The New Year is in full swing, and today marks the beginning of week 2. If you set resolutions, how are they going? Have you started yet? Or did you start strong, and give up already? For so many people, that is the pattern each year.
I love the idea of a new year being a time to reflect on what did and did not work last year, and making plans to improve myself this year. But I gave up on starting new diets, detoxes, 21 day plans, etc. Now if you love those, more power to you! I’m all for doing whatever works for YOU as long as it’s healthy. But for me, living a lifestyle 365 days a year is what works. I may work out harder some weeks, I may cut out sugar periodically, and I may indulge a little extra during vacation, but I try to maintain a balance year round because eating and exercising to feel and look your best is a lifestyle, not an event.
If you haven’t figured out how to live this balance yet, here are my tips for getting started.
- Decide what your blueprint for health and happiness is. Is it more important to you to be strong? Flexible? Have a certain body fat percentage? Don’t let society dictate the goal you are working towards. Figure out what YOU want to feel or look like to be comfortable in your own skin. This can be a moving target as you work on becoming your best and healthiest self, but make sure you are working towards a goal that truly resonates with who you are, not some unreachable ideal of photo shopped “perfection”.
- Eat more of the good stuff. Focusing on removing things you like creates a feeling of deprivation. No one wants to feel like they are constantly giving things up! Instead, focus on adding in more veggies, more protein, more water. When you do this daily, you crowd out the “bad” stuff because your are full. As you gradually increase servings of nutritious foods and reduce serving size of the not-so-good things, it becomes easier to pass them up all together.
- Focus on eating the right kind of fat. If you grew up during the low fat and fat free diet craze of the 80s and 90s, it may be difficult for you to think about eating fat on purpose. We should all avoid deep fried foods and low quality vegetable oils because they cause inflammation, but fat is a vital nutrient that our bodies NEED. Consuming fat from olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and fish provides many health benefits and is necessary for feelings of satiety, which is crucial for anyone trying to lose weight. Dietary fat is not what makes people get fat, and I wish we had different words for the fat we eat and the fat we try to lose. Excess weight on the body generally comes from too many calories, hormonal imbalances, and excess consumption of sugar, not from consuming fat.
- Move. You don’t have to go to the gym or even follow a workout plan, but you do have to move. If you have a sedentary job and you spend your evenings on the couch, it is vital that you make time to move throughout the day. Set a timer to stand every hour while at work. Walk to a bathroom on a different floor. Park far away from the entrance. Go for an evening walk. Start with walking and adding more movement to your day, and then consider adding in some strength training to help build lean muscle mass and improve bone density.
- Supplement. It is impossible to get all the nutrients we need from our food. 100 years ago when soil was rich in minerals and there were fewer toxic pesticides being used, you might have been able to get the nutrients you need from a balanced diet. But today, many Americans are deficient in vitamins B, D, magnesium, zinc, iron and more. Part of this is due to lack of nutrients in food, and part of it is due to lack of absorption because of an imbalance in gut bacteria. Supplementing with a quality probiotic, a multivitamin, and an omega supplement at minimum can help all these issues. I use Plexus supplements for all of these. ProBio5 has 5 different strains of probiotics, an antifungal to kill off excess yeast in the gut, and digestive enzymes. Plexus Bio Cleanse is a gentle magnesium supplement that helps detoxify and oxygenate, and it also contains calcium. Plexus X Factor multivitamin is fully methylated, contains anti-oxidants and iron from the New Zealand black currant, and because of it’s patented aloe blend it is 300x more bio-available than other vitamins. Plexus Mega X is an excellent plant based omega supplement that contains omegas 3, 6, 9, 5 and 7. I love it because the capsules are smaller than the large fish oil supplements, and no fishy burps!
- Practice positive affirmations. It is just as important to say nice things about and to yourself as it is to feed yourself well. If your inner dialogue is critical and negative, how can you succeed at creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Be kind to yourself. Take those self-defeating thoughts captive and replace them with an encouraging statement instead. It takes time and practice, but you CAN and you MUST create an inner voice of self love. Also – don’t keep people in your life who feed the negative voice. Life is too short to be in relationship with people who are emotional vampires. Your vibe attracts your tribe, so start practicing those positive affirmations and like minded people will come into your life.
There are many other practices that go into creating a lifestyle that is centered around wellness, but these are at the top of my list. What’s at the top of yours? I’d love to hear from you!
Sources and further reading:
Why Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat!