Tick-tock, tick-tock. . . with the blink of an eye another year has passed! When reflecting back on the previous year, did you achieve what you wanted? If not, don’t fret, here’s to another year, a year for: happiness, success, growth, goals, improvement, learning and enjoyment.

SETTING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Let me guess, every new year you want to feel and look better by losing weight, you want to eat healthier, improve fitness levels, perhaps you want to save more money, spend more time with loved ones or be successful. Self-improvement is on top of the list when looking at what types of resolutions people set (1). However, despite good-intentions, only a small fraction of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals. So what is everyone doing wrong and how can we improve on this? Let’s look at a few ways of setting better resolutions as well as some resolutions that are worth sticking to.

SET SMART RESOLUTIONS

One could say that human endeavour is geared at setting and striving to achieve goals. Goals form part of our everyday lives: how you conduct your relationships, what successes you would like to achieve at work, what you do during your spare time… Everything above comes down to how you prioritise and what you would like to accomplish. (2) One therefore has to consciously plan and work hard to achieve what you desire. If you don’t know where you’re going, you will get lost on the way. A SMART resolution is S – Specific, M – Measureable, A – Attainable, R – Realistic and T – Time-bound; if these criteria are met, the chances of sticking to resolutions will be much higher.

SOME RESOLUTIONS THAT I CONSIDER WORTH STICKING TO ARE:

1. Eat breakfast daily

Eating breakfast helps kick-start your metabolism, which in turn can help you burn more calories during your day. It also supplies you with energy to effectively carry out your daily tasks. These are only a few reasons why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A good breakfast should include whole-grain carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats and preferably be of a low Glycaemic Index (GI). Skip the high sugar, processed foods like pastries, donuts and sugary cereals. FUTURELIFE® has many delicious and healthy breakfast options available. To add some variety check out delicious recipes at http://futurelife.co.za/category/recipes(5)

2. Include small, frequent meals and snacks

Eating smaller, frequent meals helps to boost our metabolism, keeps our blood glucose levels in check and keeps our appetite controlled. If we leave big gaps breakfast and lunch we tend to over hunger ourselves and indulge too much at our next meal. However, what we choose to eat is extremely important. Healthy snacks that are SMART should be contain a low-GI carbohydrate source, be low in refined sugar, fat as well as sodium and should be of a controlled portion size. (5) Some convenient and nutritious snack options provided by FUTURELIFE® include a FUTURELIFE® Smart Drink™, a shake made with 30-40g FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN or Zero Smart Food or a FUTURELIFE® High Protein or High Protein LITE Smartbar.

3. Eat at least 5 fruit and vegetables each day

Eating 5 fruits and vegetables everyday may sound like a lot, but when looking at the incredible benefits associated with this habit as well as the relatively small required portion sizes, you will soon realise that it’s definitely doable. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals, each playing different, important roles in our bodies. We want to try to eat a fruit and vegetables of a variety of colours as each is rich in different nutrients. They are also an excellent source of dietary fibre, which makes us fuller and helps us to maintain a healthy gut, preventing digestive problems and constipation. High fibre diets may also help reduce your risk of bowel cancer. Fruits and vegetables are also high in anti-oxidants which helps protect against various diseases. Looking at portions, a small fruit approximately 120g will count as 1 portion. For 1 vegetable portion you could eat half a cup of cooked veggies or 1 cup of raw veggies.

4. Choose low-GI, high fibre options

When we eat carbohydrates our body converts this into a type sugar called glucose. Glucose is the main source of energy for our body. After eating, the time it takes for our bodies to convert carbohydrates into glucose largely depends on the type of carbohydrate as well as which food contains it. Refined carbohydrates like white bread, sweets, cool drinks and biscuits will usually be high GI, this means the glucose will be released quickly. Low GI carbohydrates are foods like FUTURELIFE® Smart Bread™, sweet potato or whole-wheat pasta, these are digested more slowly, preventing glucose spikes and thereby helping to keep us fuller for longer. We should choose low GI options as far as possible. Generally low-GI foods are also higher in fibre. The importance of fibre was touched on in the previous point. High fibre and low GI options, when eaten as part of a balanced, calorie controlled diet can help promote weight loss. Did you know: FUTURELIFE® Smart Fibre™ provides 10.3g of fibre per 45g perving, that’s more than a third of the recommended daily intake.

5. Opt for healthy fats

Fats play many important roles in the body but are also very energy dense. We therefore need to be careful about the quantity and type of fats that we include. “Good” fat sources include plant oils (olive oil, canola oil), peanut butter, avocados, nuts and seeds as well as soft margarine that is trans-fat free. Oily fish such as sardines, tuna and salmon are also a great sources of all important omega-3 fatty acids.

6. Drink plenty of water

Water plays multiple vital roles in the body, but often we do not get enough of it. A general recommendation is to drink 8 glasses (2L) of water per day. Water makes up a whopping 60% of our body and keeps every system working well, it supports sharp thinking and a bright mood, it helps keep the shock absorbers in joints healthy, prevents constipation, absorbs and transports nutrients and helps remove waste products (6). It helps to energise your muscles, cools you off, quenches thirst and makes your skin glow. Also, several studies show that drinking water 30 minutes before a meal assists with weight loss.

CONCLUSION

Whatever your resolution may be, it should be set in the correct way. Following the above SMART steps, writing your resolutions down and sharing them with friends or family may help increase your chance of success, we all need a little push and support now and then. Always remember that worthy things don’t always come easy, chin up and try again. Make this year the best one yet, eat well, drink enough water, exercise, get enough sleep and most importantly do what you love. This is your year, make it count!

WHERE DOES FUTURELIFE® FIT IN?

FUTURELIFE® can form part of your health and wellness journey! Have a look at our website for more information about our products as well as recipes: www.futurelife.co.za

REFERENCES

1. Statistics Brain. [Online].; 2015 [cited 2016 December 12. Available from: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/.
2. Your Couch. [Online].; 2015 [cited 2016 December 09. Available from: http://www.yourcoach.be/en/coaching-tools/smart-goal-setting.php.
3. Top Achievement Self Improvement and Personal Development Community. [Online].; 2011 [cited 2016 December 09. Available from: http://topachievement.com/smart.html.
4. Rena R Wing SP. Long-term weight loss maintenance. The AMerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005 July; 82(1).
5. FUTURELIFE. [Online].; 2016 [cited 2016 August 25. Available from: http://futurelife.co.za/faq/.
6. Oz DM, Roizen DM. Longevity. [Online].; 2015 [cited 2016 December 12. Available from: http://www.longevitylive.com/5-easy-ways-water-will-shed-winter-weight/.

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