I’m writing this to serve up a reality check. Not one to make you angry or make you feel bad about yourself, but one that will maybe get you to realize that you can literally take control of your health immediately. Your inbox, TV and social media feeds are about to get flooded with 2017 weight loss tricks, diets, detoxes, 15-minute fixes and transformation stories that will knock your socks off. It will be really difficult to avoid the temptation of these affordable and accessible plans or supplements. I’m not here to tell you that these things haven’t worked for hundreds or thousands of people; I’m sure there are believers everywhere who do an annual detox, slimming belt and yogilatescycleliftdance class in the privacy of their living room at the beginning of the year. You may even envy their quick and “easy” weight loss.
This year I dare you to try something different.
I want you to replace the idea in your mind that you need to avoid doing “bad things”. This includes nutrition and lack of exercise or movement. Instead, decide that this year you want to increase the benefits of eating better and finding movement that you enjoy and stick to. While there is no simple, one-size-fits-all approach, here are a few simple points that will put your mind at ease:
- Your body needs veggies, protein, fats, and YES, carbs! How much? Well, that most certainly depends. But, one simple rule you can get started on RIGHT away is to know that if you love your fats (cheeses, nuts, oils), keep your carbohydrates (this includes fruits) lower during your day. If you need your carbs (grains, fruits) higher, keep your fats a bit lighter. It also helps to use those carbs to fuel an intense workout where strength/resistance training is involved. Your muscles love it.
- Getting more water in will make you even more fabulous than you already are. It’s one of the simplest, yet most neglected avenues to more energy, more awareness of hunger cues, better skin/hair and keeping the immune system in check. Water will come from your morning coffee and raw fruits/veggies, but there is a huge benefit to having a refillable bottle of plain old water with you. All that peeing will help get you up and moving a lot more throughout the day.
- Weight training is necessary for everyone. Yes, everyone. Bodyweight exercises most definitely have their place. However, no matter your goal (weight loss, weight gain, mobility, strength, “toning”), weight training can help get you there. While I can hop onto my soap box and do my VERY best to convince you that heavy weight training will not “bulk” you, but rather give you those fantabulous arms, please just take my word for it. And if you still don’t want to take my word for it, you know where to find me. Let’s chat 😉
- Supplements are not going to give you your dream body or give you a kickstart to better health. Do some of them have a benefit when used appropriately? Sure do. But, if you are still in the initial stages of trying to create a regular fitness and nutrition plan that has yet to last over 6 months to a year, supplementation is the last thing you need to worry about, if ever. Don’t get lost in genius marketing.
- Your body needs rest. That may come in the form of a beach vacation or simply a day on your couch. Don’t neglect the signs your body is throwing at you. Your immune system is compromised every day and each stressor (even exercise is a stressor) potentially puts you at risk. If you are having a day(s) where you can’t seem to recover from a workout or you just need some extra sleep, you might not want to ignore that. Just be ready to get back on the horse.
- Obstacles will always be there, you will just be able to handle them better with more experience. Understand that while motivation is powerful, it is fleeting. Since you know that ahead of time, be ready to tackle those days where your willpower seems non-existent. I find that new workout gear, music, personal trainers and friends help with accountability, specifically when motivation fades. There is no “perfect” so don’t consider an off-day to be imperfect. These obstacles are a beautiful part of the process towards a healthier life. They sometimes show you it’s time to rest and they also show you how strong you are to overcome pure laziness.
Make this year less about “a better you”. You’re probably already pretty awesome. Think about all the ways you can amplify your awesomeness instead. Taking control of your health through improved eating, more water, more recovery and enjoyable exercise is a pretty sweet way to do so.