So, you’ve officially decided that 2019 is going to be YOUR year – the year where you achieve all of your health and wellness dreams, the year where you get in shape, eat right, and prosper! I commend you and I know you can do it – but where to begin? Getting started is always the toughest part because there are so many directions you can take for a healthy lifestyle, it can be overwhelming. The first step to figuring out your healthy lifestyle is to go in with a plan, broken down into the main aspects of your health goals!
If you are already physically active, figure out your goals; are you training to compete? Do you want to be able to do a pull up? What about improving your speed and endurance? If you are not already physically active, there’s no better time to start than today. No more “I’ll do it when the holidays are over,” or “well I’ll get back into my routine when my family leaves this weekend.” No more “I’ll do it whens.” Vow to do it now. If even for just 20 minutes every day, get moving – not only will it help you achieve your fitness goals, but it will also boost your mood during these dreary winter months. (If you’re in need of ideas, comment on this post and we’ll be in touch 🙂 )
Choose a workout you love. If you’re into sports, do that! If you’re a dancer in retirement, come out to play and strap on those shoes. If you don’t have a particular niche, I’m confident that you’ll fall in love with lifting weights – it just feels good and when results start showing, you’ll never look back. Explore different classes to figure out what brings out the fire in you; exercise shouldn’t be a chore and should never be something you dread doing. If you love what you do, it will never seem like work – it will become one of the highlights of your day.
This might be the step you’ve been most worried about conquering because A) you’re unsure where to start, or B) dieting just seems impossible. Well, stop right there because you should never think of proper nutrition as a diet! I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle,” but that still makes it seem like you’re doomed to fail because of restriction. Give up all notion of ever restricting yourself to achieve your health goals, because restriction leads to binging and the circle goes ever on.
Jump into this with a plan (just like this plan….you see a pattern?) with your 3 macronutrients in mind: protein, carbs, fat. If you’re new to proper nutrition and just want a base point to jump from, keep these 3 simple things in mind:
- Always base your meal around your protein We are made of protein, it is essential – it doesn’t matter as much where you’re getting it, as long as you’re getting it (ie: fish, lean meats like turkey and chicken, lean beef, tofu, etc.). When it comes down to it, supplementing with protein powder may be necessary or convenient depending on your personal goals, but try to stick to food for nutrients over supplements.
- Choose slow digesting carbs, especially I don’t even like to think of veggies as carbs (which, they are) because we should just be eating as much and as many varieties as possible for our nutrient/vitamin/mineral intake in a day. Carbs, despite what you may be reading in popular media these days, are essential to a healthy and properly functioning brain (unless you have a special case where they hurt more than help, but that’s the minority here). Choose carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice (if not gluten intolerant), Jasmine rice, quinoa, couscous, oatmeal, and beans. Beware of breads as they are commonly over processed (fresh baked for the win) and fast food is just equivalent to doom.
- Fat is your friend. Period. Okay, maybe not that simple, but anything labeled lowfat, I am skeptical of (lowfat mayonnaise, what is that when mayo is literally all fat?!). Healthy fats help our digestive tract absorb the nutrients in our food – so foods like avocado, nuts, salmon, butter (in moderation, and never margarine), olive oil, and sharp cheeses are A-okay. This is particularly true for women too, as healthy fats have an excellent effect on the female digestive system, hair, skin, nails, and overall organ health.
Key takeaway here: never restrict what you eat, but everything in moderation. Except veggies, just eat those all the time forever and never stop.
When we think about our overall health and wellness, mental health is normally pushed to the bottom of the priority list and I’ve never understood why. Success in all that we do as humans begins and ends with mindset! Do you really think you’re going to achieve your fitness goals, live a happier life, or get that promotion with the mindset of “I can’t?” You sure as heck can and that’s the first step toward doing anything.
Self care is different for everyone, and it doesn’t necessarily have to mean spending $30 at the nail salon to get new winter colors (I myself, am not a nail polish gal). If it means waking up a little earlier to set your intentions for the day, have some quality time with your own mind in solitude, or take 15 minutes in the evening to meditate, do it. All work and no play makes for a very unhappy person, and that unhappiness will in turn affect everything else you do in your life. Pursue the hobbies you enjoy that are both mentally stimulating and relaxing. Enjoy the teas you’ve been saving in the cupboard and forgetting about. Try that new face mask and scare the crap out of your kids.
As an introverted extrovert, unwinding for me has many faces. Sure, I like the application of a face mask, watching Netflix, while coloring method. But I also enjoy the sitting in the sunlight, going on long hikes with friends, or visiting the local winery with family. Most days of the week after work and the gym, you can find me zombie-ing out with a video game controller in my hand not speaking to my significant other as he zombies out on Diablo. It’s just the way I am and that’s something I’m completely okay with. Something I do recommend fully for both mental and physical health though, is yoga. Novice or expert poses, they’re all beneficial for the body in their own special way. I have actually felt my body healing simply through stretching and mindful breathing; but that is a post for another day, my friends.
So, make 2019 your year to shine! Come up with a plan, a method of execution (that can always be tailored to your liking as you go), and start now. You will never know your true potential until you try, so give yourself a shot. See how it goes. You may just change your life.