1. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Eating a healthy breakfast will start your day off right. It sets the stage for healthier eating all day long. But, even if you don’t keep eating healthy that day, one healthy meal is better than none. Preparation is key to having a healthy breakfast. The main reason people don’t eat healthy is that it’s not as fast and easy as grabbing a bagel, donut, pastry, etc. You can certainly build a grab and go healthy breakfast: a banana, fat free Greek yogurt and some almonds would be a great quick choice. If you want a more elaborate breakfast, it’s best to put it together the night before. Try my pumpkin oatmeal recipe. Mix together the canned pumpkin, soy milk, Truvia and oatmeal and have it ready in a microwave safe container in the fridge. Measure out and chop the pecans and dates and put them in your lunch bag. Better yet, put it all in your bag and store it in the fridge, so you just grab your bag and run out the door in the morning. Then microwave the oatmeal when you get to work, toss on the toppings and enjoy!
2. Exercise "X" times per week.
This one is going to be geared to where you are starting. If you do not exercise much at all, then try 1-2 days per week. If you are doing about 2 days per week consistently, then make your goal 3-4 days per week. Don’t jump from nothing to a goal of 6 days a week, this is how we overwhelm ourselves and give up more easily. I know, you want to be healthy, fit, whatever- ASAP, but it just doesn’t work that way. Work your way up to a reasonable goal and you are more likely to stick with it.
3. Get to 10,000 steps per day
This is the recommendation by many health experts and organizations. Remember - this is not an amount for weight loss, it's for normal healthy living. If you are active the recommended 30-60 minutes per day for adults, you will get there much more easily. This is not a simple goal - you need to have a plan to get up and get moving more often throughout the day to have a hope of reaching it, but it is a doable goal. Pick up a $10 pedometer or invest in a Fitbit type tracker to help motivate you and keep track of your progress.
4. Drink 16-24 ounces (2-3 cups) of water during the work day
Believe it or not - thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Make sure to stay hydrated during the day, and this will help stave off food cravings. This goal will help you on your way to the recommended 6-8 cups per day. Water is the best choice, but you can start off with any zero calorie beverage. Staying hydrated is also great for your skin, hair, organs, etc. AND, it often makes you have to get up and use the bathroom during the day (seems like every 10 minutes!), so this gets you more steps!
5. Eat 5 fruits and/or vegetables every day
The recommendation is 5-9 servings per day for adults, so 5 a day is the bare minimum. But it’s probably better than most of us are doing. Most people can go a whole day without even one serving of produce, so 5 might be a big goal to meet. Just like exercising, think about where you are starting from and work your way to 5. Add a fruit to breakfast, and a veggie to snack, etc and you can get there in no time. If you are doing #1 and having a healthy breakfast, that meal should definitely include a fruit or veg!
6. Keep a food journal
Keeping a record of what you eat will keep you aware and honest. Did you grab a cookie from the break room? Write it down and maybe that reminder will help you say no to the afternoon offer of chocolate from your desk mate. It also helps build a record of food ideas. Remember that day you finally got to the goal of 5 fruits and veggies? What did you have for lunch again? What did that day look like? Food journals are great to help you see both where you went wrong and where you went right. If it’s months and months of writing down junk food, then fine. Maybe five months of that is what you need to finally make a change. If you don't write it down, you forget and maybe it takes five years to make a change!
In this fast paced, crazy world, it is healthy to take five minutes to yourself and quiet your mind. Most of us are overwhelmed with work and home and sometimes kids or parents to tend to. It can help reduce stress and increase happiness to put this time aside and meditate.
8. Be in the moment
This can be greatly helped by #7. Our minds are used to multi-tasking, so I can listen to my husband talk about work while I watch TV and fold the laundry. But our personal relationships can suffer if we do not stop and take real time to pay attention. It took a few hurt looks and frustrated comments from my husband before I realized I was being insensitive with my half-listening. I’m still not perfect, but I am more aware of it and continue to try harder. Other things on our lives are also affected. You make a grocery list while you clean the kitchen while you check your phone for texts or email. It all seems to go together, but when we only give part of our attention to something, everything suffers. Studies show we are more forgetful when we try to multitask. And we can get overwhelmed and anxious. It feels like we have a million things to do, because we don't take the time to do them fully. Meditation can help calm your mind, but then you have to take the time in your life to stop and be present in whatever you are doing.
9. Take vitamins - IF needed
This is not for everyone. If you eat a very healthy, complete diet you are probably fine. I take calcium and vitamin D because I don’t eat enough of these and stay out of the sun - religiously! I am a pale Irish girl and burn accordingly. I take B12 because I am a vegetarian. Be safe and careful about what you take and why. High dose vitamins are not a good idea, and foods are always the best place to try and get your nutrition! Think about why you are low in certain nutrients and figure out how you can eat healthier to get there first. B12 is tough, because it's mostly animal based, so that is a case where a supplement can fill the gap.
10. Limit junk food
So many of us need to work on this one! Walk into a grocery store and the majority of what you see is junk food. Breakfast cereal is junk for the most part; chips, cookies, candy, ice cream, soda, JUICE. So many things to tempt us that are just no good. I finally realized one day that these things are not actually food. They are calories and often some nutrients added in, but they are not real food that we are meant to eat. When I do eat “junk” I try to make it the better choice. Chips made from just corn. Whole grain crackers. Cereal with only 1 gram of sugar and only a few ingredients. I limit this as much as I can, but making the best choice makes me feel better about these times. You can eat junk sometimes, but recognize it for what it is and not as a real part of your diet.
Share your resolutions for this year! Have you resolved not to resolve? Tell me about that?