Assess to Reinvest in Your Health!

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Based on trend studies done by Statista, today’s most popular New Years’ Resolutions made each year are people wanting to exercise more and eat healthier. New Year’s Resolutions have a long history dating back to ancient times where Babylonians wanted  to repay their debt with the resolution of returning borrowed agricultural equipment. Through the many years, New Year’s resolutions have been adopted by many people and tend to be centered around self-improvements of one’s life. With studies projecting that only 9% of people are successful in maintaining their resolutions, people start to find humor in initiating and breaking their intentions. Regular exercisers may make the joke that they will get their equipment back starting the third week of the new year. Maybe your New Year’s Resolution is to have a new health journey and that is great! It is now the second week in January, have you created consistency in your resolution that will hopefully make you a part of the 9%? If you are experiencing a lag in motivation to continue, maybe it is now time to reassess so we can reinvest in your health.

The Dietary and Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provide foundations for healthy standards that promote the importance of being physically active and eating a healthy dietary pattern to reduce the risk of chronic disease. What is provided in these guidelines can also act as an evaluation you can use to assess your current lifestyle. Note that the amount of vitamins/nutrients and physical activity will vary at every stage of life, it is always important to consult with your Doctor when learning what is recommended and to discuss changes to your lifestyle.

For key general healthy lifestyle guidelines for adults, here are a couple of questions you can start ask yourself to assess how you are doing in your resolution:

  1. What do I typically eat in a day?

Aim to reach a nutrient-dense diet based on the core food groups in the recommended amounts and within calories limits. Including vegetables of all types, whole fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, lean protein choices, and healthy oils. Ask yourself which area you may need to pay more attention to.

  1. What am I drinking throughout the day?

It is known that beverages can contain hidden added sugars. It is important to evaluate the label so you can rethink your drink. Less than 10% of your calories should come from added sugars

  1. Is my food tasting salty?

Sodium should be limited to less then 2,300 milligrams per day for adults and even less for children under age 14. This equates to 1 teaspoon of table salt, try measuring it out in a plastic bag for visual guidance, you may be shocked. Most sodium consumed in the US is added during commercial food processing and preparation which includes restaurants. Make sure to read nutrition labels and try to eat at home more to take back control of your food.

  1. How many move breaks am I taking throughout the day?

Some physical activity is better than none! Adults should aim for 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and 2 days a week of strength training. Find your favorite move that gets your heart rate up! Feel like you are stuck sitting at work all day, find an empty room or a loop outside and start making some laps around it! Keep a pair of extra workout shoes in your office to cut down on excuses.

N.C. Cooperative Extension’s goal is to provide the residents of the community with research-based knowledge. For more information on nutrition, health, food preservation, and food safety in Lee County please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Ashley Szilvay at 919-775-5624.