For many people, the New Year can ring in a new found commitment to health and wellness. Whether wanting to get fit, changing their eating habits, or overcoming obesity or being overweight, the challenge is to keep these resolutions going long enough to make a positive difference in their lives.
The rate of obesity in the Philippines
The Philippines has the fifth highest rate of obesity in Southeast Asia, and many Filipinos are at risk for health problems that can result from being overweight or obese. These include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels that are high enough to cause cardiovascular disease.
Around 27 million Filipinos are considered overweight or obese, as shown on the latest survey of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).
The rate of overweight and obesity among Filipino adults more than doubled from 20.2% in 1998 to 36.6% in 2019, according to recent statistics. Meanwhile, the rate among adolescents shot up from 4.9% to 11.6%.
Small resolutions to change up your diet
Changing your eating habits can be a challenge if you’re used to eating certain foods all the time, but there are some easy ways to make small changes that will lead to big results.
If you’re looking to start living a more healthy lifestyle in 2023, we’ve got you covered.
Eat more anti-inflammatory foods Many people think that inflammation is just a sign of an injury or infection, but it’s actually an important immune system function. Inflammation is your body’s response to toxins, irritants and injuries. It results in redness, warmth, swelling and pain. The purpose of inflammation is to protect us from further damage while our bodies heal. However, if the inflammation goes on too long or becomes chronic (long-term), it can cause serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
The best way to prevent chronic inflammation is to avoid foods that cause it. Foods high in saturated fat, trans fats and refined sugars are pro-inflammatory because they can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and lead to insulin resistance.
The most important anti-inflammatory foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fish and olive oil.
Snack smartly Snacking is a great way to fuel your body and keep hunger at bay. But often, we go overboard with calories and end up feeling sluggish rather than energized by our snacks.
Here are some tips to help you snack smarter:
- Choose snacks with protein: Protein helps keep you feeling full longer than carbohydrates do. You can choose from nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy products or lean meats.
- Go for variety: Variety is important in any diet plan, especially when it comes to snacking. Eating the same type of food every day can become boring and leave you hungry for more food later on in the day. Try different fruits, vegetables and whole grains for a nutritious snack that will satisfy your appetite without adding extra calories or carbs to your diet plan.
- Make your own: Instead of cookies or candy bars, choose almonds or other unsalted nuts that you can easily pack into a baggie and take with you on the go. Better yet, make your own trail mix by combining nuts and seeds with dried fruits like raisins or cranberries.
Make water your beverage of choice Drink more water instead of sugary beverages like soda, juice, or sports drinks. Water has zero calories and is essential for good health. It helps keep you hydrated which can reduce headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms of dehydration. Plus, it makes you feel full so you eat less at meals and snacks throughout the day.
Sparkling water is a great alternative to soda because it’s also calorie-free and has no artificial sweeteners or colors. You can add fruit slices or cucumbers to give them more flavor without adding calories.
Cut back on red meat consumption Red meat is high in saturated fat and is one of the main contributors to processed meats and has been linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer when eaten in high amounts.
If you’re a fan of red meat, try replacing it with healthier proteins such as fish or chicken. Or if you’re looking for a tasty alternative to red meat that’s still got plenty of protein and other nutrients? Try tofu! It’s an excellent source of iron and magnesium, which are both essential for healthy blood circulation.
Cook at home more often
There’s nothing wrong with eating out every once in a while, but if you’re finding yourself grabbing takeout and ordering delivery more often than not, it might be time to make some changes.
Research suggests that people who cook their own meals are less likely to overeat because they tend to eat fewer calories than those who don’t prepare their own meals.
When you cook at home, you have full control over what goes into your food. You can make healthier choices when it comes to portion sizes and ingredients used. Plus, cooking at home is more cost-efficient than eating out.
You can also prepare multiple meals on Sundays, so that all you have to do is heat them up during the week or even freeze them. This way, when dinner time rolls around, all you have to do is to pop something into the oven or microwave instead of making something from scratch.
Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
Caffeine can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, which can lead to anxiety, headaches and insomnia. It’s best to limit your daily caffeine intake to no more than 300 milligrams (mg). That’s equivalent to two cups of coffee or four cups of tea per day. If you’re having trouble cutting back on caffeine, try drinking decaf coffee or tea, or just drinking water instead of beverages containing caffeine.
Alcohol contains calories and can increase the risk that you’ll overeat because it lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment. Try limiting your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two for men; this is equivalent to one glass of wine or 12 ounces of beer. If you do drink alcohol, don’t mix it with sugary drinks like soda; instead, choose a low-calorie beverage or add some seltzer water to your cocktail for less sugar content.
Both of these substances are dehydrating, so when consumed regularly they should be limited as much as possible if weight loss is one of your goals. Dehydration can also cause fatigue, which makes it harder to stick with exercise routines or healthy eating habits.
Don’t become obsessed with calories
Calories are an easy way to track how much energy your body is burning, but they’re also a misleading measure of what you’re actually eating. Calories don’t tell the whole story about how healthy your food is, and they can be manipulated by manufacturers to make their products appear healthier than they really are.
If you’re trying to lose weight, counting calories can be really helpful. But if you’re making a lot of small changes, it’s easy to get distracted by obsessing over calories instead of focusing on what matters most: your health. Focus on eating whole foods and making sure that at least half of your plate is filled with vegetables and fruit.
Making small changes to a diet doesn’t need to be complicated. By making these adjustments in your diet, meal-by-meal, you will soon find yourself on the road to a healthier lifestyle. These minor tweaks add up over time, and they’re exactly what it takes to jumpstart a new routine and kick bad habits to the curb!
At the end of the day, it’s all about what works for you. Whether it’s a new diet or a shift in workout routine, making simple tweaks can provide big results. And when it comes to diet, just like with any other part of life, it’s never too late to start.