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“When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no “I’ll start tomorrow”. Tomorrow is disease.” – Terri Guillemets

It is safe to assume that many of us have put “Lose Weight”, “Exercise More”, or “Eat Healthier” at the top of our New Year Resolutions.  It is important to understand why we want to make these changes and why they are beneficial to our mental health.  Losing weight is usually the key catalyst to our new desire to get more exercise or change our eating habits, but beyond losing weight the affects of diet and exercise can greatly influence our wellness and mental health.  Are you dreading your date with your treadmill or choking down your dinner of chicken breast and vegetables?

Here are a few reasons to make you enthusiastic about your new exercise regime and healthy eating habits:

  • Aerobic exercise done 3 to 5 times a week can reduce anxiety
  • Exercise several times a week has been proven to relieve the symptoms of depression
  • Eating a healthy breakfast speeds up your metabolism and gives you greater mental dexterity
  • Exercise helps you sleep better, resulting in higher levels of energy renewed
  • Working-out can take your mind off of your worries
  • Endorphins are released while exercising which are responsible for happiness and your body’s painkillers
  • Hitting your goals can help you gain confidence
  • Eating protein-rich snacks boost production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, which improve stress levels, mood and mental acuity
  • Short exercise sessions can reduce anger, tension, and sadness
  • Foods like fruits, nuts, and vegetables support a balanced mood
  • Crash dieting, deprivation, or setting unrealistic goals are the common reason for resolutions to be broken.  It is more beneficial to make small changes that are not drastic and all at once, and to stay consistent with these changes.  Rather than focusing on the new love handles you have acquired over the holidays, or the skinny jeans that are collecting dust in your closet, make your resolutions about health – both physical and mental.