Don’t Wait for the Fireworks! Get a Head Start on your New Year’s Health Resolutions
With the holiday season upon us, there’s no reason to wait for the New Year to start your healthy resolutions. No matter which poll you search online, three good intentions consistently top the charts: Get healthy. Exercise more. Lose weight. And a little farther down the list are some other great stress reducers like read more, travel more, and spend more quality time with family.
American Heart Association designated November as Eat Smart Month to help us start thinking about our health now instead of when the holidays are over and the fireworks end.
Eat Smart Month is part of the Healthy For Good™ movement with the simple approach: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. This mantra breaks down the essential principles of real health and wellbeing – eating healthy, including adding more colorful fruits and veggies; being more physically active; and creating an overall healthy lifestyle including sleep, mindfulness, stress management, mental health, and social connection.
Local Woodlands resident and mother of two young children, Kelly Fucheck, knows just how important it is to find the inspiration to make health a priority. “Several years ago, I was only 32 years old, but overweight and exhausted. I occasionally smoked and fitness was not a part of my life,” shared Kelly. “Having a stroke never crossed my mind. I was like any other busy mom trying to balance a high-stress job and a toddler, and thinking of myself was pretty low on my priority list.”
After having a stroke and experiencing the fear of all that she would miss in life Kelly was ready to make some big changes, although they didn’t all happen overnight. As part of the road to recovery, her doctor prescribed five minutes a day on the treadmill as a start. Eventually, the treadmill turned into a love for walking, which then gave Kelly a passion for running and fitness, and she is now a TTR CrossFit Level 1 Assistant Coach. “After the stroke, my doctor made it very clear that if I wanted to be around to experience life with my family, I had to change my lifestyle.” But something was still missing and although she was winning with exercise, she still wasn’t feeling well.
With the support of her husband, she realized a need to change more than just her fitness goals. She had too much stress in her life and decided to learn about wellness and nutrition, and found a passion for helping others do the same. She started her own company, Empowered Strides, and became a Certified Health Coach.
We asked Kelly for some of her secrets for making the most of the holiday season rather than waiting until the New Year to make health a priority, and these are some basic tips she shared:
- Drink your water. Water is essential nutrient in keeping your digestive system moving. It keeps your brain and muscles working in an optimal capacity and water curbs your appetite. And it sure beats all those sugary beverages.
- Pack a snack. Throw some almonds, pistachios and pumpkin seeds in a snack baggie and keep it in your purse or car. When it’s not time for a meal but you are feeling the urge for a treat, eat this mix to get you through a craving. It will provide your body with protein and healthy fats to keep you energized.
- Eat before you party! As you head out to your long list of holiday parties this season, filling up on a healthy meal beforehand will help you control the urge to reach for all of the sweets and heavy dishes. Let’s face it, most parties revolve around food and just like when you grocery shop on a full stomach, its easier to resist temptations when you aren’t hungry.
- Take five. Every day, take 5 minutes to breathe. With the holiday fun comes high demands, errands, added expenses, responsibilities, travel, you name it! 5 minutes of mindfulness will help keep the peace. Listen to your breaths, slow your heartrate and smile. After the 5 minutes, jump back in to the hustle and bustle with a clear head.
- Enjoy the season with movement. During the holidays, think of physical activity as part of the fun. Try ice skating, walk around at a festival, or check out the neighborhood with a great light exhibit on foot instead of driving, and you will find that spending a little time moving can boost your mood and improve your sleep.
Kelly is already 60 pounds lighter than when she had her stroke, and remains focused on the whole health package, which is exactly what American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good™ movement reminds us to do. Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well.
Find more tips and recipes to help you eat smart during the holidays and year-round at heart.org/EatSmartMonth or check out the New American Heart Association Cookbook on ShopHeart.org.