My favorite part about this time of year? All the excitement around improving health and wellness. Whether you want to eat better, commit to a fitness program, stress less, it’s a time for new beginnings. That means it’s time for new year’s resolutions, fresh starts, and healthy changes. Not only do most of us take a good look at what we’re eating but we also need to evaluate our lives as a whole. There are so many elements that go into making your life healthy and happy. Fitness, stress management, and diet are just a few. Even if it’s incorporating something new every month, I can promise you these small changes will make a difference. Taking it one step at a time is the key to lasting success.
Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your efforts:
Go to bed earlier.
Make sleep a priority this new year. Try going to bed 20 minutes earlier or turning off the screens an hour before you go to bed. Keep your room tranquil. Are you too hot? Too cold? Do you like to snuggle under the covers? Do it! In the summer I like to leave my windows open with a fan. I cannot sleep without covers no matter what. Do what it takes for you to relax and not think about your stress. Take a hot bath, sip some tea and turn off your devices.
Never leave home without your water bottle.
On days where I stay hydrated throughout the day, I feel more focused and awake — and less likely to reach for that afternoon snack. Always have water available. Keep a water bottle at your desk, in your car, in the fridge, ready to grab.
Jennie from Colorado Springs Fit Body Boot Camp says, “Everyone is always asking me for a “magic pill” for weight loss. It amazes me the amount of money people spend on supplements and pills without first doing the most important step of making sure they are drinking enough water. Water makes your body work better! It flushes toxins out of your system, hydrates your joints, makes your brain sharper, and makes your skin look better. These are just a few of the benefits. Water is the ultimate “magic pill”.
Be consistent and enjoy your exercise.
I’m not going to tell you that you should be getting some exercise, because… duh. You know that. Aim to do strength training at least twice a week, in addition to your cardio workouts. But why don’t you try a new kind of work out this new year? You might be super comfortable with what you’re doing right now but you can find fun classes to try (even for free!) everywhere. Yoga, dance, boot camp…there are lots of choices! I actually found my boot camp class on Groupon. The first 3 classes were free, but I was hooked after 1. Go for a hike or a bike ride. Enjoy the outdoors. Make it a priority to do something you enjoy and doesn’t feel like a chore. There are even dance classes online that look super fun. Think of something you’ve always wanted to try. Try a tennis lesson, go to the batting cages, swim! Find a buddy to join you. Just move your body and have fun doing it. Frequently.
Add in strength training.
Strength or resistance exercises help to increase preserve muscle mass and increase fat loss.. And if you’re thinking that you simply don’t have the time to exercise then try breaking it up into multiple sessions a day. For example in just 10 minutes you can walk a thousand steps which is 10% of our daily target, or you could do some squats or lunges to add to that as well!
Good nutrition is just one part of a healthy lifestyle. Another component of health and fitness is exercise. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you need to get out and get moving. If you want to lose weight, it is important to increase aerobic activities like walking or running. If you need to increase your strength, then you need to start resistance training such as lifting weights.
Follow the 80/20 rule.
This is one of my personal goals for this year. Depriving yourself of treats 100% of the time just isn’t sustainable. The main point is to eat healthy 80% of the time and be more relaxed with your diet the other 20%. It makes it easier to stick to your plan. You’re less likely to fail if you plan for indulgences. But just because you’re eating well 80% of the time, that doesn’t mean you should use the other 20 to go on an all out binge. You should still watch your portion sizes and be somewhat conscious of the sugar and fat content.
I’ve pretty much had the “all or nothing” attitude for most of my life. Big mistake if you’re trying to get back in shape or lose weight. Try eating healthy Monday through Friday and be a little less strict on the weekends. If you do eat bad, don’t let it ruin your whole day. A few unhealthy meals aren’t going to ruin your body the same way a handful of healthy meals aren’t going to give you a six pack.
Eat your greens every day.
I’m a huge believer in eating some form of greens (usually some sort of salad) at almost every single meal. It may sound extreme to some of you, but I promise that once you start, you’ll be hooked! Eat a big salad for lunch, grill some asparagus with olive oil and garlic at dinner, and for breakfast make a spinach quiche. There are so many possibilities. You don’t need to try a fancy diet; just eat as many vegetables as you can every day. Leafy greens are extremely low in calories, yet super high in nutrients. If you make them the base of your lunch and dinner you’ll definitely feel a difference this new year.
Most people notice an immediate and very noticeable energy boost when they start including more leafy greens in their diet. That is because leafy greens contain magnesium and B Vitamins which most people are severely lacking in their diets. When I have had periods of not eating my greens – I have noticed that I have a lot less energy and start to crave foods like chocolate and sweets on a regular basis.
Stop feeling guilty.
Feeling guilty about what you ate (or didn’t eat) does more harm to your mind and body than the extra serving of french fries or slice of pecan pie. Time to kiss guilt goodbye for good, especially since it’s completely counterproductive and serves no forward moving purpose. Let it go!
Boost your mood.
It happens to all of us at some point or another: we feel stuck, or can’t seem to shake that blah feeling. Arm yourself with some easy and fun ways to get unstuck and reinvigorated, even when you want to hide under the covers.
Boost your immunity.
It’s hard to feel your best unless you make your own health a full blown priority. By using colorful (and delicious!) food and other non-traditional methods to add to your immune-boosting routine, you can give yourself some extra TLC all year long. Boosting immunity is especially important right now with all that’s going on in the world. Several small tips include:
- Sleep and immunity are closely tied. Inadequate sleep may increase your risk of getting sick. Most adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
- Healthy fats like olive oil and omega-3s are highly anti-inflammatory. Since chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system, these fats may naturally combat illnesses.
- Given that dehydration can make you more susceptible to illness, be sure you’re drinking plenty of water each day.
- Eat more whole plant foods. Several whole plant foods contain antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C, all of which may lower your susceptibility to illness.
- Gut health and immunity are deeply interconnected. Fermented foods and probiotics may bolster your immune system by helping it identify and target harmful pathogens.
- Moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and promote the healthy turnover of immune cells. Jogging, biking, walking, swimming, and hiking are great options.
- Limit sugar. Added sugars contribute significantly to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, all of which can suppress your immune system. Lowering your sugar intake may decrease inflammation and your risk of these conditions.
Self-care is not all or nothing. A little goes a long way.
It’s so important to make sure you take good care of your body, mind, and soul every day, not just when you get sick. Practicing self-care isn’t always easy. Most of us are crazy busy, have stressful jobs, or are too consumed with technology to make time for ourselves. Me-time is usually last on the agenda. Worse, we can sometimes feel guilty about taking the time required to take care of ourselves. So getting started with self-care can be challenging.
The thing about self-care is that it is a practice that requires you choosing to do it. It will not happen unless you intentionally make space for it. But the result is worth the effort. With a bit of self-care, you can experience more joy, rest, and soul-health.
Now go do it.
Sometimes getting started with a new healthy diet and fitness plan is the easy part. Many of us hit occasional roadblocks due to busy schedules, loss of motivation, or weight loss plateaus.
Those are the times when we feel like we do everything right, but the scale doesn’t seem to budge. When this happens, don’t give up. Think back to why you made the goal in the first place and find the inspiration you need to get back on track. Be sure to celebrate your small successes too! Here are some non-food related ways to reward yourself for the progress you make toward reaching your goals.
If there’s one thing we all know about New Year’s resolutions, it’s that they’re easy to make, but hard to maintain. Small changes are where it’s at. Resolutions are like diets: they usually don’t last enough to make long term changes. Starting today, make a small change and feel the difference. Happy Healthy New Year!
SET GOALS AND CRUSH THEM
- 2 Weekly Fitness Planners
- 1 Weekly Meal Planner
- 1 Weekly Food Tracker
- 1 Monthly Workout Planner
- 1 Before & After Page
- 1 Exercise log Page
- 1 Recipe Page
- 1 Healthy Habit Tracker
- 1 30 Day Challenge Page