If you’re anything like me, you love the holidays and all that it brings: fun parties, large family dinners, and of course, more cookies than even I know what to do with! But unfortunately, many of the things that I love about Christmas and New Year’s involve a lot of extra calories. Add to this the fact that December is always jam-packed and you’re left with very little time to burn any of those added calories off!
Luckily, January is here and that means it’s time to set our health goals, right? While many people start January off with good intentions and strong resolutions, an overwhelmingly large majority will break their resolutions within the first two months of the year. I’ve been guilty of it as well. We crowd into the gyms diligently all through January and when we don’t instantly look more sculpted and svelte within a few weeks, we lose our drive and start slipping, until our New Year’s resolutions are distant memories!
2017 will be different, friends. Because this year, I plan on approaching health as more than just a resolution: a lifestyle change! Here are some tips to help you make a healthy 2017 more manageable.
- Switch to water – Whether you’re a juice fiend, a latte lover, or you’re always in the spirit for a spirit, one of the easiest ways to make a healthy change is to ease yourself into drinking more water. Instead of instantly cutting out all of your favourite drinks and chugging your daily requirement of 2 litres of water, it’s a much better idea to slowly switch out your drinks.
If you love juices or cocktails, start drinking more infused water or sparkling/carbonated water. Some fantastic combinations of infused waters include strawberries and lemons, mixed berries, apple cinnamon, and lemon-lime. If you love your warm beverages, try drinking hot water with lemon. It’ll still warm you up with no extra calories and it’s also a natural energizer to boot!
- Sneaking snacks – One of my biggest food pitfalls is my love of all snack foods! I love nibbling on something while watching TV or reading books or even while working. Snacking doesn’t have to be something you feel guilty over, however.
Some healthy, delicious, and satisfying snacks include air popped popcorn (I season mine with a little bit of organic extra virgin olive oil and sea salt instead of butter and table salt), roasted unsalted nuts, dehydrated fruit (I like to make mine at home, but if you choose to buy some, just make sure there’s no added sugar), guacamole with homemade pita chips, fresh fruit, veggies and hummus, and – one of my favourites – homemade kale chips! Just remember that while these options are all healthy, they can still be calorie rich (especially those nuts), so be aware of portion sizes.
- Make it a family friendly switch – 2017 should be about healthy balance, not about crazy dieting or extreme workouts. When meal planning, take into consideration what you and your family enjoy eating and then modify it if it doesn’t match up with your health needs. If you start making yourself small salads while the rest of your family eats your favourite foods, you’ll begin to feel resentful and frustrated. Instead, involve the whole family in the goal to be healthier (from the food you eat to family walks, swims, or bike rides) and you’ll be able to stick with it much longer.
- HIIT it – While everyone has a different method of working out that they respond to best, some days there’s just no way to fit in a good workout. On those days, you need to sneak in a little High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
HIIT is all the rage in the fitness world these days, and for good reason. It combines short periods of high intensity exercise with short rest periods to create an intense cardiovascular workout (very similar to a bootcamp). It is fast, can be done anywhere, and requires little to no equipment. There are apps that help you do HIIT workouts, online fitness groups, Youtube videos, and fitness classes that you can attend.
- Don’t deny yourself everything – Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is to not deny yourself everything you love. Sure, if all you want to eat is junk food, you may have to deal with some sacrifice, but too often we are much too hard on ourselves.
Don’t feel guilty if you indulge every once in a while, just make sure to balance it out with your other meals. You’re aiming for a healthy lifestyle, not just a healthy week or month, so remember to maintain a healthy balance when it comes to your eating habits.