January 2018: Twelve Weeks to Better Health

By:  Kari Utz-Wolsky, Nutrition and Conditioning Specialist

Published:  January 19, 2018

As we head into the New Year, many of us desire to make positive health changes.  And for those who make New Years resolutions, a large majority of these goals revolve around diet and/or exercise.  We may hope to give up poor habits, or embark on a new exercise routine.  Or possibly we even hope to make a complete overhaul to our nutrition plan.  Unfortunately, the odds are not in our favor.  Eighty percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February!

I’d like to offer some tips to lead you down a more successful path.  But before I do that, I need to address the method of implementation, as I feel that is often the reason we fail.  Health changes need to be simple and moderate.  Think moderation, not deprivation.  Aim for one small change per week from this list below, adding an additional tip the following week and so on.

  • Drink more water – aim for half your bodyweight in ounces of fluid per day.  Caffeinated beverages don’t count, since they act as a diuretic. Water, seltzer, decaf tea and coffee do; even juice counts, but check the next point on sugar.
  • Limit sugar – sugar is so toxic in our systems.  Sweeten foods and beverages yourself and aim to cut down to half your usual amount, even further once you’ve adapted.
  • Eat more vegetables – try to include vegetables of various colors at each meal and snack.
  • Add more healthy fat into your diet – cod liver oil (loaded with Omega-3, Vitamins A & D), coconut oil (a great immune booster), avocado, nuts and seeds.
  • Consider cutting out possible inflammatory foods – the common ones are gluten, dairy, soy, vegetable oils, and sugar.  Try avoiding one at a time for about 2 weeks each, and note any changes in how you feel.
  • Add a few key supplements – a prebiotic / probiotic combo, a digestive enzyme, and depending on your health status, perhaps some vitamin D (for bone health, immune health, and mental health), fish oil (anti-inflammatory), or CoQ10 (antioxidant and cellular energy production).
  • Exercise, but don’t over-exercise – include resistance training, don’t ignore the importance of solid recovery.  Three to five exercise sessions per week at 20-60 minutes per session is great!
  • Aim for 8 hours sleep a night – close down the electronics two hours before bed and completely darken your bedroom room for better quality sleep.
  • Try to get out into nature a few times a week – take a hike in the woods, find a nearby outdoor activity park, walk barefoot along the beach.
  • Focus on preventative medicine (get to the root cause of your health ailments, instead of only medicating to mask symptoms) – look into functional medicine approaches.
  • Consider stress management practices: meditation or deep breathing, stretching, balance, and flexibility training, acupuncture.
  • Take time for yourself – schedule time if necessary initially, for activities that create enjoyment and laughter.

Kari holds certifications in Personal Fitness Training, Performance Nutrition, Specialist in Sports Conditioning from ISSA, as well as a certification in Crossfit Elite Fitness training.  She educates people in individual and group settings on how to improve their health and fitness levels.  She has helped clients with goals from illness reversal and allergy-induced diet restrictions to fat loss and sports performance.