Why should “new year, new you” get all the attention?
At the start of every new year, millions of Americans resolve to lose weight, save money, or finally clean out their garage. Unfortunately, most of these new year’s resolutions never pan out.
According to a 2018 survey, of the 58% of people who actually made a resolution, only about 9% said they felt they achieved their goals. What’s more, only about half of those respondents kept up with their goals through the month of February.
Even though the months may pass, your motivation and “new year, new you” mentality doesn’t have to wane completely. Whether you have specific goals, like eating more fruits and vegetables, or you just want to give your health a little spring cleaning, it’s never too late to start (again). Here are five easy ways to give your health a makeover this spring.
1. Wash your sheets often. Your sheets are nasty (probably). Unless you clean your bed’s underthings every week (and less than half of Americans actually do, according to a 2017 survey), skin cells, oils, germs, and other bodily fluids—most of which you may not even be able to see—can latch onto your sheets. These ickies in your bedsheets can trigger a host of health issues, like acne, allergies, eczema, asthma, and even colds or the flu. (Learn more about why your dirty sheets are harming your health.)
2. Leave your shoes at the front door. Having a “shoes shall not pass” rule when entering your home not only keeps your furniture and floors free of dirty things you can see, like mud and debris, but also (or especially) the nasty things you can’t see.
Think about it: During the day you step on everything from trash to bathroom floors to bird and dog poop, which can latch onto your shoes and harbor harmful bacteria and toxins, like E. coli and C. difficile. And these bacteria are no walk in the park: E. coli can cause diarrhea, UTIs, and pneumonia, and C. difficile can lead to life-threatening diarrhea and intestinal conditions, like colitis. Here are more reasons to never EVER wear shoes in your home.
3. Get a new toothbrush. Take a look at your toothbrush and ask yourself when the last time you got a new one was. Are the bristles frayed? Is there lots of gunked-on toothpaste? Having good toothbrush hygiene is an essential component to a healthy oral care routine. An unkempt brush can harbor bacteria, which could lead to an oral or systemic infection, and frayed bristles can dampen your toothbrush’s cleaning power. What’s more, not caring for your teeth properly could increase your risk for heart disease. Do your mouth a favor: Replace your brush ever three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are looking frazzled.
4. Eat better with a fridge makeover. When you open your refrigerator, do you see colorful fruits and vegetables, or do you see last night’s pizza, a jar year-old of jam, and a tupperware of questionable leftovers? If it’s the latter, it may be time to purge.
Start by clearing out expired products, and hiding or tossing the not-so-good-for-you eats (out of sight out of mind!). After you’ve cleaned out your cold house, place all your pretty, healthy produce towards the front. Studies have found that people are significantly more likely to eat the first thing they see. Ready to take a step further? Here are more ways to organize your fridge for weight loss.
5. Declutter your kitchen to destress (and lose weight). Clutter anywhere can cause stress, but the angst caused by a chaotic kitchen may lead you to make unhealthy food choices. In a study by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, women were asked to wait in either a messy kitchen or a tidy one. These kitchens were also stocked with cookies, crackers, and carrots. As it turns out, women in the messy kitchens ate more cookies than women in the clean ones. Moral of the story? Keep your kitchen clean so you can stay calm, cool, collected—and in control of your cravings. Here are more weird habits that can affect your weight loss goals.
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Laundry habits survey. Mulberry’s Cleaners. (Accessed on April 18, 2018 at https://www.mulberryscleaners.com/laundry-habits-survey)
Back acne: how to see clearer skin. Schaumburg, IL: American Academy of Dermatology. (Accessed on April 18, 2018 at https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/back-acne-how-to-see-clearer-skin)
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Shoe soles as a potential vector for pathogen transmission: a systematic review. Houston, TX: University of Houston College of Pharmacy, 2016. (Accessed on April 18, 2018 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27495010)
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