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Start 2022 With These Healthy Eating Habits

Written by: Gianluca Tognon, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Isn't the new year the best time to turn your life around by starting a healthy routine? There must be something you have always wanted to change in your lifestyle, but you can't gather enough motivation. With the old year out of the way, you probably think about your new year's resolutions.

We all fancy fast food, junk food, and sweet treats, and it is not an easy task to give up on them. Yet, it is time to make a few investments in yourself for the sake of your good health! Healthy eating habits could be one of them.


How will 2022 be different in terms of health and fitness?


2022 should be the year you take your health and fitness seriously. The Covid-19 pandemic taught us the fundamental importance of our health and wellness.

Compared to people with healthier lifestyles, the global pandemic took more lives among those with lifestyle-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. People suffering from the latter conditions are more susceptible to experiencing the life-threatening consequences of Covid, such as respiratory complications, which increase the chances of ending up in ICUs.


Consequently, in terms of health and fitness, 2022 should be the year you strive to improve your health by adopting healthier habits into your life. Doing so will make you feel physically at your best and mentally fresh this year to explore your life with a new approach and make better decisions.


Why should health and fitness top your New Year's resolution list?


Good health is the best of wealth. To experience the best life, you need to have health and enjoy it. If you are not healthy, there is a limit to things you can do. For example, people who do not train regularly may get tired and out of breath quickly.


Here are a few examples of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle:

  • You feel better about yourself throughout the day

  • You are eager to spend time with your loved ones

  • Your physical appearance improves, and your skin glows

  • You handle stress better

  • You have more energy to accomplish the daily tasks in your life

  • You experience an enhanced sense of focus at work, and it is easier to come up with out-of-the-box ideas

  • Your brain works faster, and you can focus on your personal growth


Once you have made up your mind to start living healthy, doors will automatically open up for you, leading you towards your destination to becoming fit.


Ways to improve your health in 2022


There are so many ways out there you can adapt into your life to improve your health. What follows is a list of ideas that will inspire you in your journey to a healthier you.


Approach stress with a clear mind – Stress is one of the biggest enemies of your health, and one way to fight it back is to approach stress-inducing situations with a positive attitude. Remember, you can get out of any adverse situation; you just need to find out the right path to do so, for instance, by seeing problems and nuisances as opportunities.


You need to be able to view the situation from a different perspective. Try to distance your mind from the problem and then think of reducing your stress level, for instance, with meditation.


Exercise regularly – There is nothing better than exercise to achieve good health. Daily exercise will solve many of your life's problems, such as lack of focus, constant tiredness, physical lethargy, and mental unrest. It is proven it improves the brain's overall performance.


Start with a short walk every day to walk at least 30 minutes a day. Then add some strength training exercise, and then finally go to the gym or swimming pool maybe once a week.

If you follow these three steps, you can increase your physical activity level tremendously. Focus also on improving your physical activity during the day, for instance, by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Doing some exercises at the desk is another good idea. You can sign up for any online wellness program to help you stay motivated and keep going.


Eat brain-friendly food – Having a lot of fruit and vegetables every day helps get the daily dose of antioxidants that will make your brain work more efficiently. A piece of fruit per meal plus an extra snack and at least 200 g of vegetables per meal will allow you to reach your recommended daily fiber intake.


Fish is also important because it contains omega-3 fatty acids (that you also find in nuts and seeds), which make cell membranes more fluid, which is particularly important for the brain.


Eat healthy fats – You need to switch up your diet and replace unhealthy fats with healthier ones. I recommend that you season your food with olive, walnut, linseed, or sesame oil instead of butter, dairy cream, or mayonnaise. Avoid overheating these oils to preserve their vitamin E content. You can also add nuts, legumes, beans, and seeds to your diet, which also contain vitamin E and healthy fats.


Replace sugary drinks with water or fresh juices – Soft drinks and artificial juices are all super unhealthy. Drinking sugar-containing drinks can lead to tooth decay, chronic diseases, and a higher propension to eat high-sugar foods. Soft drinks come with high levels of fructose in them, and several studies proved that high amounts of fructose lead to weight gain.


Instead of drinking sodas and juices, you can aromatize water with fruit or mint leaves so that it will taste better. Many people don't drink enough water. Dehydration is also linked to weight gain because if you drink less water, you will eat more.


Remove toxins from your life – The toxic chemicals in cigarettes are very harmful to your physical and mental health. Those who quit smoking by the age of 30 add ten years to their life. Thus, 2022 is the right time for you to take up the resolution to give up smoking.


Reduce the number of chemical products you use at home. Too many people keep an arsenal of chemical weapons in their kitchen and bathroom. Ditch those products and look for natural and organic alternatives. Doing so will significantly reduce your exposure to harmful toxins.


Get enough Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps your body maintain a healthy immune system, and it is also crucial for bone health. With the danger of the Covid-19 virus still lurking in the air, ensuring a well-functioning immune system is a clever idea. The best way to get vitamin D is by getting more sun exposure. Go out on a morning walk to get your daily vitamin D dose and boost your immune system.


Otherwise, there is supplementation, but make sure you first measure your blood vitamin D levels to avoid getting too much of it. Some people get intoxicated because they exaggerate with vitamin D supplements.


Checklist for staying healthy and fit in 2022


To help you work on your new year resolution more actively, I have developed an effective checklist that you can regularly follow. Sticking to the list consistently for a month or two will automatically turn these habits into a healthy routine.

  • Go to bed early and wake up early in the morning

  • Go on a morning walk

  • Exercise for at least 20 minutes daily

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Do not smoke and minimize the use of chemicals at home

  • Do not over-eat. Always eat in a moderate amount

  • Practice meditation and mindfulness

  • Take three deep breaths in a stressful situation

  • See problems as opportunities or get help to solve them

  • Catch up with your friends and family at least once a week

  • Do not spend unnecessarily long hours on the internet

  • Get enough rest


Setting goals and staying motivated


The most brilliant way to start 2022 on a positive note is to jot down all your health goals for the coming year on a piece of paper and think about how you can achieve them one by one.


The key is to initially accomplish the most manageable and doable goals, like reducing salt and sugar intake or eating more fruit and vegetables. As soon as you feel that these new healthy habits have become a routine, head onto the ones that require some effort and consistency.


Staying motivated to attain all the goals is the real challenge. Many people will work towards their plans for a week or two and then lose motivation. You might stay away from junk and unhealthy food for some time, but eventually, the temptation might get you.


Hence, how do you keep yourself motivated until you have accomplished what you decided?


I know the road to achieving excellent health and picture-perfect fitness may seem lengthy and bumpy, but it will be worth it in the end. You will thank me later! What you can do is take it day by day.


Start by fulfilling your short-term goals and then look forward to those in the long term. For example, decide a day in a week when you will not smoke and stay away from unhealthy food. Then, start eating fruits regularly in the evening and going out for frequent walks to freshen up your mind.


Make up your mind that you will try to sleep and wake up at a specific time for five consecutive days. Once you can achieve this, you can imply it to your daily routine.


For the long-term goals, picture yourself a year from now, perfectly fit, and healthy, spending your morning at a beautiful place you have always wanted to go, wearing your favorite dress that might not suit you precisely right now.


You can also write down your self-affirmation goals and gather the motivation to continue the efforts. You might also feel better by involving your friends or family, and you can eat and do a physical activity together.


I hope that 2022 will be a great year and that you will achieve all your personal goals and be happy and content with life. Happy New Year!


Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

 

Gianluca Tognon, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Gianluca Tognon is an associate professor in public health at the University of Skövde (Sweden) and the founder of the consulting company “The Food Scientist.” He is an expert in public health, nutrition, and food science. As a trained biologist with a Ph.D. in nutrition, Gianluca spent more than 15 years researching public health and nutritional epidemiology to understand the problems connected to unhealthy diets. He has also worked with the Choices Programme, which has set criteria for reformulating food products to better impact consumers’ health. He is now primarily focused on helping companies in the food and health industry improve their products, brand, and presence. Gianluca has consulted private companies, schools, organizations, and hundreds of private individuals who needed help with diet and health. He has presented at several conferences and events in Europe and the USA. More information about Gianluca is available on his website: www.gianlucatognon.com.

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