By Kathy Hubbard
Come Sunday, some of us will make resolutions to develop healthier habits. Others will think that resolutions are a waste of time because we never stick to them, certainly not like all those holiday treats stuck to our waists.
There’s a website called www.Realsimple.com. They say that we’re inclined to set the bar too high when it comes to a health reset, so we revert to the status quo. They asked some experts how to set yourself up for success. I think some of these are brilliant; let’s see what you think.
About dessert: “If you’re craving something sweet after dinner, you should have it!” Willow Jarosh, RD, a cofounder of C&J Nutrition in New York City, said. “But if you want to cut back on sugar and still satisfy that craving, dilute the sweet stuff with something like nuts or seeds.”
Instead of eating a candy bar, she says to opt for chocolate-covered almonds or chocolate-dipped frozen banana bites. You’ll not only reduce your sugar intake, but you’ll also get some heart-healthy fiber, particularly if the chocolate is of the dark variety.
The founder of a company that offers classes in alleviating problems with the spine called Spinefulness, Jenn Sherer, tells us to sit differently. “Most people sit in a C shape, which puts pressure on your spine and can cause lower back, neck, and shoulder pain. And when we try to sit up ‘properly,’ we tend to suck in our stomach and stick out our chest, contracting our muscles in a way that can make us even more misaligned or stressed.”
She says that when we’re sitting, we should pretend that we have a tail and don’t want to sit on it. We should also adjust our chair so that our feet rest flat on the floor (or a footrest) with our thighs parallel to the ground.
I particularly like this idea. The author of The Exhaustion Breakthrough, Holly Phillips, MD says that we should set an alarm for 45 minutes to an hour before we’re scheduled to go to bed. I know that sounds odd. But with more than a third of us regularly not getting the minimum seven hours of sleep and being unable to sleep in, going to bed on time is important.
Once the alarm goes off, “start your wind-down routine, whether that involves taking a shower, making your kids’ lunches for the next day, or prepping overnight oats,” she said. “The alarm can also serve as a reminder to turn off the TV, close your laptop, and put down your phone since the blue light that those devices emit can delay the release of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep.”
And while we’re talking about phones, designate a no-phone zone. “A study from the University of British Columbia found that diners who had their phones out during dinner enjoyed their experience less than those who put their phones away, and a separate study suggested that if your phone is within reach, it impairs cognitive performance – even if it’s turned off,” Realsinple said.
Michele Stanton is a walking coach. She says we should walk to every destination within one mile. I’m sure she’s not talking about when the snow is up to our kneecaps and the temps are subzero, but in general, I think this is really good advice and an easy way to get those steps in.
“Another good micro-resolution is to move your feet every time your phone is in your hand,” she said. Shall we march in place?
And finally, I really like what Dana Sturtevant, RD, co-owner of Be Nourished in Portland, Oregon, said. “Dieting is unsustainable, especially when you make restrictive, unrealistic rules about what you can and can’t eat. “For lasting, good health, learn to tune in to signs of hunger, not ignore them.
“Put down your fork, take a deep breath, and ask yourself how full you are and how much more food you think you need to be satisfied. When we eat with awareness, we get more joy out of our food, and without that joy, it’s difficult to feel nourished,” she said. So, I’ll say, take smaller portions, or we’ll have another waste or waist discussion.
Kathy Hubbard is a member of the Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article was written for publication in the Bonner County Daily Bee, published December 28, 2022.