Keeping Up With Your New Years Resolutions

New Years Resolutions are a funny thing. It’s as if we wait all year to make promises to ourselves to be our best selves- to work harder, exercise more often, eat better, drink less- that, let’s be real, do not last long. We should really be making these self-improvement goals every day of our lives, but instead we believe that the start of a new year will bring real change. Wouldn’t it be nice to stay true to your goals without the stress or self-sabotage?  Yes, of course it would, but this can be challenging! Here are some tips to help keep you on course with your resolutions and health goals throughout the new year:

Create realistic and specific goals.

People often rush to set their resolution, and even more often want to make a big change in their lives (quit smoking, loose so-and-so many pounds) instead of setting realistic, planned out, step by step goals. When you don’t give yourself enough time to plan out your resolutions, you are not setting yourself up for success. To make a goal truly doable, one needs a thought-out plan of action based on self-reflection and understanding.

Remember learning about SMART goals?  SMART goals can be used as a guideline to form top-notch goals.  SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. It is important to answer the questions “who, what, where, which, when, why” when planning your goals. Who do you need to surround yourself with to achieve this goal?  Is it a gym buddy, or just a friend who can hold you accountable?  What do you want to accomplish? Where do you need to be to work towards your goal? Identify a location and establish a time frame in which this goal will take place. Which requirements and restraints will you face? And why are you working toward this goal in the first place? Are the details of the goal realistic? Nailing down the specifics will make it much easier to get what you want. Here is an example to help:

 

  • Specific = I want to get to my optimal weight. I’ll schedule accountability calls with my friend for five minutes every Friday evening.
  • Measurable = I will drop 8 lbs in the next six months.
  • Attainable = I will accomplish this goal by cutting out soda and all packaged food and by walking for 30 minutes five days/week outside.
  • Realistic = This goal is something I can accomplish within the set timeframe.
  • Time = Accomplish this six months from today.

Make the necessary preparations.

Once you’ve set your specific game plan, it is now time to take the steps toward success. Depending on your resolution, this could mean emptying the pantry of all processed foods and sugar, or maybe it’s getting your gym membership before your intended start date for your new workout schedule. I can’t stress enough how key it is to find people either with similar goals who you can surround yourself with, or people who will be a good source of support. One of the reasons why people tend to fall short of their goals is because there is no support system in place. It is a lot easier to give up or flake on yourself when you feel you’re working alone. Even scheduling a five minute call once a week with an accountability partner can do the trick.

Do not create resolutions that overly restrict yourself.

This goes back to lesson 1: create realistic goals.  It’s nice in theory to think that you can go from eating chocolate every day to never touching it again, but this probably isn’t realistic. If you over restrict yourself this can be a recipe for self-sabotage (think late night ice cream binges) or can just cause disruption with your endocrine system from too much stress. Instead of going overboard and completely depriving yourself, lighten up just a little and create rules like the three-bite rule (only have three bites of sweets a day) or instead of doing cardio five days a week, do cardio for four days and take a relaxing yoga class on the fifth day. Whatever your resolution is, there is likely a way to stay on track without seemingly punishing yourself. And remember, if you mess up, don’t be too hard on yourself!  Learn to forgive and start over. Negative self-talk won’t do you any good.

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8 Tips to Help Yourself Eat Better During the Week

We are busy people and not enough of us make the time to take care of our health. Eating well is much easier when we plan ahead, and even easier when we get other people involved.  When we designate one day for food prep, we allow ourselves more time during the week to rest, relax, and enjoy our pre-prepped food.  I recommend Sunday as the day for cooking and preparation.  This way, when our lives our full of stress and things to do, we have pre-prepped meals to look forward to.

Top tips for eating better during the week:

1. Make a batch of your favorite whole grains 

Whole grains can be very versatile.  I love to cook a big thing of rice or quinoa that’ll last me through the week. For breakfast I personally love putting eggs over rice with avocado and hot sauce, and then for other meals top the rice with vegetables or other forms of protein.  Fried rice is an easy enough recipe that’s always a favorite.  For more information and a list of all whole grains, click here.

2. Designate one day for prepping

As mentioned above, one of the most useful tips I have is to prep ahead of time. On your designated prep day, slice all your veggies, cook your whole grains, and soak your beans.  This saves time and makes eating healthy more realistic.

3.  Cook once, eat twice (or more!)

Prepare enough food while cooking to have leftovers.  Take advantage of the time you have to cook, because it can be hard to guarantee you’ll have time or even want to cook the rest of the week.

4. Keep a food journal

It’s easy to forget the meals we eat.  If your goal is to lose weight or discover what foods work best for your body, I always advise my clients to keep a food journal. Keeping a food journal not only helps us track what we eat eat and our portion sizes, but we can note things we are feeling emotionally or physically when we eat or after we eat. Identifying our emotions or even things we are feeling physically from eating helps us pinpoint food intolerances or allergies, and can even answer questions about other physical ailments.

From my own experience, it wasn’t until I started noting how I felt physically and emotionally after I ate processed foods and sugar that I was able to solve feelings of anxiety and depression. I realized those foods made me physically sick to my stomach, and I was also experiencing high levels of serotonin while eating the food, and suffering from low dopamine levels after the sugar high wore off.  Most of us probably aren’t conscious of these things as we’re eating and going about our lives, but once we stop and think about it, we may discover things we didn’t realize about our bodies.

6. Cook at home

I love going out to eat.  It’s convenient, there are lots of options, and the food tastes pretty good, but why not save some money and calories by cooking yourself?  When we eat out, there’s no way of controlling what exactly goes into our food.  I enjoy cooking because I know exactly where my food comes from, I have control over what I put in my food, and I get to pick what I want to eat.  Aim to eat at least two homemade meals a day, then work toward three meals at home a day.

7. Plan your meals

It’s much easier to eat well during the week if we take some time to plan meals ahead of time.  Make a grocery list and write out what you plan to eat every day. There’s no need to get fancy.  If you like having oatmeal for breakfast every morning and vegetable stir fry for dinner, then go for it!

8. Add in vegetables, nuts, legumes, fruit, and whole grains

By adding in more vegetables, nuts, legumes, fruit, and whole grains to our diet, we can naturally crowd out unhealthier foods and prevent unhealthy food cravings.  When we fill up on foods that nourish our body, we become more satisfied quicker, so we’re less likely to go for the desserts or snacks after we eat.

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