By Nazima Qureshi
No diets, just healthy habits.
One of the most common New Year’s goals for women is primarily related to weight loss. These types of goals usually lead to trying a new diet, detox program, or making extreme diet changes. The problem with these diet related goals is that since they are so drastic, they are likely to only last a few weeks. By the time it’s February/March, you are left feeling de-motivated and frustrated because you weren’t able to keep up with your new year’s resolution.
The reality is that achieving your New Year’s resolution requires a change in your habits, which take time. So this year, I want you to try one of these diet-free New Year’s resolutions that will help improve your overall health.
- Swap your sugar sweetened beverages for a bottle of water.
You may be focusing a lot on how to change what you are eating, without realizing the amount of calories and sugar you are consuming from your daily beverages. This includes juices, pop, and hot/iced coffee beverages. By swapping at least one of your daily sugar sweetened beverage with a bottle of water, you will save about 200-500 calories and 2-6 teaspoons of sugar!
- Try 1 new recipe a week.
We’re all guilty of pinning and “liking” pictures of healthy recipes but we never get around to actually making them. Social media accounts that promote healthy eating but look nearly perfect can feel overwhelming, because who can compare to that? Start off with a simple goal of preparing just 1 new recipe a week. This way, you don’t have to worry about doing a complete overhaul of your weekly grocery and get rid of everything in your pantry. Make a note of the new healthy recipes you enjoy and start incorporating them into your regular meals.
- Include 3 more home cooked meals a week.
Every family has a different routine. You may have takeout on weekends, order out on weeknights, or never have time to pack a lunch. Make a note of how many meals you and your family eat from restaurants, fast food, and takeout. Then figure out which days of the week you would like to swap these meals with a home cooked meal.
Bonus: try and get the kids involved in at least 1 home cooked meal a week by asking them to help you in the kitchen.
- Exercise for 10-30 minutes a day.
Once you start being mindful of your food choices, fitness is the other side of the equation. You don’t have to necessarily join the bandwagon and get a gym membership (unless that works best for you). Find an activity that you enjoy and that works with your schedule. For example, join a fitness class, go for a walk, or do an exercise video at home. If you are not regularly active, start with only 10 to 30 minutes a day and slowly build up.
- Sleep 30 minutes earlier.
Sleep is what of the most valuable aspects of our health but also one of the most compromised in our daily lives. Avoid having unrealistic expectations, such as “go to sleep at 9PM every night” when you are currently going to bed past midnight. Work on sleeping 30 minutes earlier every night. Creating a bedtime routine will also help prepare you for a restful night.
The key is to work on smaller goals that will become habits in 2017 and ultimately improve your overall health. Don’t feel pressured to work on all of these goals at once either. Perhaps you can work on one of these goals for 1-2 months before moving on to the next one.
What is your New Year’s Resolution or goal? Let us know in the comments!
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