Resolutions for health in 2012

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We’ve already supplied you with your five new year beauty resolutions and now it’s time for your health ones.

Looking after your health is of utmost importance and there’s no better time than January to take charge of it.

Jayne Chambers, who runs a number of Slimming World groups in Kettering, said: “January is always when people start to think about their health.

“In the first two weeks of January alone, myself and my partner Roberto, who also has a Slimming World group, have seen 64 new members walk through our doors, so there are a lot of people out there who are ready to make positive changes to their diet and lifestyle.”

Here are five healthy new year resolutions to sink your teeth into.

1. Get your five a day

This piece of advice is nothing new, but we keep hearing it because having five portions of fruit and veg a day is so simple yet so important.

As well as fresh fruit, canned fruit in unsweetened natural juice or vegetables in water count, as do frozen fruit and vegetables.

You could try adding fruit to your cereal or other breakfast items, putting beans, lentils or pulses into stews, bakes and salads or having a side salad with your main meal to get your daily intake up.

2. Make your plates more colourful

To help achieve resolution one further, making your meal plates as colourful as possible can help hit that five a day target.

And by colour we don’t mean painting the plate, but by choosing different coloured vegetables to go in or accompany your dish.

Jayne said: “A colourful plate can make a meal look so much more appetising, nobody wants to tuck into ‘beige’ looking food.

“Look out for colour when you’re buying fruit and vegetables.

“Options can include red onions and cabbage, carrots, sweetcorn, different coloured peppers, radish and beetroot.

3. Cut out bad fats

In the food world, there are good fats and bad fats, and it’s important to filter the latter out of your daily diet as much as possible.

We all need a bit of fat in our diets, preferably unsaturated, to help the body absorb vitamins and stay healthy. But we shouldn’t have too much of it because our bodies find it hard to process and start to store it up which becomes very unhealthy.

Jayne said: “Unhealthy fats tend to be those attached to meats – thick and white – and these need to be removed.”

Other saturated fats include butter, cheese, pastry and chocolate, so try to lower your consumption of these kind of items.

Jayne added: “Healthy fats tend to be found in things like oily fish like mackerel, salmon, trout and sardines.

“Olive oil should be used sparingly when cooking.”

4. Get your 150 minutes of exercise a week.

As well as changing your eating habits, it ‘s important to take regular exercise too, so resolution number 4 is to get 150 minutes of exercise each week, or in more well-known terms, 30 minutes of exercise a day, five times a week.

Building activity into your day keeps your heart healthy, reduces your risk of serious illness and strengthens joints. It can also be a great way of reducing your stress levels and lifting your mood if you’re feeling down.

Being active means getting your heart rate up, feeling warmer – perhaps even breaking into a light sweat – and making your lungs work harder.

So whether its walking, cycling, swimming or joining a gym, take up an exercise that you will enjoy and get your activity levels up.

5. Detail your progress.

Once you start exercising, it can be a good idea to detail your progress.

Constantly topping up your motivation levels is key to long-term success, so try to keep a diary of your new regime, noting down concrete indications of progress.

It’s also recommended to break your goal into smaller, more manageable steps, and to reward yourself when you meet set targets. Finally, if you’re too tired or lazy to scribble down your sets, try picking an exercise which clearly and frequently informs you of your progress.