New Year, New You – Are Healthy Resolutions Helping or Hurting Us?

Why We Should Strive to be Healthier

Mark Mapoles, Contributor

Our physical and mental health is so important to living a successful life, yet we don’t spend enough time taking care of it. Through fitness and proper dieting, people can live a healthier and happier life and all it takes is 30 minutes a day. That’s about the same time as one episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. So if your New Year’s resolution is to look like Terry Crews, it’s time to start prioritizing health and fitness.

Fitness has huge benefits when it comes to mental health. According to the American Heart Association, “Regular physical activity can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and anger”. As University students, there is a lot of anxiety and stress that comes up daily. For some, the stress and anxiety around deadlines can almost be too much. That’s where exercise can play a key role in staying healthy and handling the pressures of school.

The best thing about fitness is that there is no right way of doing it. Some people walk, some people swim, some people workout. The important thing is to do <i>something<i>. The goal should be 30 minutes a day, but if that is too difficult, do five minutes a day. Any time spent exercising is time spent investing in a longer and healthier future life.

Dieting is the other way to live a healthier life. Whether its keeping track of your macros or making the conscious decision to eat vegetables instead of that Mars bar, dieting is important to live a healthy lifestyle. The US Department of Health & Human Services emphasizes that, “The link between good nutrition and healthy weight, reduced chronic disease risk, and overall health is too important to ignore”. This doesn’t mean you have to give up McDonalds and pizza, but rather be mindful of when your body could use some healthy food to balance out the delicious greasy food.

What now? Try it out and see for yourself. Take care of your body and mind through fitness and dieting and see how much healthier you’ll feel. If it doesn’t work, at least you tried something different and got to learn something new about how to take care of your body.

How 2019’s Diet Culture is Killing your New Year’s Resolution

Kaileigh Bunting, Contributor

Whether your New Year’s was spent getting a good night’s sleep or consisted of no less than six shots of tequila, you probably jumped into January with a few resolutions in mind. With the most common resolutions across North America being to get more exercise (61 per cent), eat better (71 per cent) and lose weight (54 per cent), it’s surprising the lack of knowledge the average Canadian has on what it actually looks like to be healthy. Toxic diet culture in society not only kills our New Year’s resolutions but is detrimental to emotional and physical health, as well as our finances.

With one in four Canadians suffering from anxiety disorders and other mental health-related issues, the pressure for improvement and the push from big companies such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers can not only be overwhelming but also damaging to one’s mental well-being. The expectation to succeed at all your New Year’s resolutions is unrealistic, but also, by not meeting those resolutions, most people will find a decrease in motivation and an increase in stress upon failing to reach their goal – even more than they might have been feeling before.

In addition to harming your mental well-being, your New Year’s resolution could be harming your wallet as well. According to the Globe and Mail, the average fitness centre will see you as “a personal cash register” when trying to sign up for a gym membership or new diet regime. When it comes to physical goals such as exercising more or drinking less, Physiology Today reports that over 80 per cent of resolutions fail by February, leaving goers in the same or worse shape than before.

The reality is, most Canadians are still unclear on what healthy living actually looks like, whether it’s misinformation about the new fad diet of the season, or the time-tried zero carb trend. This healthy living crisis needs to be addressed more seriously in our society, and should not be exploited without fail every January. Ultimately, New Year’s resolutions should focus on educational growth, not setting yourself up for failure.

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