Happy second week of the New Year! It's time to take a deep breath and slowly let it out… and repeat. The holiday craziness is behind us and a new year is under way! Make it a healthy one!
There is no shortage of articles or advertisements telling us we need to lose weight and get in shape for the New Year. And who doesn’t know that we need to drink more water, stop eating sweets, get more sleep and get to the gym more often to be healthier? How about a different approach this time?
This week I’m sharing 5 tips for healthy ways to kick off the New Year. Remember, you have the entire year to steadily make changes that will stick. Maybe you’ll fall off track sometimes and need to get back on… that’s ok! That’s being human - what matters is that you are on-track more than you are off. Start by working on one goal at a time. Some will catch on quickly and be easy to maintain, others might take you a little longer and will need a little extra effort to make them stick.
Where to start? Anywhere. Like I said, start with one or two and add on every few weeks. (Rumor has it, it takes thee weeks to make or break a habit.) My suggestions below are the things I believe make the biggest difference in long term wellness, but whichever you choose, keep it simple to start, make your goals tangible and keep believing you can do this!
5 Healthy Tips to Kick Off Your New Year
1. Learn to like plants… the kind you eat. Michael Pollan said it best, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. Make vegetables the star of your meals and make proteins your sides. Colorful vegetables offer a variety of nutrients; think red, dark green and orange.
2. Make food quality a priority. The fresher, the better. The closer it is to how it was grown, the better it is. Choose whole foods that are in season and follow the dirty dozen/clean fifteen list whenever possible. (Translation: have an orange, not a glass of orange juice when you want some fruit).
3. Eliminate harmful artificial sweeteners. Say no to the yellow, pink and blue packets and reach for 100% stevia instead, or sweeten with nature’s ingredients like raw honey or 100% real maple syrup (in moderation).
4. Say no to processed and (unnaturally) fat-free foods. Choose real foods. Taco Bell is a processed food…homemade tacos are not. Yes, that means you’ll need to start cooking a bit more, but you’ll be increasing your intake of nutrients and fiber and lowering your intake of fat, sodium, chemicals and calories. Make a little extra and you’ll have leftovers for a later meal.
5. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins. Start with switching to reusable water bottles that are BPA free (better for your body and our planet) and reusable bags for your grocery shopping. Consider dryer balls in place of chemical-laden dryer sheets for your laundry and look for personal care products that are free of pthalates, triclosan and parabens. Click here and here to learn more about how environmental toxins take a toll on our health.
Your body is the biggest investment you will have in your life – take care of it! (And yes, please drink more water; get more sleep and exercise, too!)