How to Celebrate the New Year, Without Falling into the Diet Trap.

 

Humans are unique. While animals are using this time to bulk up, hunker down, and rest until the spring (think bear in a cozy den,) this is the time that most of us go into overdrive. We work long days, don’t see as much sunlight as we’d like, have to brave the hustle and bustle of stores, and are surrounded by tasty food that we feel pressured to eat (or not eat.) 

 

As if that’s not enough, the pressure to make drastic changes come New Year is on. There’s a reason why gym memberships spike in January and fall in the months to come: these drastic changes are unrealistic and hard to maintain. This year, we challenge you to focus on small, achievable changes over a realistic period of time. Here are some ideas to get you feeling your best this winter, without all the pressure. 

Make time to practice self-care. 

Shorter days + colder weather + longer to-do lists mean that self-care typically falls to the wayside. The truth is, self-care can actually improve your mental health and reduce your risk of burnout. Start small: self-care can look like setting goals around good sleeping habits, finding a physical activity that you enjoy, setting realistic goals around food, and maintaining your oral health. 

Don’t make dieting your New Year's Resolution. 

If diets worked consistently, the “New Year's Diet Resolution” wouldn’t be a thing. The problem is that most diets are highly restrictive and unattainable. An intuitive eating approach, paired with small changes over time, is a great way to start achieving your goals in a realistic and steady way.

 

Brush those chompers! 

Oral health is so important to your overall health. Your mouth is the entry to your digestive tract, so taking care of your teeth can be the first line of defense. Be sure to brush twice daily, floss at least once a day, and schedule regular check-ups with your dentist. 

Incorporate more whole food into your diet. 

The key to this is starting small – You don’t have to start eating a raw diet!  Instead, try to think about what you can add instead of taking away. Swap out a refined grain for whole grain, add a piece of fruit to your lunch (apples and bananas are portable and low-mess,) or add a side of vegetables to your dinner. Eating seasonally is a great way to eat inexpensive, high-nutrient foods that your body will love, no matter the weather! 

Eat food that your teeth will love. 

Eating a variety of foods that are rich in nutrients promotes healthy gums and teeth. Food rich in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C is a great place to start. Bonus: vitamin C is a great way to boost your immune system during cold and flu season. If possible, cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks. If you do want to enjoy some tasty treats, brushing after is always a great practice. Here are some more holiday tips for healthy teeth!  

Boost your fiber intake. 

During this time of year, the cold weather and long days may make you feel much hungrier than usual. Fiber can help you feel fuller for longer support your overall gastrointestinal health. Some fibers can even act as a prebiotic! Fruits and vegetables are a great way to get fiber, and they are packed full of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. 

Consult with the experts. 

Sometimes, it helps to have someone cheering you on. Working with an expert can help you set realistic goals around health changes, and give you some gentle accountability. Contact Loveland Family Dentistry and Tiana Sexton Nutrition today! 

 

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