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It’s the same old story. A new year starts, and we make the resolution to get into the best shape of our lives. We immediately switch up our lifestyles, eat only raw vegetables, and exercise till it hurts… till about the second week of February. We over correct, push ourselves too far, and burnout before we see any real results. Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was, “doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.” That’s true, especially when it comes to our health; the solution, of course, is to change our approach. GoHealth Urgent Care, a national medical care service, offers an outline on how to achieve realistic goals and be healthier in 2022.

GoHealth’s tips deal with establishing a better relationship with health foods. The tips are as follows:

#1 Don’t Use Food as a Reward

We call sweet things treats because we use desserts and fattening foods as rewards. We rely on sugar and other things we crave to help us celebrate, but this is a hinderance to our health. Sugar, and sugary treats, have an addictive nature, so we end up consuming them more often than we should. If we utilize other types of rewards, that are non-food related, we can still celebrate an accomplishment and be healthier in 2022.

#2 Observe how you feel after a meal

Food has a lasting effect on us. We eat something delicious, but also heavy, we become happy and in pain from stomachaches. We eat something that doesn’t agree with us, due to a taste preference or an allergy, and we become sick. It’s important to listen to our bodies, and out moods, after we eat so we can get a better understanding of how our food affects us different ways. This can be fun, as you experiment with new foods and recipes to see if they positively affect your physical and mental health.

#3 Use Healthier Options

When it comes to sugar, there are some amazing substitutes out there, that taste just as good and have a much more positive effect on our bodies. Simple changes can provide real results, because they’re easier to incorporate in our day-to-day lives. Health is a long-game and choosing healthier options more consistently can strengthen our overall fitness.

#4 Have Access to Fresh Produce

Of course, choosing the healthier option is a lot easier when the healthier option is in arm’s reach. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, and natural sugars are good for us. Purchasing fresh produce from farmers markets help the economy and our health. We are more likely to succeed when we set ourselves up for success. We prioritize our health when we buy nutritious foods over processed foods.

#5 Meal Prep

As much as cooking can be fun and relaxing, it can also be a pain. Life is busy, and even in retirement you don’t always have the time to cook. When we’re hungry, if it means cooking a full course meal, or getting something quick and easy, we will choose the more convenient option. Preparing meals in advance helps us choose the healthier option, give us control over our food, and save time simultaneously.

It is possible to be healthier in 2022. The Council for Retirement Security wants to provide information that helps seniors enjoy a long and healthy retirement. Small, healthier changes are the first steps to enjoying this next phase of life and making it last as long as possible.