It’s finally a new year, and it’s time for you to choose a New Year’s resolution. You could set new goals at work, get better at personal hobbies or, perhaps most importantly, improve your personal well-being.
Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds or just feel stronger and healthier, it’s a great time to establish good habits, like eating better. Here are a few tips to get you started on making and enjoying meals with nutrition in mind.
What kinds of foods are you currently eating right now? Are you getting enough (or any) exercise? Go about your day as normal and write down the things you’re eating and doing. This will help you get an idea of where you’re starting from. If the number on the scale is what you’re worried about, this would be the time to weigh yourself and get your starting weight. The important thing at this stage, and the upcoming stages, is not to be too hard on yourself. Slow and steady wins the race, after all.
Call Your Doctor
You should always consult your doctor before starting a new diet or exercise regimen. If your diet causes you pain, exhaustion or discomfort, stop and talk to your doctor about what you’re experiencing. You have to be an advocate for your own body. It can be helpful to keep a journal during this time so that you can track how you’re feeling physically and emotionally.
One of the most important parts of eating healthy is to set realistic goals and transition slowly. Going from eating normally to a drastic crash diet will likely do more harm than good. If weight loss is your goal, take baby steps. Don’t plan to lose all of the weight in a week or a month – that’s unrealistic and likely dangerous. You’ll do better in the long term if you set a series of small goals for yourself. You can still have sweets and some of your favorite foods, as long as you do so in moderation. Write grocery lists and meals that you can prepare with healthy ingredients – like fresh fruit, vegetables and lean protein.
Cooking and Eating
Just because you’re eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to forgo taste! There are tons of healthy recipes online that are just as yummy as they are nutritious. If you’re not an experienced home chef, now is the time to learn! Cooking for yourself is a great way of ensuring that you’re eating exactly what you want to eat. When you choose the ingredients, you have control over the meal. People who cook at home consume less calories and more nutritious food groups than those who order out. It can also help you get into a routine of thinking more about what you’re putting into your body. Organic ingredients are not a must – but they can make your meal even yummier.
Drinking water is always important. Switching to water instead of sugary sports drinks or sodas can go a long way when you’re trying to eat healthy. You don’t have to force water down your throat if you feel like you’ve had enough, though. And definitely don’t drink water instead of eating a meal. Drink water when you feel like you need to, and you’ll be just fine. Water isn’t for keeping your stomach full or avoiding food – water is for staying hydrated and healthy. Having a cool bottle of water on hand can help you drink more, since you always have it with you. It’s also important to drink water when you’re exercising.
Exercise is a great compliment to healthy eating. You’ll want to eat foods that can help power your body while you’re working out. Exercising also has many similar effects to healthy eating, such as increased energy, stamina and weight loss. The best way to exercise is to find something that you like to do. That way, it’s more of a hobby than a chore.
The Active&Fit Direct program offers digital workouts in categories like cardio, strength, dance, martial arts, mind/body, high intensity interval training and cycling. Try out a bunch of different exercise regimens and see which ones you like best. The best type of exercise is one you’re actually going to do. Try going on long walks, bike rides and runs around your neighborhood. And when gyms open back up again, the Active&Fit Direct program is partnered with over 11,000 fitness centers around the country. That’s a lot of different classes for you to choose from.
Stick to It
So you’ve briefly fallen off the wagon and eaten a cheesecake. So what? The important thing is that you don’t give up. Healthy eating doesn’t mean that every single thing you eat has to be perfect. It means that you’re trying to take care of your body in the long term. Don’t beat yourself up about small things, when what really matters is the big picture. As long as most of the things you eat are healthy and nutritious, you can have a piece of birthday cake once in a while. 45 million Americans go on diets each year, but it’s unclear how many actually stick with them. Small changes over a longer period of time will be more meaningful than big changes that are quickly discarded or forgotten.
Be Good to Yourself
A lot of fad diets encourage beating yourself up, or feeling unsatisfied with your body. But that’s no way to live. You want to eat healthy for a long time, not just until swimsuit season. Try to frame this resolution as a way that you can pamper yourself – only the best for your body! You and your body have already been through so many things together. It deserves a good, home-cooked meal.
Find out how unlimited lifestyle coaching with the Active&Fit Direct program can help with diet, nutrition and more.
What are your favorite healthy foods? Let us know in the comments below!
The Active&Fit Direct program is provided by American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc., a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH). Active&Fit Direct and the Active&Fit Direct logo(s) are trademarks of ASH and used with permission herein. Not all services may be available in all areas and the program may be changed (including monthly and enrollment fees and/or the introductory period) or discontinued at anytime.