The beginning of the year is always a time for renewal: to think about how to make this year better than the last, to create new goals for yourself, and to introduce good changes into your lifestyle. When it comes to health and wellness, the changes that are likely to stick are either those that are backed by your own resolve and motivation, or are so simple that they are easy to build into your day-to-day.  Here are 3 things you can start doing today to become healthier:


1. Avoid processed food. Processed food has a lot of undesirable ingredients that put our health at risk like added sugar, excessive sodium, and chemical substances that can wreak havoc on our systems. This year, make a pact with yourself to prioritize real, whole food -- food that comes from plants and animals, not labs and factories.  It's good practice to read labels and shun anything with ingredients that your grandmother cannot recognize, but even better to just purchase things that don't come with a label at all, like fruit, vegetables, meat, and seafood.


2. Eat more vegetables. Observe how many Filipinos eat: the staples are always rice or noodles and then ulam.  Vegetables are often an after-thought: perhaps a piece of lettuce in a burger, a slice of tomato and cucumber with a rice meal, or a tiny bit of atchara in your tapsilog. Many of us are missing out on a whole range of micronutrients whose best sources are vegetables. Because all of us have a certain number of calories to consume in order to either maintain or lose weight, you want to make sure that your calorie "budget" for the day is taken up FIRST by the most nutrient-dense food possible.  So, at every meal, reach for the vegetables FIRST.


3. Be more active. Think about the amount of time you spend sitting or lying down in a day. Perhaps 6-8 hours of sleeping, 5-6 hours of sitting through work and meetings, and traffic? Add a couple more watching Netflix. If you are sedentary for most of your 24 hours, then "moving around more" could simply mean:

Standing up every 45 minutes to grab a sip of water

Walking leisurely for at least 30 minutes every other day (shopping counts!)

Devoting just 15 to 20 minutes a couple of times a week to some weight-bearing exercise (even if it's your own body weight). Time is not an excuse. Money is not an excuse. If you have time for Facebook and Netflix, then you have time for SOME form of exercise. Just move. 


Let's do this!