January brings promises of early morning workouts, clean eating, and more sleep. Inevitably, by the middle of the month, you’re back to your less than healthy habits. This was my reality for years, until the day after Christmas 2014. I looked in the mirror, and I did not recognize the woman looking back at me. I was bloated, my skin looked terrible, and I was at my heaviest. I weighed the same as I did the morning I had our oldest daughter, Maddie.
I learned a lot last year on my journey towards better health. Below are my 7 Ways to Keep Your Healthy Resolutions. I hope they inspire you to stick with it, as the results will be so worth it.
We can do this.
1. Look at Your Life.
We all know good health and fitness is a “lifestyle.” But, what about your actual life? What is going on in your career and relationships? How do you feel spirituality and mentally? When one or all those are off, or toxic, you’ll never reach your goals.
The path I took to health and wellness was bumpy to say the least. I had my a-ha earlier this year. I was working out consistently, and ate a healthy diet but was not seeing the results I wanted. I realized I was traveling for work entirely too much. I was sleep deprived and exhausted. My stress level was to the max, and I was dealing with some toxic relationships.
I ended up pulling off the road. I left some relationships that made me feel bad about myself and even bought a new mattress allowing for much better sleep. Only after I took care of my emotional health, did my physical health finally change.
2. Ignore the Perfection Monster.
When I walked into Barre class in January of 2015, I couldn’t do anything well, and I hated it. The class was full of fit women with the most beautifully defined backs and slender, elegant arms. I wanted to die. They were perfect, I wasn’t, game over. But then I thought, why do I always expect myself to not only be good at, but perfect at, things I’ve never done before? It’s ridiculous. I figured if my body could make two people, I could learn to do the Warrior III.
Stop putting crazy expectations on yourself. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best girlfriend. Be brave and try something new.
3. Make It A Game.
The saying “you can’t outrun a bad diet” is true. I thought if I worked out more I could eat whatever I wanted. Apparently that only worked when I had the metabolism of a 25-year-old. These days, food choice is the most important part of the equation. The only system that worked for me was the 21-day fix because I didn’t have to eliminate anything. It taught me portion control. I lost the weight and kept it off because I learned and, here’s the key, practiced better habits. This month I started another round to get back on track after the holidays. Recently, they launched a 21-day fix app. It helps you track your portions, and it feels like a game, which always helps me stay focused. (I also still love the Fitbit. There is nothing better than that little “buzz” you get when you hit your steps goal!)
4. Cut Yourself a Break.
Did you eat a tray of mac and cheese? Drink a bottle of wine? Devour a bag of M&Ms? I sure did. Don’t let a small indulgence derail you. Don’t let it be an excuse to binge or give up altogether. Instead, enjoy little treats and when you go overboard, hit the reset button. When I make a poor food choice, I have to stop myself from mentally beating myself up. Every minute is an opportunity for a fresh start.
5. Smoothies are Your Friend.
I rely on smoothies during my busy day to ensure I get the right amount of fruits and veggies. It is the only way that doesn’t overwhelm me. Use a powerful blender, your Vitamix (f you’re lucky enough to have one), or pick up a Nutribullet. My favorite recipe: blend two cups of spinach, a cup of (frozen) pineapple, a cup of (frozen) mango, half a banana and a serving of (chilled) home-brewed green tea. Throw in a scoop of protein powder and you have a nutrient-rich and delicious lunch or breakfast. I find Pinterest to be a great resource for other healthy drink recipes.
6. Create a support group.
We can’t accomplish anything great alone. Consider joining or starting a group of like-minded women. Surround yourself with others committed to health and supportive of one another. You can also look to social media and join groups that are starting New Year fitness challenges. Consider an accountability partner. Work together and report your progress to each other on a weekly basis. Be sure to share your victories and your struggles.
7. Look Cute.
For the longest time, I looked like a college kid at the gym. Literally. I wore old sorority formal tee shirts, and ratty sweats to “run” on the treadmill. That doesn’t work. Just like at work, looking the part is half the battle. So, get yourself some cute workout gear. Buy items that you love. You’ll feel so much more confident at the gym or in your class. Investing in some new pieces shows that you are taking your decision seriously and honoring yourself.
And, no, you don’t have to go to Lululemon. In fact, I avoid Lululemon at all costs. Have you ever seen how “big” a large is there?! It’s like they don’t want you wearing their pants if you are a size 8 or larger. Below are some of my favorite pieces, in a variety of size options.