Healthy Plan to Start the Year

Hint: What other people are doing isn’t always what’s best for your body.

Every year, resolutions and the “new year, new you” phrase spark millions of people to jump on the latest fad diet train. But often, these diets can actually deplete your body of the resources it needs to thrive. Ever notice how your workouts suffer without carbs or with fewer calories? Did you know that acclimating your body to a lower caloric baseline will actually make it easier to gain weight? Here are uncommonly simple ways to stay on top of your new year health goals without all the sacrifice.

Always talk to your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise routine.

1. Slow down
Instead of cutting out foods from your diet completely, eat slower to give your brain enough time to realize that you’re full. Weight gain is attributed to overeating. And overeating is attributed to being hungry. It takes 15 minutes for your brain to process that you’re full. Take your time to eat your meals, and you won’t have to replace everything with kale. Granted, this isn’t an excuse to eat ice cream and candy for dinner. Stay well-balanced by sticking to the five main food groups.

2. Set specific goals
“Lose weight” is not a specific goal. In fact, keeping things broad like this can have negative effects or prolong results. Try creating goals that you can measure over time. “Run three miles in 27 minutes by March” is an example of a goal that you can work up to. And unlike skipping meals or cutting carbs, it forces you to do something beneficial for your body over time. It may seem hard in the beginning, but you’ll end up training your body to accomplish more than you thought you could. And when you do accomplish your goal, don’t stop there. Create another specific goal to push yourself further than the last one.

3. Avoid bad habits
Do you have a tendency to eat more when you drink? Limit your alcohol intake. Do you snack on things that you keep out in the open? Put them in your cabinet. Do you skip the gym when it’s raining out? Work out at home. We all have bad habits, but when we understand how they are triggered, we can do things to distract ourselves from them. Make a list of your own and figure out the best way to avoid them.

4. Celebrate your wins
As you cross goals off your list, celebrate your wins by treating yourself to mini rewards, but not food. Schedule a massage, go see a movie or take a day off. There are plenty of ways to celebrate without setting yourself back.

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