Staying on track with your health goals in the new year starts with a simple mindset: be good to you. Here are 5 ways to do it.
BY: DIANNA SINNI, RDN, LD
To many of us, a new year means a fresh start or building off what we’ve already built. Here are a few tips to embrace the new year in the healthiest way we know. May your next 12 months be the best 12 months to date!
1. INDULGE, INTUITIVELY
That’s right! I’m totally empowering you to eat that slice of Grandma’s famous pecan pie or whatever it is that you love! The catch here is to eat it, only if you want to. Don’t let anyone, and sometimes this means ourselves here, make you feel bad about your food decisions or as if you have to eat something. Only you have the innate ability to know what your body needs. Let go of counting calories and accept that you have the ability to accept food, without guilt, in whatever form or quantity nourishes your body and spirit in that moment.
Remember, you can’t ignore your physical hunger for emotional desires solely, you’ll only continue to feel unsatisfied and unhappy by not addressing both. This holiday, listen to your body’s physical needs, understand what it’s telling you (i.e. am I really hungry right now? What would best nourish that physical need?) and take into account your emotional desires as well. Strive for balance of both mind and body.
2. MOVE MORE
I’m not talking running a 5k or even hitting up the gym, instead simply remove your tush from the couch or table for a quick walk. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity (above and beyond your daily routine), which can absolutely be broken up into three sessions of 10 minutes. Maybe that means taking the dog for an AM walk first thing, walking up and down the stairs ten times before heading out to the party, or something more structured like a yoga class. However movement fits into your life and feels good for you, do it.
3. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Gratitude is often the center of our holidays, but often easily overlooked for its simplicity. Be thankful for spending time with loved ones and strengthen your relationships by time well-spent together…not fussing over food or judging each other’s plate. Embrace your ability to choose what you want to eat and how much, a right that is completely yours. Honor your body through movement and nourish yourself with each delicious bite. Instead of focusing on the negative nutrition of your meal (i.e. don’t eat this, I have to avoid that), think about the food before you with “an attitude of gratitude”. To me, gratitude is about reinforcing my own values and appreciating what every day brings.
4. RECOGNIZE WHERE YOU ARE NOW
Whether your current fitness level is getting up from the couch or you’re already a seasoned home cook with meal plans in place, understand what your capabilities are right now and what you want them to be in the future. Be optimistic but realistic about setting wellness goals. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, take a positive spin and motivate yourself through what you can and will do.
5. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Sometimes all it takes to make our resolutions a reality is to put it on paper. Tape your goal to the bathroom mirror or the outside of the fridge as a daily reminder. Enlist a workout buddy or invest in a personal trainer for guidance and motivation. Food journaling, or writing down how you feel before and after eating a specific food or meal, can help you notice patterns (“everyday at 3pm I crave chocolate!”) or areas of dietary improvement (“whoa, no fruit intake on Monday!”).
Whatever helps you stay on track with your resolution, do it!
Dianna Sinni, RDN, LD is a Registered Dietitian based in Kansas City, MO with a passion for all things whole grain, green, and homegrown. She focuses on empowering and inspiring others to take charge of their wellness through simple plant-based recipes and science-powered advice.