The saying “New year, New you” is great, but how about “New day, healthier you?” Why not start right now? Sure, December is one giant celebration and diet sabotage…but if you have a routine established ahead of time, you have a much higher chance of fighting the odds.
Why you should start today
There are a lot of reasons not to start today, but here are a few reasons you should:
- Exercise reduces stress, which can help you better manage the holiday stress as well as keep you from stress eating.
- When you are on an endorphin high from your workout, you’re less likely to grab something unhealthy to eat. You don’t want to undo all of that hard work!
- If you do make an unhealthy choice, at least you’ve done some movement beforehand to help create a bit of a calorie deficit.
- If you keep putting a routine off, it becomes a much bigger deal in your mind. Getting healthier shouldn’t be stressful, it should be exciting. The day you take that first step, you will really lift that burden. Don’t you want to go into this season feeling proud and positive?
Here’s how it works
So now that you’ve got the “why,” let’s figure out the “how.” The first step is the hardest. You need to figure out if you want to join a gym, take classes, do home workouts, walk the mall, etc.
While you are doing your research and figuring out your options, you can get started on the healthy eating portion. There are so many “diet” options out there, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Start simple!
- Be mindful of everything you put in your mouth. Some people like to journal, some like to use apps, or if nothing else just make sure you realize what you are eating and when.
- Cut or reduce the junk! I’m talking about the stuff that is easy to identify as such (soda, cookies, candy, donuts, processed carbohydrates like white pasta and bread). Of course, there will be more of that around this time of year, but if you eliminate it from your regular routine it won’t be so bad to indulge on a special day or two.
- Add veggies and fruit. When you are first starting, don’t get overwhelmed by measuring. Just make an effort to add a vegetable or fruit to at least two of your meals/snacks every day. This is a great first step to incorporating more healthy foods.
- Lastly, drink more water. Be mindful to drink when you wake up, before bed, and at regular intervals throughout the day. You will feel more satisfied, a hydrated body is a happy body, and you will probably move more (extra trips to the restroom if nothing else).
It’s a perfect time to start
The bottom line is, enjoy this month. It is a wonderful time of year, filled with excuses to see family and friends. It is also still the right time of year to take care of yourself and get/stay healthy. A healthy lifestyle is not all or nothing, and December is no exception to that. Start working on a healthier you, today!
Molly Nevins. BS Kinesiology, ACSM HSF, is the fitness director for the DeWitt and Oak Park YMCAs. Reach her at (517) 827.9656.