Typically we health writers entitle the beginning of the year article, New Year, New You, and I just wanted to be a bit more real and creative this year. After all, we shouldn't have to re-invert ourselves or our diets every year BUT we may all need to tweak or shift some entrenched habits and make them healthier, or simply update and revitalize some of our health habits. To that goal I'd like to get you thinking about what strategies you plan to engage with this year to be healthier, and by healthier I may be saying slimmer as well. What you didn't hear me ask, specifically, is how are you going to lose weight this year? Why not? Well partly because weight loss has to go hand-in-hand with health goals, and partly because I want to shift the emphasis to health first. There are habit changes you can make, which will not only improve your health profile, but will more than likely help you to lose weight (which, if you are overweight, will also help to further improve your health).
First habit change - work on that soda/sweet drink habit. There are so many reasons to not drink your calories. First of all you tend to not mentally process calories that you drink (unless it's a full-bodied healthy smoothie with protein and fruit). We humans tend to feel calories when we chew them. Our liquid calories are most often sweetened calories, meaning they're loaded with sugar and sometimes fat. So on top of possibly eating too many calories, you add extra liquid calories and it's a simple recipe for weight gain. There's also the issue of sweetened drinks and their impact on dental and gum health. So if it's not your weight that is the fulcrum for change, then make your oral health goal the big reason for reducing the number of high calorie drinks (including sweetened coffees, blended coffees, sports drinks, soda, juice beverages, sweetened teas, punch, and lemonade) you have daily. A new study indicates that the acidity of some of these beverages can also negatively impact dental health. Remember too, that whole milk is a beverage that should be consumed by children up to age one and then a shift to 1% or skim milk should be implemented. It's important to recognize that drinking 2% milk is not considered a healthy goal - there is little difference between whole milk and 2% milk from a calorie and fat perspective. Whole milk and creamers added to coffee or tea can also add loads of calories to an adult's diet. So what drinks do you switch to?
The jury is still out on diet (soda) drinks - there are some studies that suggest that diet drinks may confuse your brain's satiation perceptions, and actually make you hungrier. The best drinks to choose are zero-calorie (no artificial sweetener added) flavored waters, club soda or seltzer, unsweetened teas, black coffee (limited servings), and one or two servings of skim milk or simply use it as your go-to coffee creamer. A balanced diet can allow one serving (six ounces) of 100% juice as well.
For some people a beverage "habit" is hard to break so make slow changes; for others, this is an easy habit change to implement and the rewards are less overall calories in your daily diet along with healthier beverage choices.
Published On: January 05, 2010