With most people’s new year resolutions now two months in the rearview mirror, it may be time for a bit of a boost; a reminder that those goals don’t have to go by the wayside, and that a healthy lifestyle really is possible.
Lucy Sorenson, registered dietitian for the LiVe Well Center at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital, said it can be as basic and drilling down to determine the specifics of an individual’s health goals.
“People say, ‘I know what to do, I just don’t do it,’ or ‘I don’t know how to do it,’” Sorenson said. “But figuring out what the ‘it’ is, that’s an imperative step. They might say, ‘I want to lose 50 pounds,’ but that’s not what is motivating them. It may actually be, ‘I want to go walking with my friends and not feel out of breath’, or ‘I want to get off my cholesterol medication.’”
Knowing the motivation and the desired result helps Sorenson and her colleagues when counseling clients, and it helps the clients more accurately measure their success and stay on track.
When it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes, Sorenson said the No. 1 barrier people talk about is time.
“They say they don’t have time to cook or exercise, so we identify how they can fit those things into their life,” Sorenson said. “People think they need to fit in one hour of exercise all at once, but you can break it up into a few 10-minute walks each day.”
Taking a short walk on your lunch break, getting in some movement first thing in the morning and right before bed, all of these little segments add up to better health, Sorenson added.
Another barrier many people mention is the fact that they don’t really crave healthy food. Or that it is difficult to make healthy options more appealing. But Cindy Garcia, Chef de Cuisine at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital, has several solutions.
Find a way to fit healthier snacks into your day, like more fruits and vegetables, Garcia said.
For example, Garcia said her family enjoys snacking on fresh fruit during movie night, but she dresses it up with a bit of a twist.
“Kids seem to love spicy, processed snacks, like Takis, these days,” Garcia said. “If you add some spicy chili powder or hot sauce to your fresh fruit, it gives that spice the kids crave, and is a way to entice them to eat more fruit.”
Spring and summer fruits open the door to a wide range of popular options.
“We love to make fruit salsa with cinnamon chips,” Garcia said. “It’s so refreshing. You get your sweet tooth satisfied, but it’s natural sugar.”
Other options include making traditional pineapple or mango salsa.
Garcia also suggests pairing certain flavors to keep foods interesting, such as adding basil to watermelon or strawberries.
“You can eat it as a fruit salad, or add it to a salad with a nice vinaigrette,” Garcia said.
If your child’s palate — or your own — isn’t especially adventurous, there’s nothing wrong with leaning into foods that many people are already familiar with — like apples and carrots — but dressing them up a bit.
“One of our favorites in the spring and summer is an apple, carrot, raisin and nut fruit salad, mixed together with homemade whipped cream,” Garcia said. “It might sound like a weird combination but they actually pair well together.”
Regardless of the combinations you try, one of the key components to a long-term healthy lifestyle is developing a healthy relationship with food.
“Unfortunately, diet culture can be all-consuming, but that’s not what we want to consume us,” Sorenson said. “Food is not a positive or a negative, it is there to provide the body with fuel and energy, but not something to be obsessed about. We don’t want food to hold so much value and emotion.”
Getting to a healthy mental place with food can be a difficult journey for some, but Sorenson said there are numerous resources available, including one-on-one dietetics counseling, group classes and more. For details on the services offered at the LiVe Well Center, call the main line at 435-251-3793 or visit http://intermountainlivewell.com.
This Live Well column represents collaboration between healthcare professionals from the medical staffs of our not-for-profit Intermountain Healthcare hospitals and The Spectrum & Daily News.