Each year, countless people set a new year’s resolution to lose weight, which is usually paired with a new gym membership and a diet. And by March, the gym shoes are collecting cobwebs and the diet is long gone.
What if there was a way to lose weight in the new year without the sacrifice, the struggle and the unsustainable diets? There is!
It’s just a matter of shifting your perspective. Instead of resolving to lose weight in the new year, aim to live a healthier lifestyle.
There are two keys to this goal.
- Achieving health and losing weight are very different things. People often do very harsh and unhealthy things to their bodies in the name of weight loss, but ultimately the weight always comes back.When you focus on being healthy, it’s all about making better choices. There is no calorie restriction or guilt. You make decisions that will benefit your body.You begin to form a relationship with yourself where you care more about your well-being than the number on the scale. Over time, healthy decision after healthy decision, your excess weight will be shed.
- A lifestyle is not temporary. There is no end date. It becomes who you are. A lifestyle means you are looking long term and not just trying to lose weight fast.By living a healthy life you will likely shed weight gradually, but don’t worry, you won’t be stuck eating only kale and quinoa. It’s all about making better choices.Instead of ordering Dominos pizza with extra cheese and pepperoni, make a pizza at home with cauliflower crust and veggies on top. If you want dessert, pass up the banana split sundae for banana nice cream (ice cream made from frozen bananas).
With all that said, how do you completely change your way of living? Here are a few tips to start the new year healthy. You can implement them all at once or take them one at a time until you are confident in each one.
Ditch the animal products
If you haven’t already cut meat, dairy and eggs from your diet, what are you waiting for?! There are so many proven harmful effects of eating animal products that they just can’t be a part of your life if you truly want to be healthy.
We no longer need to eat animals to survive, and these days there are animal-free substitutes for everything so you won’t be missing out. There just really isn’t a good reason to keep eating animals.
Eat more fruits and veggies
As a society, we know that fruits and vegetables are good for us and they are often some of the first things we think of if we are asked to name healthy foods. So why do we eat so little of them?!
Fruits and veggies give us an array of nutrients that so many of us are lacking. These nutrients are vital to our body being able to function at its best.
Isn’t eating more fruits and vegetables easier said than done, though? The great news is, the more of these foods you incorporate into your diet, the less room you’ll have in your tummy for junk food.
Make exercise fun
Nobody likes doing chores. So if you make working out a chore, you’ll probably have to force yourself to do it or you’ll find any excuse not to.
Find a way to exercise that is enjoyable to you. Pumping iron at the gym is not the only way to work out. There’s yoga, boxing, martial arts, biking, running, hiking, dancing, rock climbing, or even sex!
There are countless ways to get your body moving. By finding a form of exercise you enjoy, you’re more likely to want to do it.
Be kind to yourself
Health is not just physical. Living a healthy lifestyle is about way more than the food you eat and your fitness routine.
Your mental health and self love should be one of your top priorities. This includes speaking positively to yourself and not putting yourself down if you aren’t as fit as you want to be yet.
This also includes taking time for yourself to recharge or reinvigorate your passion. There are so many ways you can do this, and I’ve pulled together a list to help get you started.
Focus on being healthy rather than being skinny
Like I mentioned earlier, being skinny does not mean you are healthy. Sometimes people who are skinny are actually dangerously unhealthy because they feel like they can eat whatever they want as long as the number on the scale doesn’t go up.
In order to fully immerse yourself in your new healthy lifestyle, I recommend throwing away your scale completely. Instead of focusing on that number glaring back at you, get tuned in to how your body feels and let that be your barometer.
If you are eating a clean diet, exercising regularly and taking care of your mental and emotional health, your body should be set up for success.
This is one of the most important tips on this list. The benefits of staying hydrated range from better digestion to healthier-looking skin, and more energy to better brain function.
While there’s much debate about how much water you actually need, I believe it’s always better to err on the side of drinking more than you think you need. I feel like my body runs best on two liters per day, and I drink more when it’s hot out or I sweat a lot.
Drinking so much water can be a little daunting at first so find a system that works for you. When I first started drinking more water, I would fill a cup several times throughout the day and keep track of how much I drank.
Now I fill a 1 liter bottle twice throughout the day and know how much I need to drink in the morning, afternoon and evening to get it all in.
Committing to living a healthy lifestyle is a wonderful accomplishment in itself and you should be proud of yourself for making that decision.
As you move through this journey, remember that you’re in it for the long haul. It’s not a race. It’s a joy ride through an exciting, pleasurable and sustainable life.