We’re just about to the second week of January and that’s about the time that we start experiencing the difficulties of sticking to our New Year’s Resolutions. Especially those about getting healthier.
Schedules get back to normal, things get busy and we suddenly find ourselves in drive-thru lines.
Exhaustion from the frenzy of the holiday season begins to rear its’ lazy head.
Muscles are sore from hitting the gym for a week and we lose the motivation to push through.
Salad doesn’t look as good as it did last week and sodas are calling our name.
Whatever your struggle, remember that any positive change in your life takes time. Whether you fall off the wagon doesn’t matter as much as if you’re willing to jump back on.
My husband and I noticed that eating like we always had didn’t work so well once we were in our 40s. So, we set out to change our diets for the better. It actually took about a year and a half before those changes became our new normal. We didn’t just fall off the wagon every now and again…we jumped off! Even now, we don’t beat ourselves up if we eat crap here and there but the motivation of feeling good has replaced the dogged determination of doing something we knew would turn out to be beneficial.
Lucky for us, we’ve both always been active so exercise hasn’t been a struggle. However, I have friends that were never naturally inclined to physical activity and they struggle quite a bit with getting up and moving. Getting stronger and losing some body fat is their resolution so I suggest they find a friend and encourage one another to be consistent. Why? Because there will be days you just don’t want to move. I promise, it does get easier as you begin to see and feel results but, it may take a while. Hang in there. Too often, we allow our failures to dictate our future but it doesn’t have to be that way. The secret to finding yourself at the end of this New Year with major change under your belt is simply to continue. Whether you succeed or fail…continue. Get up when you fall and start again. Don’t wait till next January. And fight the tendency to get discouraged.
Changing habits takes a while and it’s difficult, but it’s worth it.
Here are a few tips that might help you in the process. First of all, make small changes. Some people can clean out their kitchen and cut all sugar and processed foods out of their diet in one fell swoop. But, most people need to take it one step at a time. Either way, I’m listing my top suggestions for getting healthy in 2016.
Stop drinking sugary drinks!! Drink water and add fruit slices if you need some flavor. Most of us are dehydrated and don’t even know it. If you aren’t going to stop completely, try cutting them out at home or only drinking them on the weekends. (The same goes for alcohol by the way.) Side benefit? Your grocery bill will be lower.
Get rid of the sugary foods in your house. Having a dessert every once in a while is better than being able to grab a handful of M&Ms every hour of every day. This use to be my weakness, but keeping it out of my house has really helped me find some freedom from those cravings. I still use honey and maple syrup pretty often but refined sugar is relegated to special occasions.
Stop eating fast food for a week and see how you feel. Again, your pocket book will thank you as well as your body.
Start cooking with whole foods. In other words, don’t buy boxed foods. It’s much easier (and quicker) than you think to cook wonderful meals with real food. Especially with the internet at hand.
Count your calories using an app such as MyFitnessPal. If the average woman is eating 3000 calories a day, she’s gonna gain weight. Unfortunately, eating 3000 calories a day isn’t as hard as you might think. Keeping track for a couple of days can give you a good idea of where your weaknesses are.
Get your heart rate up at least 4 times a week.
Until you crave the feeling of working out, pick a time and place and stick with it for a month. It helps if you can find a friend to workout with as well. It’s harder to say no to something when someone is waiting for you.
Find something that you might enjoy. CrossFit, Yoga, weight lifting, HIT workouts online, boxing, MMA, running, riding bikes, walking, swimming, jazzercise, soccer, basketball ….It doesn’t matter as long as you’re moving. But, keep in mind that any activity that builds muscle is not only great for you bones but also for burning fat.
Don’t feel like you have to prove anything. An injury will only derail your plans so take it safe, steady and slow. If you decide to try something like CrossFit or boxing, make sure your coach is well trained and that his concern is for your health. Any sport is relatively safe with good form and good coaching and any sport is dangerous with bad form and bad coaching.
Listen to something that makes you happy while you’re working out whether it’s music, a book on Audible or a sports station. If you feel good and are happy while you’re sweating, you’re more likely to keep it up. Along those lines, enjoy the people you’re with. If they irritate you, you’ll quit.
Get sleep. Some of us need 9-10 hours and some only need 6-7 but most need more than we’re getting.
Lastly, and I really do believe it’s important, take some time to slow down and just breath. I mean literally…breath. Inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds for a minute or so a couple of times a day. Consciously relax your shoulders and let go of worry and stress as best as you can. Find a quiet place to just rest and decompress. Then, count your blessings. Examine your thoughts and feelings. Pray. And focus on your successes and not your failures.
None of our resolutions mean a hill of beans if they don’t allow us to enjoy our lives a little more. If you’re hoping to be a stronger, healthier you by the end of the year, why not start today by being a happier and more grateful you as well.
As Coach Jim always says to us, “Good to go?”
Yep….you got this!