One of the best ways to keep your health care costs down is to take care of yourself. However, everybody knows that keeping your health-related New Year’s resolutions is incredibly difficult once your motivation has cooled. Instead, we propose the following steps to gradually changing your lifestyle to make a more permanent change in your life.
A Calendar to Eating Healthier
While extreme dieting may help you lose weight fast, it rarely helps you keep the weight off once you’ve lost it. Instead, consider following this schedule in 2012 to help you gradually change your eating habits:
January – February:
Choose one day a week to skip all sweets and desserts. Instead of desserts, pastries (even muffins and croissants), candies, and sweetened sodas or beverages, drink three extra glasses of water and snack on cucumber slices, celery dipped in nut butter (unsweetened) or hummus, and berries like strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries.
May – June: Add a third day to your week without sugary sweets and drinks. By this point your body should be craving a lot more fresh vegetables in general. Now, on one of your regular days (days that include sweets) try substituting white rice, white bread, or other refined grains with brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole grains.
July – August: Add a fourth day without sweets. Remember, this includes muffins, scones, and all those other treats you can get from the coffee shop, as well as sweetened coffee, sodas, and other sweet drinks! Also, add another day of whole grains only so that now you’re only eating sweets three days a week, and two days a week you’re eating only whole grains.
September – October: Add a fifth day without sweets. You can do this! You’ve already come so far! Now, sub out whole grains two more days a week, so that you’re eating whole grains four days a week. Don’t forget to drink more water! Drinking 8oz of water is incredibly easy. In fact, those little cups at the water cooler are often 6-8oz, and they’re tiny. Drink three extra while you’re standing there chatting with your co-workers.
November – December: This is it. One more day of no sweets, and two more days of whole grains. That means you have one day a week when you can eat whatever you want, and six days a week of eating healthy. See, you did it! It was gradual and I bet your body is so pleased that you made it this far.