New Year’s resolutions! REALLY?

It’s that time of year again! So, here we are — facing the New Year a little older and a little heavier.  You tell yourself it’s time to stop this process once and for all, but what should you do to get yourself feeling and looking as good as you feel inside? It is not as difficult as you would imagine to regain your youthful look and vitality in just a few easy steps. You just need know-how and a little concerted effort.  

By Jane Riley


Working out makes a myriad of positive changes for your body and psyche happen. Some of the researched and documented benefits of working out are as follows (this is my short list):

• Improved sleep
• Improved muscle tone
• Improved mood 
• Improved blood sugar control
• Improved blood lipids
• Improved body fat/ lean body mass ratio
• Improved posture
• Improved balance
• Improved strength
• Improved endurance
• Improved flexibility
• Improved eye-hand coordination
• Improved energy
• Improved confidence
• Improved attitude
• Improved appearance
• Improved digestion
• Improved mental focus
• Improved stress control
• Improved oxygen exchange in brain and tissues
• Improved power
• Improved Basal Metabolic Rate
• Improved heart rate 
• Improved memory
• Improved quality of life
• Longevity 


Eating healthily has innumerable positive benefits. Want my short list on that? Here we go. 

But first, I am not a big believer in special diets or weird protocols. Having been in the fitness and wellness industry for well over 45 years (I started very young — HAHA!) it never ceases to amaze me how people jump on the latest band wagon of a diet craze only to fall off, bleeding and bruised some weeks later when they find the protocol is just too restrictive or demanding. It really isn’t all that difficult.

Rule number one: If it wasn’t food a couple hundred years ago, it still isn’t. That simplifies things a lot, right?

Rule number two: Try to get as close to the source as possible — the fewer hands that touch your food, the better.

Rule number three: Go clean, organic, local and in season as much as possible. 

Here are the benefits of eating for optimal nutrition: 

• Getting and staying lean
• Optimizing your physical energy
• Optimizing your mental acuity 
• Reducing depression
• Reducing your cholesterol total and the bad LDLs
• Keeping your blood sugar level and normal
• Reducing the toxic load on your liver
• Reducing the toxic load in your gut   
• Reduction of constipation and/or diarrhea 
• Getting the optimal amounts of vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients 
• Staying optimally hydrated 
• Reduction of urinary tract infections
• Keeping your skin/hair/nails clear and healthy looking
• Reducing the amount of chemicals, hormones and antibiotics that you consume in your food    
• Reducing your personal carbon footprint
• Improving your digestion 
• Reducing the need for medication
• Reducing the incidence of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or anemia
• Increasing interest in your food selection by choosing a variety of healthy options
• Staving off colds and infections
• Keeping muscles well supplied with protein to avoid sarcopenia and muscle weakness
• Improving sports and activities performance
• Improving bone health
• Helping children develop to their physical and mental potential
• Reducing inflammation that leads to aches, pains and chronic diseases
• Aiding in recovery from injury or illness


Taking time to relax and enjoy a yoga session or a massage can make the difference between feeling out of shape, unhealthy and sluggish or feeling regenerated and renewed. 


Finally, hanging out with fun, positive, happy people (hopefully your family, friends and co-workers) is a tonic for your health that cannot be overstated! The “drain people” do just that … they drain you of vitality and energy. The best thing to do if such people are impacting your health in a negative way is to put on your running shoes and run, don’t walk away. No matter how much you try, it is nearly impossible to pull a Downer Debbie up, unless they are sick of being a drag themselves. Perhaps then there’s hope, otherwise, as positive and as a happy as you are, they will pull you down, too. Sometimes this makes for tough decisions. Sometimes it means putting as much distance between you and them as possible, or simply removing them from your life. Life is too short to be spending it being assaulted by negatives. 

I wish the happiest, healthiest and most fantastic year for you. 2020 has the sound of promise and possibilities. Everyone at the Cordillera Ranch Spa and Fitness Center wishes you all the very best that this year has to offer and we invite you to spend as much of it a possible with us. Happy New Year!

Jane Riley, Ed.D., M.S., B.A., is the Fitness and Wellness Director at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. She can be reached at or 808.212.8119.

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