I know a lot of people probably make the same “healthy goals” every year when New Year resolutions come around. Or maybe this is your first time trying to get healthier or more fit. But how many of us actually stick to these and keep them throughout the year? If you’re going kind of slack in your endeavors, here are some easy and quick “pick me ups” to help get you back on track and valuing your health and body more!
Start drinking more water. Everyone tells you to do this all the time. But it’s so true and so good for you to drink water all day. It keeps you hydrated and curbs overeating & cravings. Usually when you think you’re hungry - you’re actually just dehydrated. I am terrible at this. I’ve gotten better over the years, especially since I’ve started working out daily (and from being pregnant), but it’s still a struggle to remember to drink water throughout the day - not just at meals or when I’m working out.
Drink water right when you wake up. Think about it, your body has not had anything to eat or drink in 7-10hrs, how can your body & brain function without proper hydration? Bonus points if it’s ice cold (it boosts your metabolism).
If you’re like me and plain water is unappealing, add some lemon & mint to it (both are easily accessible at your grocery store and have other health benefits). You could also add flavored water packets, they have them for weight loss, energy and flavor - just be careful of what the ingredients are. If they have a lot of fake sugar, you’re not really doing your body any good.
Eat a salad or veggies for one meal, preferably dinner but lunch works too. I say dinner because after you get home, you’re not usually doing any manual labor, you’re most likely just resting & relaxing. You don’t need a big meal to sit in your belly for hours at night while you’re sleeping and not able to metabolize it properly. In today’s society, we really don’t need as much food as we actually consume (athletes and manual laborers are different). Most of us are sitting at desks all day or doing something relatively equivalent to it.
We could all eat salads every day, all day and still have enough energy to do our daily routines. But, let's be honest - food is good (even the bad stuff and that’s probably what made you make this resolution in the first place) and no one wants to just eat salads. So, if you’ve found yourself in a health food rut and still eating all the “bad” stuff, just switch one little meal to a salad or just add one veggie to a meal. Start with little steps and before you know it, you will start to love and crave veggies. If you don’t, switch to another vegetable or find a new way to prepare it. Goodful has some great healthy recipes that I’ve actually tried and they are wonderful! They are fairly easy and user friendly too.
Another tip is to use the already prepared salad mixes at the grocery store. They come with nuts, fruits, cheese and dressing! It’s so easy to pick them up and assemble, you don’t even have to think about it (and sometimes they are even BOGO).
When I was pregnant, I was told I needed to add more protein to my diet. Now, apparently, as an average adult/person you’re already supposed to get 50-60g of protein a day, for pregnancy that basically doubles. I was not inclined to eat 4-6 chicken breasts a day in order to fill that quota, so I had to find new ways to get protein.
The easiest way for me, was to make protein shakes. You can add fruit (fresh or frozen), water/milk/juice, chocolate, ice and veggies to make them more filling and have added health benefits (well, maybe not the chocolate but I make a mean chocolate banana smoothie that I can’t give up). It’s best to drink these protein shakes after you workout in order to build muscle and curb hunger cravings post workout (I find I’m always starving all day after working out and this really helps keep me in check)!
Another way to add protein is to use Greek yogurt for everything you would normally use sour cream (chicken salad, chili, tacos). I swear it tastes almost the exact same anyways, so you’ll hardly notice a difference. To sweeten Greek yogurt, if you’re trying to get into it, add honey & cinnamon and fresh fruit (add granola too for a healthy DIY parfait).
I was inspired to write this entire post today, because over the weekend when I was taking photos for the blog, some of the pictures showed my ever growing muscles. I was SO excited to actually be able to see them (without me trying to flex or without being edited in any way)! It’s been 2yrs + since I’ve been really dedicated to my fitness goals and sought a healthier lifestyle - and it didn’t happen overnight. I would go through motivated times and plateaus just like everybody else, but the main thing that helped keep me going? Community.
First it was a group of girls that got together every Wednesday for a free workout/bootcamp in the park (also included a short devotional) and then it was just joining a gym and being a part of that built in community. Now, it’s the whole network of people that I have at the gym that keep me participating in classes and events. One of my group fitness instructors (she teaches a lot of the classes) is a personal trainer too, and a lot of her material in class comes from being a trainer! We’ve also done a running race together and plan on doing more. I have also had friends join the gym and make new friends from the different classes I attend there. And the way to keep yourself from getting bored or plateauing? MIX IT UP. I run, lift weights, attend group classes and do races!
If you’re not sure where to start or don't want to join a gym, just start small. Start walking at a local park (free & fresh air), call a friend to go with you! You can work up to jogging (and then running) if that sounds appealing to you. Or if you want to gain some muscle or work on a particular area - check out Pinterest. They have a million different workouts and ways you can work fitness into your routine (even if you only have 5-10minutes). Anyone can make an excuse not to do something, but you’re not doing yourself any favors. I have a 1.5yr old who is very active and naps 2x a day. Luckily, I am a stay at home mom, so we have plenty of opportunities for fitness. I just take him with me to the gym first thing in the morning (to get it over with & burn the most calories throughout my day), then he naps as soon as we get home. Then, after nap, we eat lunch and he runs around with me outside till his second nap. This has become so much of a habit for us, that I feel gross if I miss a workout (because I’m being lazy or genuinely have something to do).
The key is consistency. It takes 66 days to make a new habit and only 21 to break it. So, if you’re starting from scratch, keep with it (even if it’s small - it’s something and will lead to bigger & better things later on down the road). And be mindful that it’s easy to fall off the motivation train. Try to do something every day and soon you’ll realize you feel infinitely better! Then, you can start pushing yourself to go farther, faster and stronger.
Hope these simple tips help keep you on track for your fitness goals this year! I’ll be sharing some of my favorite workouts in the future, so stay tuned for that! Would love for you to leave me a comment about your healthy tips that have been working for you this year! <3 Amanda