Ah, the new year. A fresh start. There’s almost nothing better than feeling like you can begin again (except realizing that EVERY day is the perfect day to “start over”). Many new years resolutions, mine included, involve creating healthier habits – eating better, cutting out crappy, chemical-laden food, loving yourself and your body. So here are a few simple healthy hacks that have a big pay-off for creating and sticking to healthy habits year-round.
1. Drink water. Drink a full glass first thing in the morning. Drink a full glass while you’re prepping (or about 30 minutes) before each meal. Drink water between meals. Just drink water. Your body will thank you for it.
2. Eat something green in at least one meal each day. No exceptions.
3. Eat “fresh first.” Eat the freshest, rawest part of your meal first. Salad, veggies, fruit, whatever you’ve got.
4. Stretch in the morning. Even if it’s just 30 seconds – move your body. Wake it up. Connect with your physical being. If stretching isn’t your thing, do a few core stability exercises or lunge your way to the bathroom to brush your teeth.
5. Set your intention. Every morning, take a few seconds to set yourself up for success. Think through your goals for the day, including your health goals. Better yet, put pen to paper or say your daily intentions out loud. This helps you to be mindful throughout the day of what you really want to accomplish. You and your body deserve a (top) spot on your daily to-do list.
6. Stop saying “I can’t.” No more: “I can’t eat gluten” or “I can’t eat _____.” Because you CAN, in fact, eat anything you want to eat. There is no secret food police that will come take you away for indulging in a doughnut. Every single thing you eat is a CHOICE. You are choosing not to eat _____. So give yourself some credit. Start saying, “I don’t eat gluten” or “I don’t eat _____.” Your words have power. Let them empower you.
7. Choose a no-sugar breakfast. This means no sweets, no dairy, no grains. Start the day with a protein or a vegetable. Eggs are a great choice and take only about 5 minutes to make. If you’re craving a sweet, just wait until lunch or dinner. You may be surprised how your food choices and cravings change when you first meal of the day is a healthy, nutritious one.
8. Move it! Take the stairs. Park a few spots farther away than is necessary. If you sit all day at work, take a break every hour or so and walk around, do some deep breathing, move your body. Set an alarm to go off hourly to remind yourself to take a “body break” and get moving.
9. Never eat and multitask. Sit down and be mindful of what you’re eating. Enjoy it. Savor it. Honor yourself and your food with at least 10 minutes dedicated to nourishing your body. Chew your food well. Then get back tackling the rest of your to-do list.
10. No excuses. There is no such thing as a health-neutral decision. You are either choosing to improve the health of your body, mind and spirit, or you are choosing to detract from it. You are totally in control. So when you decide it’s time to eat better, move better, and feel better, your daily choices should reflect that. And if they don’t, that’s on you. If you choose to have pizza every now and then (my favorite) or if you choose to eat brownies for breakfast every day – own it – don’t excuse it. Take credit for the good choices and the bad. Because you are the boss of your body and the choice is always yours.
Cheers to healthy habits and infinite happiness in the new year!