Happy 2016! It’s that time of year again; gym memberships skyrocket, gym parking lots get filled up, brand spanking new Nike sneakers, fr3sh new workout clothes (I think that’s how the kids spell “fresh” these days). My personal beef (shameless plug) with New Year’s Resolutions is that there are 364 other days of the year to make a commitment for self-improvement. With that said, since the new year is a universal time people decide to get healthier, I want to give you 10 simple and basic things you can do to become “healthier”. Too often are New Year’s Resolutions too extreme and before you know it, it’s February 1st and things are back to the way they were before New Years. Allow me to hold your hand and let’s take a step by step journey to better health. That got deep and emotional real quick.
- Drink More Water
The Institute of Medicine recommends about 3 liters of water for men and 2 liters for women. Thats about 13 and 8 glasses of water, respectively. Or if you’re a drinker of the regular sized Poland Spring bottled water (16.9oz), that’s 6 bottles for men and 4 bottles for women. My personal suggestion on drinking enough water to reach your goal is to carry around a liter bottle water around with you. That way, you know 3 or 2 refills of the bottle and boom, you’ve hit your goal. Note that for people with certain medical conditions, such as heart failure, this recommendation may not apply for you and you should get a consultation from your doctor or friendly neighborhood pharmacist ;).
- Cut Out One Crappy Food From Your Daily Diet
For me, this used to be croissants…delicious, buttery, warm croissants. I had a croissant , egg, and cheese sandwich everyday. I felt good because I got my protein from the egg and carbohydrates from the croissant. Let’s get real though, as delicious as croissants are, they are nutrient empty and calorically heavy. They were excess calories I needed to cut out to lose weight. Find the heavy caloric, nutrient empty food you can cut out from your daily consumption and you will see a difference after time. Examples of such food/drink items might be: large caramel frappuccino’s from Starbucks, large coffee with cream and 700 sugars, soda, bag of chips, chocolate bar, etc.
- Eat a Damn Fruit
Multivitamins are a nice way to get vitamins and minerals you may not get through you diet…but the natural way is better. Make a habit of one fruit a day. Apple, banana, orange, whatever.
- Start Packing Healthy Snacks
Healthy snacking is a great way to keep your appetite suppressed so you don’t go down on 6 slices of pizza for lunch or 3 plates of rice for dinner. Fill a sandwich bag with a handful of almonds or walnuts, baby carrots, handful of berries, dry cereal like Fiber One, or whole wheat toast with peanut butter.
- Stop Bringing Home Junk Food
Another personal signature lifestyle change was to tell my mom to stop bringing home Oreos and soda when grocery shopping. If it’s not at home then you can’t eat it. You can save a lot of calories this way.
- Track Your Macros
Haha, you thought I was actually going to go through a blog post without mentioning macros. Here’s my post on how to set yourself up to accomplish this task. Tracking your macros can revolutionize your eating habits and learn how much you really need to eat to lose weight.
- Substitute Soda With Crystal Light Packets
This is specific for the soda drinkers out there who can’t cold turkey soda. It’s okay, I was there before too, I’m here with you. I got through it by using Crystal Light (or store brand alternatives) packets. They are sugar free and typically have about 5 calories a packet. This isn’t a substitute for water, but for those who like to have something sweet with your meal, here you go. Also, no, you are not going to lose brain cells or other weird things from the artificial sweetener, aspartame. I’ll have a post addressing this in the near future.
- Do 10 Burpees Every Day
Here’s a video on how to do a burpee. I don’t care what your fitness level is. Take a break after each one if you have to in the beginning, just get to at least 10. The only way to get better at something is to start from somewhere. Burpees are a great whole body, compound exercise. It’ll help with mobility, flexion, stamina, and strength. If 10 is easy for you then do multiple sets with breaks in between.
- Stretch Every Morning
Here’s a video of a basic 3 minute stretch routine. I would also add standing toe touches with feet together and feet apart. Sometimes you don’t realize how stiff you are until you do a stretch. Again, in the beginning you might such at stretching, it’s okay. This is something, if done consistently, you will see results quickly.
- Realize Progress is a Slow, Stepwise Process
Seriously, it’s great to have resolutions and even the “new year, new me” stuff (unless you just slap that quote on for a selfie and FB likes, then that’s stupid and take it down immediately). If you’re serious about change and becoming healthier, it’s a SLOW process. Human nature is to want instant gratification so it’s an active mindset necessary to accomplish this. One lifestyle change at a time and they will add up in the long run.