As we finish the first 30 days of the new year, are you evaluating your resolutions? Many of you created goals focused on food and fitness choices. Maybe you want to do something different, or give something up. Are you on track? Or did January get the best of you? What if I told you January isn’t the best time to make major changes. After a month of parties, overindulging, late nights, and travel, we are exhausted to start the new year. Why are we setting ourselves up for failure by creating lofty goals this month? What if what we need to do is not making sweeping changes, but start small.
Small changes are manageable, and often the caveat to bigger changes happening down the road. Trying to make a major shift in your lifestyle while recovering from the holiday season is a quick way to fall off the wellness wagon. If I tell you to just do 4 jumping jacks a day, I bet you can handle it. And maybe you will do a little more. The key is to start small. Enjoy those little victories. Focus on building your energy stores first, and then tackle those next hurdles to create a healthier lifestyle.
If you are wondering where to begin, here’s some tips to get you started. I see victory in your future…
Sit down to eat.
This is a simple task, yet a hard one for some. Sitting on a subway doesn’t count. Sitting in front of your computer at a desk isn’t ideal either. I’m talking about making space to sit at a real table, preferably with food and friends, to enjoy a break. Let your body relax and get out of that fight-or-flight mode that interferes with your digestion. Settling in for a real meal may help eliminate some of that digestive upset that you may have been experiencing.
If there is one small change you can make to set yourself up for successful change, it’s meal planning. Start with those meals that derail your healthy habits. Is it your snack choices? Plan those first. Is it breakfast? Pick out some new recipes to try that will provide you with the fat and protein to sustain you throughout the morning rush. Map your plan out in a way that works for you, on paper or in an app. Taking away the need to make a choice when you are suffering from decision fatigue is the best way to prepare you for sticking to a plan.
Focus on adding, not avoiding.
Too many detox programs are calling for you to give up your favorites when your tired body may not be ready. Post holidays, you are exhausted. Let’s instead think about what will nourish your body. Think hearty, richly colored soups and stews. Load them up with different colored vegetables than you normally eat. Now you are opening up your senses at the table and engaging with the new experience. There won’t be time to think about what you won’t be eating.
Chew your food.
Yes, this is an easy one, but often overlooked. As we embrace the colder months, it’s a time to slow down. We eat too fast and chewing is the first thing to go. We have to remember that our stomachs don’t have teeth and we need to do most of the work to breakdown our food. Focus on the idea that the more we chew, the more nutrients our body can accept from our meal.
Instead of joining a gym in January, just make a plan to move. It may be a walk outside, or maybe it’s a game of air hockey. Just commit to finding a form of movement that can restore your energy and stretch your muscles. Once your energy is restored post holidays, then it’s time to take another step on your healthy living journey. Walking throughout the day is better for you than an hour at the gym. What are you doing the other 23 hours?
Which of these tips do you need to work on first? Remember, pick one resolution that you can stick with and enjoy a small victory, and get ready for the next one. Thank you in advance for sharing this post with your community.
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About Emily Roach
Emily Roach is a culinary nutrition expert and works with clients to create a healthy lifestyle design. She loves teaching her kids how to cook, playing tennis and inspiring women to take control of their health. Emily does one-on-one consulting, cooking workshops and speaking engagements.