Tips for our resolutions

Tips for our resolutions

Many of you are still passing health resolutions at the beginning of the year. For many, however, good resolutions are quickly replaced by a return to old habits. What if this year we rethink how we start the year? Interview with Julie Blanchette, microbiologist/immunologist and coach for a healthy lifestyle.

You have made promoting a healthy lifestyle your profession. Can you tell me about the obstacles to adopting good habits?

If you ask people, lack of time and low energy are the two biggest barriers to adopting healthy lifestyle habits.

How to save time That’s the big question! There are different strategies to maximize our time. However, how we spend our time is a crucial factor. Quebecers watch television an average of 28 hours a week and spend almost 2 hours a day on social media. There’s definitely room for a bit of exercise or cooking a healthy meal, right?

In my opinion, we need to stop feeling guilty and try to understand why people don’t succeed. Much of the answer lies in the stress and anxiety that people experience on a daily basis.

A recent study reports that half of Quebec’s population reports being anxious. When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, the energy drain makes itself felt quickly. The brain must therefore seek rapid reinforcement so that the pressure can be relieved. This energy deficit becomes a barrier to adopting healthy habits.

Bad habits give us short-term reinforcement, which temporarily relieves our anxiety. In fact, eating fatty or sugary foods, consuming alcohol or drugs, living a sedentary lifestyle, and being affirmed by social media all trigger the production of dopamine in our brain. This type of compensation is short-lived and brings no long-term benefits. Therefore, when stress and anxiety are poorly controlled, they have negative effects on our health that prevent us from adopting other healthy habits.

What do you suggest to start the year off right?

A fundamental element in optimizing one’s own health is increasing the intrinsic motivation in our lives. This motivation is associated with an activity whose goal is personal gratification without expecting an external reward. People are destined to move toward important goals. Overcoming challenges and persevering in achieving goals are ways to increase our overall happiness. This is key to increasing our energy levels, an essential resource for adopting healthy lifestyle habits.

With inflation and financial insecurity affecting many Quebecers, how can you adopt good eating habits without breaking the bank?

To successfully adopt healthy habits without breaking the bank, you need to get back to basics. Less than a third of Quebecers eat enough fruits and vegetables every day. It’s true that fruits and veggies are often more expensive, but there are ways to swap some ultra-processed foods for inexpensive fruits and veggies. Successful dining on a budget takes a little more planning, but it’s possible. There are a variety of websites that offer healthy eating strategies at a lower cost and healthy recipe ideas at a low cost.

How do we move when our budget is tight? Do outdoor activities like hiking or walking. Enjoy green spaces and nature near you. The secret is to get moving without having to invest in expensive devices or subscriptions. Do fun activities with people you enjoy to help you move forward over time. Social contact is paramount to increasing longevity, and it’s free.

Many give up their resolutions after a few weeks. What is the secret of perseverance?

At the beginning of the year, people tend to set goals that are too big. Start with smaller goals and develop habits that stick over time. It’s better to get ten minutes of exercise every day and make it a regular part of your routine than to try to hit the gym three times a week and then give up.

Start small and build up over time. Gradually incorporate healthy habits combined with inner goals based on your interests and passions. Take the time to explore, try new things. Face new challenges, try to achieve goals that make you smile, that inspire you and your motivation will increase significantly. You will then have more energy to incorporate good habits. Science has shown that people with more intrinsic motivation live longer, are healthier, and adopt better lifestyle habits naturally. Make your life worth living, you want to protect it and take care of yourself, this is the healthy lifestyle strategy!

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