Hello from the high seas and happy new year! As you know, Matt and I are currently on a cruise with Carnival in the Caribbean. Pretty amazing way to ring in the new year! I’ll share a couple recaps once we’re back, but until then you can check out Instagram to see a sneak preview of what we’ve been up to. 🙂
And now, since it’s officially the new year, I wanted to share my best tips for having a healthy new year.
#1 – Make exercise FUN vs. a chore.
This is something I work with my AnneTheRD clients a lot on – reframing exercise to be something that’s fun and your special de-stressing “me time” vs. a boring/annoying obligation. The best way to do this is to figure out what kind of exercise you actually find fun!
For me, I don’t particularly enjoy machines at the gym. I used to do the elliptical and the treadmill and all that until one day I realized – this totally sucks. I also decided I didn’t love at-home workouts, or solo workouts, or dance/step workouts. So I found exercise that I enjoyed a lot more, and worked on looking at it as an opportunity, and time to do something for me, not an annoyance. I love any sort of outdoor workout – running, walking, hiking, biking – as well as group classes that are higher intensity like boot camps/circuit workouts, CrossFit, kickboxing with bags, etc. I also really enjoy power yoga, and that’s been a big help with working on reframing exercise as my time for myself because most of my yoga classes end with the instructor telling us to thank ourselves for taking that time out of our day to do something just for us. Think about it – this might be your one hour out of the day that you aren’t constantly checking your phone/thinking about what you need to do later. Exercise is such an amazing way to recharge if you just allow it to be.
The other big key for me, as I’ve written about a lot before, is to make friend exercise dates! This automatically makes your workout a fun adventure – and as a bonus, it’s a lot harder to bail. I find this is especially helpful for early morning workouts. 🙂
#2 – Instead of doing a “detox”, focus on cleaning up your diet in a sustainable way.
The best way to do this? Cool it on the fried food, alcohol, excessive caffeine (not saying no caffeine, let’s not be crazy here, just not 8 coffees a day), and any other food that doesn’t make you personally feel your best. Focus on filling your plate with lots of veggies, as well as protein, healthy fat (like avocado, nuts, seeds), and minimally processed carbs/grains. There’s no need to take an extreme approach – not only will it not be sustainable but it will also set you up to fail.
Remember: what works for others might not necessarily be what works for you! Figure out what makes YOU feel your best, and forget what everyone else is doing. Also, focus on eating healthy MOST of the time, but not always. If there’s zero room for indulgence, it won’t be sustainable.
#3 – Instead of resolutions, try daily actions.
I’m all for people making decisions to change their lives in a healthy way. But that said: I’m not a big new year’s resolution person. I know that resolutions do work for some, but for me (and, I’ve found, for my AnneTheRD clients), big resolutions, while made with good intentions, are often too broad and overwhelming and can be hard to translate into real action. As I hope I’ve shown on this blog, I believe much more in the power of small daily actions that lead up to something bigger.
Whenever I have a nutrition counseling session with a client, we end the meeting or call with goal setting. I find that setting small daily or weekly goals really helps with making healthy living a lifestyle change vs. a quick fix — or a huge overwhelming goal that is never reached. The key is to make sure the goals are specific and measurable, focusing on daily action in the short term.
Here are some examples of how to turn a broad resolution into a more specific action.
Resolution: “I will lose weight this year.”
Daily/Weekly Action: “I will eat at least one extra vegetable every day.” or “I will avoid products whose ingredient lists include things I don’t recognize or understand.” or “I will eat a healthy breakfast 5 out of 7 days of the week.”
Resolution: “I will exercise more this year.”
Daily/Weekly Action: “I will schedule at least three workouts into my calendar every week.” or “I will run 3 miles twice per week.” or “I will go to yoga every Saturday morning for the next month.” or “I will sign up for and run a half marathon this spring.”
Again, setting a daily or weekly action will help to make the overall end goal more reachable, because you have something specific and measurable to focus on. Achieving the original resolution will end up being a side effect of your long term behavior change.
#4 – Get enough sleep!
I’ll end with this one because sleep is SO important and a lot of people tend not to prioritize it enough! If you aren’t sleeping enough, you are setting yourself up to fail, health-wise. I’ve had clients come to me who are, it seems, doing everything right – eating well, exercising regularly – and yet they feel like crap and can’t lose weight. Often, one of the biggest reasons for this (besides stress, which is a whole other blog post) is because they are not getting nearly enough sleep.
Sleep is vital to overall health and important for recovery from workouts, too. It’s also necessary in our attempts to eat healthy. Lack of sleep upregulates a hormone called ghrelin that makes you hungry, which is why it often seems like we are ravenous (and usually ravenous for sugar) if we are overtired. I wrote a whole post on the importance of sleep and tips for sleeping better last year – check it out.
This post was created as part of my collaboration with Carnival. As always, all of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are my own.