Make 2023 The Year You Don’t Ditch Your Resolutions!
How can you make sustainable changes last for the long-term? So many of us try to kick unhealthy habits and make new lifestyle changes as part of New Year's Resolutions that never stick. For most, it’s about 17 days into the New Year when we start getting off track. International “Ditch Your New Year's Resolution Day” is on January 17th and was made for this reason. For most, if lifestyle changes require mass amounts of willpower, effort, work, and discipline — lasting change won’t happen. The average person can sustain the “lots of work” approach for about 17 days, which proves the way most approach making lifestyle changes around the new year is fundamentally flawed. So in honor of “Ditch Your New Year's Resolution Day” we want to encourage you to reflect on progress you’ve made towards forming new health and fitness habits so far this year, and provide strategies to help you stay on track throughout 2021 and beyond:
Should You Eliminate or Cut Back On Sugars?
A very popular New Year's resolution for diabetics is to lose weight and eat healthier. For most, that means completely eliminating sugars and processed foods. In fact, 42% of diabetics who made this resolution last year not only failed, but ended up gaining weight and eating less healthy than the year prior.
Most experts agree the key for diabetics to lose weight and maintain it is all about executing simple, do-able changes. Resolutions that call for “elimination” are too restrictive to be effective for the long term. If your resolution was to eliminate sugars, and you’ve gotten off track, consider adjusting your goal to something less restrictive, and more sustainable.
Studies indicate just scaling back on processed sugars can have tremendous health benefits. At this point it’s no secret that many food manufacturers create highly addictive sugary products. Many foods are engineered this way, to activate a person’s “bliss point.” A person’s bliss point is a chemical reaction that occurs in a person's brain after consuming foods with a certain ratio of fat, salt and sugar. The effect can be addictive, making you feel like you always want more.
Eating these types of foods can make people feel good for a moment, but that feeling doesn’t last. Overtime, processed sugar consumption damages the body and can really harm quality of life for those with Type 2.
To help break free from this cycle, consider adjusting your "no sugar" resolution to 90 days. Several studies indicate just 90 days of sugar avoidance can decrease insulin resistance, promote healthy weight management, and can be long enough to break the cycle of sugar addiction.
For some quitting cold turkey can be counterproductive. After years of sugar consumption, quitting cold turkey can result in feelings of sluggishness and headaches. If this is the case, try to wean yourself off of sugar by reducing the amount consumed daily.
Remind yourself that any bad feelings that result from a “sugar withdrawal” will pass, and the health benefits of reducing processed sugars from your diet largely outweigh the temporary negative feelings you may experience.
Remember, social support is a key part of being successful. If you choose to quit sugars for 90 days and are having a hard time, reach out to others for support in the "Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together" Facebook group.
A 90 day goal and slowly reducing the amount of daily sugars consumed can really aid in long term health and increase the chances that this small change becomes a permanent lifestyle habit. 3 months is easier to deal with psychologically than “I will never eat anything with sugar again.”
Should You Adjust Your Exercise Resolution?
Since going to the gym isn’t an option for most, diabetics around the world pledged to increase the amount of exercise and physical activity they perform on a daily basis. Perhaps your resolution was to do weight-lifting or HIIT from home everyday for a certain duration.
If you find yourself already failing at meeting those goals and are falling back into a sedentary lifestyle, consider making an adjustment to your exercise resolution. Walking, for example, is uniquely beneficial for those with Type 2. Studies show just 30 minutes of continuous walking per day is enough to powerfully help weight management and regulate glucose levels.
Perhaps make a new goal to walk for a certain amount of time or do a certain number of steps a few times a week. If you are new to exercise, going from performing none to an intense level of physical activity isn’t the best route. You need to build up to a high level of working out, so start small and build from there.
If walking is your ideal daily exercise this year, walking after you eat can significantly decrease appetite, help muscles become more insulin sensitive and lower fasting glucose levels. Additionally, walking can boost endorphins and help lower stress levels. Unchecked stress is a precursor to diabetes because it lowers insulin resistance, and can result in other poor lifestyle choices.
Last, walking should be a New year's resolution that is easy to keep. There’s no gym membership or equipment needed, and it can be a great way to spend time with friends and family while social distancing.
Consuming Enough Water or Not?
Staying hydrated is the easiest and most effective resolution to help manage glucose levels for the long term. What are you drinking? Are sugary drinks a part of day to day lift?
The truth is a huge portion of Type 2s are drinking a lot of unhealthy simple sugars. Research indicates that even one soft drink per day can increase the risk of Type 2 by 25% and increase the risk of heart disease by 20%.
When the body stays hydrated it helps dilute glucose in blood, helping insulin resistance. Hydration also can help suppress appetite, promote satiety and long term weight management.
At CuraLife, we want to help everyone meet their own personal health goals this year and beyond! We hope our strategies can help all Type 2’s stay happy and healthy in 2023!