by: Holly R. Layer
We’re three weeks into January and I wonder how many of us have kept up with all those resolutions to be healthier in the New Year?
Studies show 75 percent of people can keep up for a week (wow, a whopping seven days!), yet fewer than 50 percent are still on track in six months.
I even made a few of my own healthy resolutions this year, including wearing my Fitbit (username: email@example.com) again and tracking my calories in MyFitnessPal (username: hollylayer). If you’re part of those communities, feel free to friend me!
If you’re one of the many who resolved to make health a priority this year, kudos for taking charge! The single most important part of your “get healthy” plan doesn’t have anything to do with the food you eat or how many minutes you exercise – it’s ACCOUNTABILITY.
You need a friend! Whether it’s your spouse, your co-worker, someone at the gym or your running group, anyone can help keep you motivated and accountable to your plan. Find someone with whom you can share your goals and your plan, and ask them to cheer you on and ask you hard questions, like: “Did you meet your calorie goal yesterday?” or “How many days did you exercise last week?”
Ideally, this friend is someone who shares your health goals and is even someone you can meet up with regularly to motivate each other or workout together. Can’t think of anyone? Friend me! (See my Fitbit and MyFitnessPal usernames above.) Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is your best chance at success!
OK, that was me being your like-minded accountability partner and giving you a pep talk. Now, time to put it into practice! Find someone in your sphere and ask him or her to team up with you. And while you’re riding this motivational high, resolve to step away from the mac n’ cheese next time it’s offered. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean it’s OK to binge on comfort food 24/7. Instead, think of what your body needs right now: vitamins C and D.
Stock your countertop fruit bowl with citrus, which is in season right now. Oranges and grapefruit are great sources of vitamin C, which has been proven to both shorten the duration and lessen the symptoms of the common cold. However, Vitamin C can be found in other fruits and vegetables as well. In fact, some of them contain more of the vitamin than oranges themselves! Here is a list of the best sources, starting with the highest: red bell peppers (190 mg), broccoli (132 mg), cauliflower (127mg), green bell peppers (120 mg), papaya (88 mg), kale (80 mg), Brussels sprouts (75 mg) and oranges (70 mg).
Because we live in a northern climate, we spend more time indoors and get less sun this time of year. Vitamin D is produced in our bodies when we’re exposed to sunlight, and it plays a role in how our bodies use the calcium in our diets. In addition to being produced in the body, vitamin D can be found in some fish, egg yolks and fortified dairy and grain products, including cereals. However, those who don’t drink milk and vegans may be at risk for a vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to rickets (a softening of the bones), as well as cardiovascular disease, severe asthma and even cancer. The easiest way to get more vitamin D is to take a daily multivitamin and – despite the cold –take a walk.
Holly R. Layer is a registered dietitian and provides nutritional counseling to students at SUNY Buffalo State. She teaches cycle and fitness classes at the Southtowns Family YMCA. She holds a bachelor’s in journalism from Penn State and a bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics from Buffalo State. She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related. An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy. Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive! You can find more of her thoughts at thehealthypineapple.com.