Kudos to you if you’re like the 21.4 percent of people who made a 2017 resolution to lose weight or eat healthier, according to Statistic Brain. Setting a goal is the first step toward achieving it. But whether or not it was a resolution or just good timing to make some changes following much overindulgent holiday eating and lounging, there are plenty of ways to tackle this goal. Yes, generically, getting in shape is about exercising more and making better food choices. However, it’s not simply black and white–and the shades of gray are really what will make it a lot more interesting. The more interesting it is, the easier it will be to stick with the healthy changes and make them true lifestyle choices instead of just another year of unrealized resolutions.
5 Healthy Changes to Try Right Now
- Try something new. If you’ve been working out for a while, but simply fell off the wagon during the hectic holiday season, restart with a new perspective. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon everything you know and start from scratch. Instead, make some tweaks. Try a new piece of equipment at the gym. Rewrite your weekly routines for workouts that combine different
muscle groups than you typically would work in the past. Take a class to learn TRX Suspension Training or to add in more core and recovery work with yoga. Both your body and your brain will respond well to having a new challenge thrown its way.
- Find a tribe. Going solo is fine if that’s your jam, but having a group of people–or even just one good friend–to support you on your healthy journey can be a great motivator. Not only will you have others to cheer you on (and you’ll do the same in return), but you will also have people to turn to when you’re having a bad day and need picking up. Plus, if you’re regular band of buddies is more up for knocking back beers and chomping down nachos weekly, a new healthy-focused group will give you guilt-free group time without feeling tempted and needing to pump up your willpower.
- Add in a new recipe. Given how routine eating habits can become, revamping everything you eat can feel overwhelming. Avoid the frustration by taking baby steps instead. Each week, swap out one less-than healthy meal you used to make with one packed full of veggies and lean protein. This could be a completely new recipe you’ve never made, or it can be a makeover of your old meal. For example, on Taco Tuesday, replace seasoned ground beef with lean ground turkey, swap the typical tortillas for lettuce wraps, add cut chunks of avocado, and top with your favorite salsa.
- Shop smarter. The meals you eat start with the food you buy. Try to buy most of your food from the perimeter of the grocery store, where whole foods–produce, meats, dairy–are typically located. And before you go, make a list based on meals and snacks needed for the week so that you don’t get swayed by tempting treats of old. Better yet, if it’s available to you, shop for your groceries online. Many local stores allow you to select and pay online, and then come in to pick it up or have it delivered right to your home. It will help you to save time and money–and not end up with extra cart items you don’t need.
- Meditate more. From your family to your job to what you read on social media, life can get pretty stressful. In you body, stress can cause headaches, stomach pain, difficulty sleeping, chest tightness, and much more. Mentally speaking, stress can make it hard to focus, cause depression and anxiety, and leave you feeling overwhelmed. To make matters worse, stress can really take a toll on your health depending on how you respond to it: for example, binge eating, drinking more alcohol, smoking, and withdrawal from normal routines. A daily meditation practice, focusing on your breath, can be just the tool you need to keep stress in check. Try a meditation class or find a podcast that walks you through the process in your home. At first you may find it difficult to sit still and just be, but the longer you stick with it, the better you’ll be for it.
What healthy changes do you have on deck for 2017? Share in the comments so we can all cheer each other on to success.