A new year, means a new, long list of resolutions right?
Maybe you want to lose weight, cut carbs, cut sugar, or cut out ALL unhealthy foods in general?
Or even, stay in better touch with family or friends, quit smoking, save money, get more sleep, get in the best shape of your life and overall just be healthy? While this is ALL great stuff of course, what is NOT so good is when we put so much on our plate that we get overwhelmingly stuffed.
So what I am proposing to YOU if you want to make a positive change, is start by choosing 1 thing, just 1, and make it small and specific.
I know, I know. We all want to lose weight. Great! But how can you make that goal of yours a bit more specific, manageable and realistic?
Many times going into the New Year we go all out with our workouts that first and second week that by the third week in we are so burnt out, or maybe we cut out sugar and are doing really great during the week but by the weekend you drive by your favorite donut shop and just have to stop. It’s okay, I’ve been there too.
That is why I want you to approach this year with a potential shift in your mindset. Instead of overwhelming your brain with a long list of items, just pick 1 small postive change to really focus on for 30 days. See if you can really commit to that change for 30 days.
Maybe there is one not so healthy habit that you can’t stop thinking about and it’s driving you up the wall, or you just know it is not making a positive impact on your life currently. Here are some examples below of many common habits that people like to change! Right next to them are small ways to fix them! Feel free to take one of these examples below to work on for 30 days or choose one of your choice! I am going to abstain from alcohol for 30 days in order to refresh myself. Feel free to do that with me 😉
Examples of unhealthy habits: ——-> Small, realistic fix for that habit:
Mindless eating after dinner ——–> 1) Pinpoint the area where you tend to start eating alot-for many it is at night, infront of the TV. If you start finding that everytime you watch your favorite TV show at night that you HAVE to have something crunch and just can’t get that out of your head- try and substitute that “unhealthy crunch” like buttery popcorn, cookies, or numerous hand full of nuts for a different type of crunch like 1 handful of almonds, couple stalks of celery with peanut butter, carrots with hummus and see how that makes you feel. 2) If you don’t really like the idea of swapping for a healthier crunch at night, try portioning out your food instead. Many times we grab the whole bag of popcorn, instead of putting it in a bowl. So try portioning out your snack into a smaller dish and only eat what you have portioned out for yourself. For the rest of it, wrap it up, put it in the cupboard, put it away in the fridge, turn off the light in your kitchen and that will signal to your brain okay that’s enough. Out of sight, out of mind.
The crazy sweet tooth dragon comes out at night! —-> I know sweets, chocolates, and cakes can be oh so good and addicting, but may not be the healthiest for us if we are consuming them every night. 1) One healthy alternative is “Metabolic Effect Craving Cocoa”. I’ve had this stuff before, actually I currently still own some 🙂 and it’s SO good and helps my chocolate cravings at night. Metabolic Effect Craving Cocoa 2) Another helpful “sweet” treat is called “fro pro” (frozen protein). This is a dessert coined by another fitness professional where you take some plain greek yogurt- add some berries to it, maybe a little bit of almond butter , some chocolate chips, almonds, blueberries…and put it in the freezer for 5-10 min and then when you take it out it is a “healthier” version of frozen yogurt!
Emotional eating ——> Maybe your girlfriend or boyfriend just dumped you, you lost your job or your boss stresses you out. The first thing that comes to mind when you get home from work is food. Give me all the food and wine, now. While this is okay from time to time- hey we are all human! It it not a good idea to make a habit out of this. If this is the case, then a change may need to happen at work or with that significant other of yours. If you constantly find yourself reaching for that bottle or the pint of ice cream then try and find a healthier alternative. Sign up for a yoga class you can go to straight from work, go on a walk with your dog or friend as soon as you get home, schedule a personal training session before or after work ;), whatever it is, try to refocus your brain to more positive and healthier thoughts.
Too much alcohol —-> Social get togethers, happy hours, your friend just got promoted, your friend lost her job, birthdays, holidays, you just want a damn drink. Whatever it is, there is always an excuse to drink! Hey, I love me some vino. But is it okay to drink ALL the time? While moderation is typically the answer for most things- other times it feels good to just reset and rejuvenate the body and mind. 1)That is why once a year I like to do a 30 day detox of alcohol in order to reset, cleanse, and just give my body a little break. I also find that is starts to impact my workouts quite a bit the next day and plus with my age starting to creep up a tad..my body can’t quite handle it like it did back in those good ole college days. 2) I think it is also a great idea to have it more on special occasions as it can be something to really look forward to!. Do you feel like you are having a glass of wine or some beer every night after work? Try to start pouring some sparkling water or kombucha into a wine glass or even grab some hot tea and feel the warmth on your hands. Now I do not want you to feel restricted by any means but if you feel like you have just gotten into the habit of having a glass or some beer every night and it’s not even worth it, then is it worth it to your body and the results you are hoping for?
Cereal for breakfast —> For this one, all I hear is sugar (well for the majority of those out there!). It also doesn’t tend to fill you up as much as say eggs or greek yogurt or another protein filled meal, so I want you to think about how satisfying this one is for you? Is it something you ABSOLUTELY need to have? Does it make you do a crazy happy dance once it hits your mouth? If so, then great! I think it is really smart that we enjoy our foods wholeheartedly and as long as you are making smart decisions the rest of the day, then it may not be making too much of an impact. I also think if you are going to choose to have it, then eat it on the days when you are doing heavy strength training, particularly post workout. However, if it isn’t that mindblowing, or your significant other keeps buying it, or you are always in a rush to work, then try making some changes. Start by making some healthy egg muffins on Saturdays or Sundays so that you are prepped for the week and can just easily grab it in the am. Or you can hard boil some eggs and that is a quick fix as well. Not a fan of eggs? For some, overnight oats tend to do the trick. Here is a PB Overnight Oats recipe I found! —>http://minimalistbaker.com/peanut-butter-overnight-oats/
Too much sugar and/or unhealthy cream in your coffee —>This was something I made a change to about three or four years ago and have not stopped ever since. Sometimes I will drink it straight black but that’s once in a blue moon. For now, I like mine with a TOUCH of cream (preferably organic) and nothing else. If you find that having your coffee with sugar is a non-negotiable for you, but are itching to start making a change, start by adding in half the packet every morning instead of 1. My husband likes to add a little bit of honey into his and that helps him with the sweetness factor. Maybe even a touch of cinnamon will help as well!Or maybe you like the flavored creamers, start by introducing yourself to coconut milk or almond milk and see if one of those changes helps. Remember start small, so perhaps two times a week you start adding a different type of milk into your coffee or you start putting half the sugar amount in. Slowly but surely your body will start to get used to that change and may even start telling you that it was too sweet to begin with!
Portion sizes of your meals ——> yes, yes we all go out to eat and the portion sizes they tend to give you at restaurants are quite huge. Now instead of stressin’ and getting yourself all worked up over that huge pasta dish you have in front of yourself, think about how you can cut it down? Maybe you take half the portion and put it on your plate and tell the server to wrap the rest up for you? Or perhaps you and your husband or wife share a plate when you go out to dinner? Okay, great but what about when you are making the meals at home? Now I’m certainly not one for weighing my food and or calorie counting. I have learned through trial and error as to what will work for me and have found that the hand trick is one great tool that is quite helpful!
Not drinking enough water—-> Now I’m sure all of us have heard this one a million times. Your doctor, trainer, and mom preaches it to you. But it really is true. Water is SUCH a great free fat loss tool. But what if you don’t like the taste of water? How can I start making sure I’m getting enough in? Well, one way to start is by adding in some cucumbers or lemons to your water to add a little flavor to it. 2) Buy yourself a water bottle with a straw- that is definitely a trick that works for me!
Lack of sleep or not getting enough—-> I have started to absolutely CHERISH my sleep. I just love love love it. I also tend to get up really early during the week to train clients so I make sure to try and get at least 7 hours each night, otherwise I don’t function the next day as well as I would like to. My husband can attest to that 😉 It is also great for fat loss, so if that is something you are striving for, get to bed. 1) Start by trying to schedule 1 or 2 days out of your week where you can get to sleep a tad bit earlier then you are used to. See how you feel the next day. 2) Turn off all electronics at least half hour-1 hour before bed (Yes, this is something I most certainly am working on!). Open up a good old fashioned book. 3) Practice some deep breathing while lying in bed. I like to inhale for 5 slow breaths, hold it for 5 breaths and then exhale for 5 breaths. 4) Take a hot bath or light some incense before bed to give yourself some down time.
Not enough time to workout—> I get it, we are busy bees! Maybe you have a new baby, or you are working 6am-8pm each day. I understand that stuff can make it absolutely tough to get to the gym. and I don’t blame you for not having enough time! One way that can be helpful is to start structuring home workouts. If you have some free weights, bands, a kettlebell, or just your bodyweight 😉 you can still get an effective 15-20 minute workout in! Read “my short on time” article to help get some ideas for a workout! 2) Communicate with your partner that getting a workout in the morning is very important to you, and see if you can work out a schedule where one of you goes a certain number of days to the gym while the other watches the baby and vice versa. 3) Schedule your workout in your phone or planner- if it is in there already it is going to make the priority list just like a doctors visit does. 4) Have a plan. This is probably the most important one of them all. If you have a plan/ workout program and know what you are doing, then you are more likely to prioritize it.
Eating out too often —-> you might find that it has become quite a habit to get lunch takeout with your friends 2-3 times a week or you forgot to pack your lunch but oh well, because there is a cafeteria. But that stuff can add up! Especially for your wallet…1) Start prepping your lunch or dinner meals the night before so that you are prepped the next morning or afternoon when you head into work! 2) Pick a day out of the month where you are going out with friends or co-workers and go out on that day each month. 3) Take dinner leftovers to work, score!
Working out TOO much—-> Maybe you are coming home at night and you are absolutely exhausted, maybe you are super sore and it’s just not going away, or lastly you don’t even FEEL like working out when you are typically all for it. Those could all be signs of over-training and your body is sending a signal enough is enough. At this point 1) take a week to reset. 2) shorten up your workouts, 3) Don’t go to the gym as often 4) Add in more active recovery days ( ie foam rolling or a nice leisure walk!) 5) Most importantly, LISTEN to your body.
Now those are some examples of unhealthy habits that people like you and me want to change! SO if you are going to pick one of the habits I’ve listed above OR you already have one in your head, go ahead and start SMALL with it. Starting this Monday January 11th, I want you to either work on limiting the amount day by day ( or adding depending on what it is!), work on eliminating or adding it couple days each week, or in my case abstaining from it for 30 days. Whatever it is that you choose, make sure you have pinpointed something that can be realistic and maneagable to work with. If not, we may have a harder time working on making that change for better or worse!
Make a note as to how you feel on Monday Jan. 11th, take some measurements, or take a picture of yourself and then in 30 days do the same thing. See if there was a positive change, I most certainly think there will be 😉
Here’s to 2016!
Happy New Year,