12/16/2015 05:37 EST | Updated 12/16/2016 05:12 EST

5 Reasons Eating Healthier Should Be At The Top Of Your New Year's Resolution List

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refrigerator full of healthy food. fruits and vegetables

With a new year upon us, it is time to reflect, be grateful and set some good intentions for the road ahead. If you are making a resolution to eat healthier this year, you aren't alone. While many of us vow to eat healthier, our motivation is often to lose weight. Is this alone enough to motivate us to stick to it? Considering that only 8 per cent of people actually stick to their New Year's resolutions, probably not.

Eating healthy is about so much more than looking good in those skinny jeans. When we truly understand what a profound impact the food we eat can have on every aspect our lives, we are much more likely to stick to healthy eating habits. Here are five motivating reasons to make eating healthy a priority this year.

1. Eating healthy will positively impact your mental health

What you eat can have a huge impact on your mental health. Approximately 20 per cent of Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point during their lifetime. Eating high amounts of sugar and processed food has been linked to an increased risk of depression. On the other hand, eating whole foods like sweet potatoes, spinach, berries and avocados will lower inflammation in the body and help raise serotonin levels to fight symptoms of depression and keep you feeling healthy and happy.

2. Eating healthy will increase your energy levels

The food you put in your body will determine whether you spring out of bed in the morning or hit that snooze button 20 times then need an afternoon nap. Eating a diet full of real foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fish and lean meats will help stabilize your blood sugar to keep your energy level steady throughout the day and avoid those dreaded crashes.

3. A healthier diet will improve your sleep quality

A big part of eating healthier is cutting down on your consumption of things like alcohol, caffeine and sugar, all of which negatively impact your sleep. When you improve the quality of your sleep, you give your body a better chance to rejuvenate. In turn, it becomes much easier to lose weight and make healthier choices when it comes to food.

4. A healthy diet will improve your digestion

There is no doubt that poor digestion negatively impacts your quality of life. Feeling bloated, gassy or constipated tends to make you feel uncomfortable, self-conscious and anti-social. But when you balance your diet with real foods packed with things like fibre and probiotics, your digestive system runs much more smoothly. As a result, your belly feels less distended, your bowels work the way they were meant to and you are able to actually enjoy life.

5. Eating healthy will improve your self-confidence and relationships

Consuming a healthy diet makes you feel a whole lot better both inside and out, which leads to higher self-confidence. When you eat well, sleep well and are in good mental health -- you tend to feel a lot better about yourself and the world around you. This helps cultivate a better relationship with not only yourself but also with those you love.

Like I said -- eating healthier is about so much more than weight loss. What you eat can impact every aspect of your life from your mental health to your sleep and relationships. So go ahead and wholeheartedly commit to developing healthier eating habits this year. Set goals that are simple and tangible. Make time to meal plan to set yourself up for success. But above all else, believe in yourself. This is your year. You can do this!