If you are choosing to try to get healthy with me this year, then here are few things to keep in mind:
* If a recommended new habit is something you already do, then substitute a healthy habit that is on your to-do list.
* If you start to forget to keep up with a new habit, then maybe skip one of the upcoming new habits and instead, circle back to the one you are forgetting. Focus on the old habit for two additional weeks.
* Instead of thinking of yourself as out of shape, fat, or old, think of yourself as an athlete, in shape, or a healthy person. Fake it til you make it, as they say! You will get there! And please, never mentally beat yourself up for slipping. It won’t help, and it might even convince you to give up altogether. Just learn why you slipped, and avoid those circumstances in the future.
* Read about healthy subjects. Research. Don’t just take what you hear or read on Facebook as the truth. Look for university studies, academic or juried publications, etc.
* Read the label! Start with the ingredients. Keep in mind what should be in the product. If there are other things, you might have a problem. I was looking at my yogurt container the other day, and it said it did not contain gelatin. Of course, I started wondering if my favorite yogurt (Great Value vanilla) had gelatin. I am going to check the next time I am in Walmart.
* I keep getting told to eat a protein as part of my small 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. snacks. Peanut butter, hard boiled egg, glass of milk, yogurt, a small tuna pack, almonds are all good sources of protein. But don’t over indulge in proteins. For a healthy adult woman (not pregnant or breast feeding), 46 grams of protein is the daily recommendation per the American Heart Association’s website, in an article titled Protein and Heart Health.
* If you need healthy snack ideas, search the web. There are tons. Just add up the numbers for yourself to double check that the snack meets your needs. Here is an article I just found for healthy portable snacks, with simple recipes. Love it!
* Use Sunday afternoon to make a plan for the week. Grocery shop, cook, prep, and pack what you need for the week. For me, if I ever fail to have a plan, I get into trouble. That is when I feel forced to go out to eat. Or maybe I go ahead and go to the store and try to cook, but we don’t eat until way too late. When I have a plan, it makes for a great week!
* Speaking of eating late, we try to never eat past 7 p.m. It is more difficult to sleep comfortably with a full stomach, it is harder on folks with acid reflux, and I tend to be more hungry the next morning.
* Watch portion sizes. If eating 5 times a day, none of the meals should include a large quantity of food. As a way to remember to serve yourself smaller portions, use smaller plates.
* I don’t know about you, but if I eat something sugary, then the rest of the day I crave sugar. I can’t just have a jelly bean or soft mint. I have to have 20. Because of this, I desperately try to refrain from eating anything sugary altogether. If I can’t fight the urge, I at least hold off until later in the day so I have less time for damage. A couple of weeks ago a colleague brought donuts on a stressful day. Instead of eating one in the morning, I waited until the afternoon. It was totally stress eating, but at least I only had one. If I had have had one in the morning, then I would also have had one in the afternoon and a handful of jelly beans in between!
So what suggestions do you have for keeping us on the right track to a healthy future? Have you started your first healthy habit for the year?