the internet, but the internet is filled with so much false and misleading information that it can do more harm than good. It doesn't help that when you search for weight loss tips, the first several search results are peddling some kind of diet program. While some of these programs are legitimate and have helped people lose weight, many are simply advertising the latest and greatest diet trend that only help you lose weight by shrinking your wallet. These restrictive plans may lead to a dramatic, short term loss of weight they are not sustainable or healthy. The key to safe and successful weight loss is to adopt healthy habits that you can maintain for the long term. These habits include:

1. Drink plenty of water. You've been hearing for years to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and for good reason. It works! It's great for your overall health and well-being, but staying hydrated also helps to keep your hunger in check. One study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, showed that people who were not adequately hydrated tended to have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) than those who were. 

2. Don't waste your calories on beverages. Calories can hide in plain sight-even in products that project a healthy image. Sports drinks, tea, juice and flavored waters all seem like better choices than soda, but many of them are packed full of calories, artificial and added sugars. 

3. Cut added sugars. Just like calories, sugar can creep up on you from unexpected sources. We all know by now that soda, candy and baked cooks such as cookies and cakes tend to contain high amounts of sugar and offer little nutritional value, but even organic and items marketed as healthy alternatives can harbor an unhealthy amount of sugar. 

4. Add more fiber to your diet. Fiber takes longer for your body to digest than most other foods, so when you eat a meal rich in fiber, you feel full longer. 

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