Congrats on surviving your first week and a half of 2k14. I’m proud of you! The first week of the New Year came so quickly that I neglected the many post-it notes looming on my desktop from Dec 2013. These notes were reminders (read: New Year’s Resolutions) for refining my health regime in the coming new year. While researching the best methods to achieve my fitness and health goals, I realized that the key to all may be to focus on the basics of well-being. Here are five simple tried and true get healthy tips; take them with a grain of salt…excuse me, I mean a drop of coconut oil.
1. Make your fitness goals known. So you’ve joined the gym. You decided to lose 15 lbs. You’re dating a yoga instructor. Whatever it is, tell everyone. Actually. Be shameless! Tell your co-workers, tweet what you bench pressed, instagram your new sneakers, check in at Spin Class! Accountability is everything when it comes to putting yourself on and staying diligent with your new get-fit plan. Narrow is the path, but “wide-spread” would be the criticism from your inner circle for when you lead yourself astray! Over-sharing is caring…for yourself.
DON’T BE THIS PERSON. JUST DONT.
2. Water. Drink it. This is so simple. I mean, it’s even free. Cut out all the other sneaky liquid sugar lurking in your life: pops, juice, hot chocolate, any drinks that start with ‘Frappa’, Red Bull and (for those of you of age) any and all alcohol. If you’re thirsty, drink water. Buy a litre pitcher and fill it up. Sit it on your desk at work/home and accept it as a challenge. Step up your water game by adding a few slices of cucumber, fresh sprigs of mint or some mixed berries to infuse it with a subtle kick. Accustom yourself to drink water with meals, while you exercise and first thing when you wake up. It will flush out your body, keep you sharp, and duh—hydrated!
3. Food. We need it. Diets can suck. Common sense reigns! You totally know what is healthy and what isn’t. Stay clear of community question boards about whether X is a good or a bad carb. Keep yourself sane with simplicity. Strive to include more colour in your diet (read: veggies, not cheese). Fill up your grocery basket in the fresh vegetables and fruits section with a rainbow of offerings. Try something new! Dragon fruit! Kale! Papaya! Stay away from those middle aisles filled with boxed and canned foods until 75-80% of your shopping is done. This is a game of self-control aided greatly by preparation. Print out healthy recipes prior to your grocery trip; it will be a map to your success and help you from pulling a, “Pringles are sort of like mini red potatoes riiight?” move.
4. Gym…classes. When I was choosing a new gym to join, I focused on one that offered a variety of classes. Classes offer a sense of community; an instant support system that simultaneously motivates you and makes you accountable. Just try walking out in front of a group of 15 plus people in front of a wall of mirrors! They also offer structure. Typically, there is a warm-up, high intensity cardio for a minimum of 20 min and a cool down period. Lastly, there is flexibility. Try different classes at different times of the day and see what works best for you—and stick with it. Find something you enjoy. Make it a part of your daily regimen; part of your “work” schedule. Talk to the instructor and tell them what your goals are. Go one better and tell them your name. Get ready to hear them shout it out when you are slacking or hiding in the back.
5. Think Zen! Mental health is often neglected when we move toward self-improvement. But it’s the cornerstone to making and maintaining the healthiest choices. When you’ve got an exam on the horizon and you’re super stressed and pressed for time, it’s all too easy to reach for that jar of peanut butter and a spoon while studying versus taking twenty minutes to prep a salad. Work on reducing stress. This means, taking a step back, keeping things in perspective and sticking by your priorities to achieve your long term goals. You are important. Your health is paramount. Make time for balance from your daily obligations. Downtime in the mix is part and parcel to achieving happiness. Join a knitting circle, start antiquing or volunteer – whatever lets you personally unwind. These periods will let you energize yourself and replenish to be committed and focused in the other areas of your life.
All work and no play make a Jack a dull boy. And also, apparently out of shape…