So as I prepare to restart my classes after the festive break, I am setting myself a resolution to continue to assist those who most need it, in my classes, a way of learning acceptance and therefore moving forward in a more positive manner in the new year.
- control your portions: want to downsize your figure? Start downsizing your dishes. Studies show using smaller plates and bowls promote weight loss because they help to curb overeating.
- slash sodium consumption: besides contributing to water retention (think bloat!), sodium can raise blood pressure. Processed foods contain the most, so make sure to read labels. Lower sodium diets are linked to decreased risk of heart disease, but are also associated with lower hypertension and weight management.
- increase antioxidants: when your body breaks down food it produces molecules called free radicals. Cigarette smoke and radiation also produce free radicals. Over time, the damage from these substances can result in conditions like infection, cancer, inflammation, and heart disease. That's where antioxidants step in. (Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown, but if you dip it in orange juice, which contains vitamin C (an antioxidant), it stays white). You can defend your body the same way by including rich sources in your diet. Pomegranates, coffee, and even chocolate contain antioxidants.
- stop smoking: for smokers, quitting may be the hardest resolution to stick with because it is so challenging. If you consider the benefits, and take advantage of today's resources, this could be the year you successfully become a nonsmoker.
- floss: like many people, you may not know that bacteria in your mouth can lead to serious problems if you neglect oral health. You may also be surprised to learn that during routine exams, your dentist can spot indications of diabetes and heart disease. One simple thing you can do to head off bacteria is floss your teeth.
- wear sunscreen, all year round: sun exposure affects everyone. Most skin cancer develops after age 50, though sun damage starts at an early age. The sun's rays are also behind brown spots, and can make wrinkles appear before their time. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen, even in the winter, anywhere skin is laid bare to the elements.
Whatever you resolve for 2012, having healthy expectations for yourself is important to both your physical and mental health. Obviously, that's easier said than done. A mean-spirited inner-critic can ruin relationships, keep you from reaching personal goals, and cramp your ability to be an active participant in your life. So, make sure you are kind to yourself.
I wish you all, the most prosperous of years, filled with all good things. May it be happy, healthy, lucky and loving.