The holiday season is wrapping up, and with that, the time of year when many of us decide to make New Year’s resolutions that we hope will help improve our lives in one way or another. And for many people, resolutions focus on improved health and fitness.
According to a recent MSN and Impulse survey, nearly 30 percent of people said they want to eat healthier in the New Year, either by eliminating junk food or starting a new diet. In that same study, however, 39 percent also cited ‘lack of time’ as the reason they’re not typically successful in sticking to resolutions.
So if you want to be healthy and fit in the new year, but don’t have lots of spare time, how can you do it? Although taking the first step is usually the hardest part in any journey, here are a few of my favorite tips to help you get started.
Follow These Tips to Be Healthy in the New Year
1. Think of every meal as a “Monday morning”
People too frequently throw in the towel after making one “bad” diet decision. Instead, think of every meal like a “Monday morning”. Don’t we all start the week on a healthy note? If you compartmentalize each meal you will be much less likely to let one little slip throw you completely off track.
2. New Year, New You…Clean Slate, Clean Pantry
Clean out your pantry: Spend five minutes pulling out items that are either OLD, unhealthy, or you simply over-consume. Ditch ‘em or donate to a local food pantry and make room for NEW healthier foods. This also helps you get organized for meal planning.
3. Plan Ahead when Eating Out
Going out to eat? Have your strategy ready, whether it’s ordering a child’s portion, splitting an entrée, asking for sauce or dressing on the side, or having fruit for dessert. Just going into a meal prepared can help you make smarter, healthier choices.
4. Commit to Eating More Fruits and Veggies
Write down a list of produce you want to eat this week. People who commit to a concrete plan to eat more fruits and vegetables are twice as likely to stick with that plan. Adding veggies to your meal can automatically help you reduce overall caloric consumption at the meal.
5. Exercise the Buddy System… Literally!
Everyone knows it is more fun to work out with someone else, so ask around at work or in your neighborhood for a new weight-loss buddy. Finding someone you can brag to a little about your successes—or confess to when you’ve had a setback—will provide solid support, and may even provide a little healthy competition. In fact, studies show you work out harder when you’re exercising with someone you perceive to be in better shape than yourself.
6. Embrace your Inner Chef
If you were super-busy with all of that last minute holiday planning, I’m sure cooking healthy dinners was far from the top of your to-do list. Now that the New Year is upon us, take the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen. Try some new spices or a new kitchen gadget. Maybe you got a slow cooker for the holidays or a new mandolin. Give them a test drive with a new, healthy recipe!
Commit to these 6 steps and you’ll be well on your way to being healthier and fitter in the New Year!
Nationally recognized nutrition expert and published author Keri Glassman is the founder and president of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City, and Nutritious Life Meals, a gourmet, healthy, daily diet delivery program available in major markets in the United States. Keri has authored 3 books including The New You and Improved Diet: 8 Rules to Lose Weight and Change Your Life Forever.
Photo by Alan Cleaver