This January I implore you to not make a New Year’s resolution (they don’t last long enough), but to strive to build habits that help you gain on your health year round. Here are a few ideas:
- Research shows a strong correlation with those who note, lose weight by eating better. This process makes us accountable and I recommend clients use old school pen and paper. This process, verses an app like MyFitnessPal, helps us zero in on our appetite with no calorie counting distractions. Data from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found those who wrote everything down lost 2x as much weight as those who didn’t. How is that for motivation? A small task can give big results.
- Pack your meals. When we pack our lunch, we can control the portion size and ingredients. Use the structure of going to an office to your advantage. Having this boundary and packing meals/snack, you can leave your options to healthy ones, even when at home you wouldn’t follow through. For example, my afternoon snack in the office used to 1-2 cups of raw vegetables and nuts. At home, I’d forgo the vegetables and likely eat more nuts, but if I was in an office and was hungry, I’d eat what I had on hand.
- Make sleep hygiene a priority. When we lock this in, many other healthy habits fall into place. First sleep needs to be appreciated and then it needs nurtured. On average the clocked hours in bed are as appalling as the current obesity rates. This might be common sense, but we will never have more than 24 hours in a day and the best ways to slow down time is to 1) organize ourselves, 2) be mindful (do you ever pause before eating?) and 3) meditate. So back to sleep – as adults we need a bedtime and a bedtime routine, just like children. We shall not abuse caffeine as it not only hurts our sleep it can hurt our hormones. More tips on sleep here.
- Move with interest. Likely we can all agree that movement is good, but make sure it’s something you enjoy. Yes, we may judge an interval workout will give a bigger burn than a walk, but if walking is something we really want to do, it benefits the body and the mind. Find new things that excite you, and rotate the activity each month, before it dulls.
- I am 100% stealing this brilliant idea from one of my favorite podcasts, The Health Bridge. It’s a 100 day Gong, or what can be defined as in Chinese, it’s a designated amount of time to practice a daily task. Data shows a habit takes about 90 days, so this time-frame is a beautiful amount of time to commit to a healthy action. January 1 I am committing to a 100 day Gong to #1) have warm greetings with my husband, and #2) have a 1 sentence gratitude journal. As for warm greetings, this encompasses just that. Rather than yelling to my husbands office, “good-bye” when I am off to an errand, I intend to put in more effort with our departure and my return. What type of task would you like to commit to?
- Theme/word. What theme or word would you like to empower for 2017? This year I want to be my best self and expect more out of myself. My word for 2017 is, “Rockstar.” I will believe in myself to accomplish more things and to be pleasantly surprised with what I can succeed to.
Life and health is a journey. No need to hold guilt over your head if you fall off track of what you intend. Just aim to take 3 steps forward with less back. Progress is a win.
Cheers to good health and Happy New Year!
Kelly Schmidt, RD, LDN