We are only a few days into the new year. This is the time that everyone makes a vow to change habits, become healthier, stronger, and improve their lives. “New Year-New You” ads are blasted at every gym, diet center, medi-spa, and salad bar. However, by the second week of February (according to recent polls) around 80% of people have abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions.
Why?It could be that old habits die hard. It could be that we, being a generation that thrives on instant gratification, get discouraged about how slowly our bodies respond to change and give up. Or it could be that we set ourselves up for failure by having objectives that are too big to achieve without focusing on all of the smaller changes needed to reach them.
We all have that one friend who proclaims “this year I’m going to lose 25 lbs and get ripped by summer.” He/she spends the first 2 two weeks of January eating salad and hitting the gym hard core, only to give up completely after the first chocolate binge on Valentine’s Day.
Confession. I’ve been that friend before. And chances are, you have too.
So, what can we do to get healthier, lose/maintain weight, and get more fit in 2017 without going whole hog (whole cauliflower?) at the gym and in the kitchen? How do we avoid burn out and make sustainable changes that nourish our bodies?
Today I am sharing 3 simple steps to a healthier, and ultimately happier, you in 2017.
1). Drink More Water: It seems so simple, but proper hydration makes a huge impact on your whole body. You skin will be clearer, you’ll have more energy, you’ll have less muscle/joint soreness, and you’ll be less likely to reach for junk food. Instead of making a goal to drink a gallon of water per day right off the bat, make the goal to have one glass of water every hour you’re awake during the day. Or instead of giving up coffee (or soda/sugary beverages/etc.), make it your goal to drink one glass of water before you reach for any other drink. You can add lemon or other fruits and herbs to keep it interesting, or even make your own vitamin water. When you’re properly hydrated, you’re a lot less likely to reach for caffeine or sugary drinks.
2). Eat Your Greens: I know that I advocate a whole foods, plant based lifestyle, but I also understand that might be too much of a change for some people, especially those currently eating a Standard American Diet. This lifestyle has been a gradual change over the course of several years for me and my family and did not happen overnight! So instead trying to go vegetarian, vegan, or plant based all at once, focus on getting more vegetables, specifically greens, into your daily diet. Start with one serving per day and work your way up from there. Try a green smoothie in the morning, a salad at lunch (or salad wrap!), and some more leafy greens with dinner. Greens are full of iron, magnesium, calcium, and many other vitamins and minerals that are essential to a happy and healthy body. Just remember to chew properly for smooth digestion and less bloating!
3). Get Moving: We all know that right now the gyms are packed, but come March they will be empty again. Instead of burning yourself out with intense workouts several days a week, move more every day. Get a simple pedometer and track your steps, trying to get in more steps every day. Take a lap or two around the office after every trip to the restroom or to refill your water. Add in a 5 minute stretching routine before bed. Park your car at the end of the parking lot and take the stairs instead of the elevator. These small actions will boost your energy, are good for heart health, and aid in proper digestion. As you become more active in daily life, you’ll naturally want to exercise more and can then start a sustainable exercise routine.
What do you think? Does making small habit changes seem more sustainable than one big New Year’s Resolution? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
*all photos are royalty-free stock photography from pexels.com