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4 Tips for a Healthier New You in the New Year

By Ms. Qula Madkin, MSU Extension Service

2022 is here, and so are many New Year’s resolutions, goals, and strategies.

Every year millions of Americans vow to lose weight, eat healthier, and be more active. Unfortunately, many resolutions fail due to harsh restrictions, fad diets, and gimmicks that don’t work.

Making a lifestyle change is all about a balanced approach.

Here are four New Year’s nutrition and wellness tips to get you started:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! We hear this all the time but staying hydrated is essential for health from the inside out. Aim to drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day. You can also calculate half of your body weight in ounces to get an estimate of how much water you need daily. Water rich foods also count toward your daily water intake. Eat more water-rich foods, like watermelon, cucumber, broth, and soup. Proper hydration won’t cause weight loss on its own, but it’s necessary for good health, bodily functions, and regular digestion.

  • Get your rest. Adequate sleep is important for regulating hormones. A lack of sleep can cause hormone shifts in ghrelin (the hunger control hormone), leptin (the appetite-suppressing hormone), and cortisol (the stress hormone). Hormone imbalances from a lack of sleep may cause cravings for unhealthy foods that could derail your progress and cause weight gain. Work towards getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep nightly. For more information about nutrition and sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation website.

  • Add rather than subtract. Instead of eliminating or avoiding foods, find ways to add more:

    • Vegetables. Consider filling half of your plate with vegetables.

    • Movement and physical activity that you enjoy.

    • Self-care and relaxation.

    • Immune-support foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices.

  • Find your WHY other than a number on a scale. Think quality of life, longevity, better blood test numbers, more energy, and less stress. The New Year is not about the scale. It’s about you, the person.

Bottom line: Real fundamental change is a series of small steps. Be kind to yourself, think outside of the scale-only box, and set SMART goals for success. For more tips on setting SMART goals and nutrition and wellness tips that support long-term health, join our MSU Nutrition and Wellness Facebook Group.

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