Every year, around 50 per cent of Aussies make a New Year’s resolution. Not surprisingly, the most common goals are to lose weight, get fit and eat healthier. In fact, Google searches for the word ‘gym’ hit an all time high just after January 1.
But if you’ve made a pledge to improve your health and parted with it already, don’t feel bad. Over 90 per cent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the start of February.
The good news is you don’t need to be too hard on yourself to make a difference.
We’ve put together a list of simple tips to get you on the path to a healthier 2014.
1. Feel satisfied for longer. Eating the odd chocolate biscuit at morning tea or a sneaky handful of potato chips might seem harmless, but it could add an extra 400 kilojoules or more to your daily intake. Try planning your meals in advance and incorporating more protein into your diet. Our clinically tested Total Wellbeing Diet shows that protein-based foods are much more satisfying than those high in fats or carbohydrate. Foods like lean red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes and low fat dairy are all great sources of protein that will keep you feeling full for longer.
2. Get on your feet. The average Aussie spends a massive 50 to 70 per cent of their day sitting down. It’s important to exercise regularly and include a mix of activities in our fitness regimes, but even if we do, sitting down for long periods of time can still reduce our life expectancy and increase our risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So standing up, moving around and avoiding long bouts of sitting can be just as important as a high-cardio workout. Start with a simple goal like taking work phone calls standing up, or stretching during a TV ad break rather than flaking-out on the couch – enter the world of ‘couchersizing’.
3. Size matters. Portion sizes are increasing – and so are our waistlines. Studies have shown that when serving sizes get bigger, the amount we eat also increases. When eating at home, serve meals on a smaller plate (but don’t load up your plate with a pile of food twice as high!) and refrigerate or freeze the rest for later. If you’re eating out, order an entree size meal and add a side order of veggies or salad. You could even buy grocery items that help with portion control, like yoghurt in small single serve tubs rather than one large tub.
As one of the most obese nations, it’s more important than ever that we take good care of our health. If weight gain continues to rise, 75% of all Australian adults will be overweight or obese by 2025. And that’s not the only health challenge we face today. There’s also the increased risk of developing chronic diseases like stroke, bowel cancer and dementia given our ageing population.
Thankfully our researchers are on the case. They’ve been working hard for over 85 years to help keep Aussies healthy. In fact, you can find our research and technologies all over the place – from inside the human body, to the home and our hospitals.
We’ve developed contact lenses that can be worn continuously for a whole month, and the world’s first drug to successfully treat the flu. Our work in brain health is helping us detect Alzheimer’s disease at its earliest stages, and we’re improving access to health services with our digital tele-health home monitoring system. We’ve also created software to reduce hospital waiting times, and we developed a vaccine to stop the Hendra virus spreading from horses to humans.
Learn more about how we’re keeping you healthy in our new interactive graphic.