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February 2, 2016
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12 Steps to Healthy Living in 2016

The gym is packed in January with many well-intentioned folks who have made a resolution to change their health story this year. What so often we do with resolutions is plunge in head first to radical change without thinking through the long-term story we want to create.

If you want to create lasting change and get better over time, it begins one simple change at a time.

Many of my fellow gym rats, myself included, have made the gym such a regular habit that missing a few days feels like not brushing your teeth. It’s gross! If your one simple change for January is regular gym attendance, make sure that change has really solidified for you before you start cleanses, detoxes and other radical programs.

Often times it pushes us to a point of rebellion where we quit everything, eat the whole box of donuts during a Netflix marathon and then experience guilt and a plummet in self-esteem. If you can hold yourself accountable to one change at a time, until its truly a habit, then incorporate another one, you begin to write a story that evolves over an entire year or period of time that you can be life changing.

Look at it this way. There are 12 months in a year. If you make one simple change per month, over the course of a year, you have created massive change and rewritten your health story.

The way it really works is that through the totality of your diet and lifestyle you create outcomes. Just because you did a gym and protein shake binge for 4 weeks last year, doesn’t mean you are fit or healthy. You have to look at the big picture. If you could read a journal of what your entire lifestyle looked like last year, what would it tell you? It’s about creating consistency one step at a time, rather than planning a drastic overhaul that becomes too hard before its becomes habitual.

Look at an example of 12 simple changes you could make over the course of 2016 and think about how you could look and feel better at the end of the year as each change has been integrated into your story.

January 30-60 minutes of exercise 3-6 days per week. Discover exercise you like so it’s not such a mental battle. Some people love time alone working out to good music.   Others like classes and the comradery that comes from working out with friends. Some even like to get competitive. On the hard days, focus on the feeling you’ll enjoy when you’ve completed your workout.
February Drink water.   Plain. The rule is 50% of your body weight in ounces. EVERY DAY.
March Color Your Plate.   Eat clean whole food 90% of the time. The recommendation is to eat 7-13 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day.   A serving is the size of your fist or a handful if it’s leafy. You can’t be hungry doing this because of all the fiber and phytonutrients taking up space in your stomach.
April Reduce sugar intake.   You may have noticed sugar or even sodium cravings when you passed on processed food for cleaner, whole foods.   Are you still buying foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup or artificial sweeteners? Do your homework and get rid of harmful chemicals and added sugars that don’t match your clean plate profile. All sweeteners promote acidity, inflammation and weight gain in the body. You don’t have to be perfect but chances are with the average American consuming 150-170 POUNDS of sugar per year, you can ditch most of it.
May Focus on getting 7-8 hours of sleep EVERY NIGHT. Sleep is when our bodies rebuild and restore at a cellular level. Skipping sleep regularly promotes aging, disease and consumption of too many stimulants like sugar, soda and calorie rich designer coffees.
June The pool is open.   Maybe its soda, a morning pastry, energy drinks, the second glass of wine or cigarettes. GIVE IT UP. Treat yourself to a massage, the chiropractor or some acupuncture. When you give up something and it’s a challenge, give yourself something back that is good for you. Good trade-offs promote self-confidence and willpower.
July Eat organic and local.   The Farmers Market is open and this is a great time to eat even cleaner with organic produce, proteins and grains.   Take the kids. Explore. Try new recipes.
August Take a fitness challenge.   You’ve been in the gym consistently for 7 months or maybe you’ve slacked a little. Join a running club. Try a new class. Take it up a notch.
September Smoothies.   Experiment with one of the best ways to get more micronutrition in a meal that travels well. Healthy can be easy. Micronutrition comes from the thousands of compounds that exist in the plant kingdom. While fad diets tend to focus on macronutrition (carbohydrates, fats and proteins), optimal cell function is created with good micronutrition.
October Stress Less. Find ways to reduce stress. Yoga. Meditation. Spiritual community. Ditch drama and toxic relationships. Read and listen to positive content. Turn off the news. Laugh.
November Green and Gratitude.   Focus on cultivating a mindset of gratitude.   Give thanks for kale and eat more of everything green. Cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens are known for cancer prevention and anti-aging benefits.
December Salads in Jars.   Find time once a week to make a week’s worth of mason jar salads that you can grab on the go to fuel you through the week. It’s fine to indulge, but if you plan wisely, you won’t completely fall off the wagon during the holidays. You can face next January, stronger, healthier and more confident.

 

You accumulate change. Keep going to the gym while you focus on hydration. Then in March, you’re a gym regular and big water drinker and your focusing now on eating clean. It builds like a good story, it just keeps getting better.

Enjoying good health gives us hope on every level. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself and hold vitality when given the proper lifestyle and through REAL food, the appropriate building blocks. Be empowered as you make one simple change at time for increased health and vitality.

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