Shelly Stinson

With an abundance of homemade goodies available during the holiday season, it isn’t at all uncommon to gain a little (or a lot) of weight thanks to the extra fat and calories most of these contain. This may leave you entering the new year with the goal of creating positive habits so you can live a thinner and healthier life.

To help you with that, here are some habits that you may want to consider making a part of your new lifestyle:

Eating More Raw Veggies

Vegetables are important for a number of reasons. The vitamins and minerals they contain provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function at optimal levels while their fiber helps keep your digestive system operating maximally. Additionally, veggies make meals more filling in a lower calorie way, but since cooking them sometimes lowers their nutrient content, eating them raw is the best way to ensure that you get everything they have to offer. If you’re not fond of munching on raw vegetables, you can always eat them with healthy dips like hummus or homemade guacamole. Another alternative way to increase your consumption is by juicing or adding them to your smoothies.

Increasing Your Protein Intake

Health wise, protein is the foundation of a healthy body as it is essential to hair and nail growth, the building of strong muscles, and tissue repair, which means that you’ll feel better when you get enough of this macronutrient. Plus, like vegetables, protein is also filling, which makes it a good option to consider if your goal is to lose some holiday weight without feeling hungry all of the time. A few nutritious proteins to consider adding to your diet include salmon, chicken (minus the skin), beans, nuts, and whole grains. Aim for two 3-ounce servings per day.

Getting Some Form of Cardiovascular Exercise Daily

In addition to being good for weight loss, regular cardiovascular activity is a habit that is also great for your heart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recommended amount of aerobic exercise for most adults is 150 minutes per week if the intensity is moderate and 75 minutes if it’s more intense. Some exercises that can help you get your heart pumping are walking, running, bicycling, rowing, hiking, climbing, and swimming. Just be sure to pick ones you enjoy so that you keep going back to do them time and time again.

Learning to Let Go of Stress

Numerous studies have found that stress can negatively affect your physical and emotional health. Physically, it can cause damage to your heart, and it can even cause weight gain (making it partially responsible for a weight-related phenomenon like the Freshman 15) by increasing your production of cortisol. Mentally, it makes life less pleasurable as things you once enjoyed are no longer as fun. One effective way to relieve stress and increase health is daily meditation. Of course, if you follow the previous recommendation and engage in some form of exercise daily, that can help you get rid of some of your tension and anxiety as well. Make these four actions part of your daily routine and you’ll not only likely lose your holiday-related weight, but this could likely be your healthiest year yet!

shellystinsonShelly Stinson isfreelancewriter based out of Denver, CO. Her interests include healthy living, being active outdoors and trying new restaurants. Find her on twitter:

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