It’s that time of year. The time when we put away the candy canes and sugar cookies and start to get healthy. This can often be overwhelming. Every January, the gym seems very crowded. By about March, I no longer have to throw elbows to get a treadmill. By December, I wonder if myself and the other three people in the gym missed some news announcement about a natural disaster that is keeping people at home. Too often, people set lofty goals that can’t be sustained through the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love big goals, but it’s also important to make goals you know you can achieve. It’s also a good idea to build on goals. In that spirit, here are five easy, healthy lifestyle changes anyone can make.
1. Morning lemon water – I drink lemon water every morning. Before I go to bed each night, I squeeze half a lemon into my water bottle and fill it with water. The next morning it’s ready to go. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning is great for digestion, appetite control and natural cleansing. Check out more here. On that same note, drinking water throughout the day keeps you healthier and helps you feel fuller.
2. Eat on a schedule – I eat breakfast, lunch, my mid-day snack and dinner at the same time each day. If it’s not that time, I can’t eat. I also don’t eat after dinner. As a mom, I have a tendency to want to munch after the kids go down. Having a schedule stops me from doing this. This can be hard at first, but after a few days to a week, your body will learn the new schedule and will quickly adapt.
3. Find a workout you love – Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. If you wake up dreading what you are about to do, exercise will not add to your quality of life. Try several things to find something you love. Try running, martial arts, yoga, weight lifting, Zumba, biking, etc. Exercise should push you to your limits but it should also be fun.
4. Make healthy snacks more accessible – As a busy mom, I know how hard it is to find time to get a healthy snack. I’ve often run out of the house with a package of fruit snacks. Keep healthy snacks more accessible. Set time aside each week to cut up veggies. Keep fruit on the counter so it’s the most accessible thing. Buy pre-packaged jerky and even keep some in your purse. Buy nuts, but portion them out into individual baggies (This keeps you from binging on nuts, which is possible). Buy small peanut-butter packages for a quick snack. I give these to my son all the time as he always needs protein on the go. My favorite high-energy snack is a hard-boiled egg. I boil six eggs every Monday and keep them in the fridge. Then when I need a snack all I have to do is peel it.
5. Keep a food journal – Write down what you eat each day. You don’t have to write down calories, sugars, fat, carbs, etc. Just write down what exactly you eat. It’s amazing how becoming more aware of what you eat changes habits. I noticed I’m a food-picker. When I pour my kids cereal, I eat a flake. When I chop chicken for a salad I eat some. When I make chocolate chip cookies, I eat 2 or 3 or 76 chocolate chips. Keeping a journal helped me stop being a picker. Also, record each morning in just a sentence or two how what you ate affected how you feel. This will help you see how sugars affect you, where you need to add more or less carbohydrates, etc. Before you can make changes in your body, you have to listen to it and understand its needs.
Good luck on making 2015 a healthy year!