Have you fallen off the wagon during the holidays? Are you looking to get back on track?
The holidays can be a challenging time to stick to our health goals and routine. Most of us find ourselves indulging in not-so-great food choices and skipping the gym. Then comes the guilt and the new year resolutions that everyone seems to dread.
Why do resolutions sound like a great idea before January 1st but when the new year actually rolls around, all you really want to do is plant yourself in front of Netflix with a bowl of ice cream?
Without motivation, we can't expect ourselves to follow a new routine and stick to it. This is why it's so important to have a plan in place that is sustainable and doesn't feel like a bore.
So, instead of new year's resolutions that are just going to be left to collect dust, let's set you up to really smash those new year goals all year round.
Find your 'why'
Losing weight or gaining abs just for the sake of it may sound fun but it's not empowering. It's not the reason that is going to keep you going when you want to quit. And when you do get there, you probably won't feel happy for long.
Creating a vision and a bigger reason for why you are doing this is crucial when setting up goals. Do you want to inspire others? Do you want to be able to pursue your passion? Do you want to reverse your health conditions? Do you want to set an example for your children? Find something that feels impossible to give up on, write it down, and look at it every day.
Slow and steady
Baby steps are the way to go! By adopting small changes consistently, you stand a better chance of sticking to them and actually reaching your long-term goals. You could start by drinking more water, adding more vegetables to your meals, or scheduling in a 20-minute workout every day. Then once you've mastered one, you can add another one to the list.
Start your day off right
We've all heard it before: the way you start your morning dictates the rest of your day. Instead of jumping out of bed 5 minutes before heading out the door, commit to waking up earlier and adopt a slower morning routine. Sip on some warm lemon water and list 3 things you are grateful for first thing when you wake up. Warm lemon water will help your body detoxify and eliminate waste as well as provide alkalizing minerals and hydration to the body. By being grateful you choose to pay attention to the positive, rather than the negative, which will not only make you feel better but will also train your brain to focus on the good things in your life.
Make sure your first meal of the day is rich in protein and has some healthy fats to stabilize your blood sugar and give you lasting energy. This will help keep the cravings at bay and support better decisions throughout the day. Our favourite way to kick off the morning? With a superfood smoothie! We love to boost ours with Organika collagen or Iron Vegan protein.
Your Healthy Smoothie Formula
Choose 1 item from each category to cover all your nutritional needs.
Get enough sleep
If you aren't getting enough sleep, it will take a toll on your weight loss and fitness goals, not to mention overall health status. Lack of sleep causes an imbalance in our hunger hormones (prompting us to eat more unhealthy foods), decreases growth hormone (needed for tissue repair and muscle synthesis), and increases cortisol (hormones that promote fat storage, specifically around the tummy area). Not only that, but lack of sleep sabotages our motivation and makes us less likely to take the time to cook a meal or stop by the gym after work.
Sufficient sleep has been shown to boost athletic performance, cognition, and mood. So how much sleep should you be getting? For adults, aim for 7-9 hours per night.
Be SMART about your goals
S (Specific) - M (measurable) - A (attainable) - R (realistic) - T (timely)
When you set up your goals, you want to follow the guidelines above. Broad goals without any deadlines or details usually fall apart. So instead of committing to working out more, you could commit to 3 sessions with your personal trainer per week or going for a run twice a week. Make your goals realistic for you. What level are you at? Where do you want to go? You don't have to start by running a marathon if you haven't run in 6 months. A simple 20-minute run is a great place to start. You can measure your progress with your steps, weights, or heart rate tracking and gradually look at increasing your numbers. Proof of your progress will make you want to get better and stay committed.
Ask for help
If you're starting a new workout routine, a new diet, or simply just want to uplevel in your life, finding a coach or mentor makes a big difference. We don't have all the answers, and that's okay! Having someone who can coach you to reach your goals will not only save you time but also a lot of frustration. A coach will be able to guide you to make the right choices for yourself and help you try new things you normally wouldn't do on your own. Make an appointment with a personal trainer at your local gym or find a health coach you feel comfortable with, who can keep you motivated through the thick and thin.
Starting anything new can be daunting when you're going at it alone. Find a buddy who wants to join you on your health journey or join a group or fitness club. You can keep each other accountable with weekly check-ins and scheduling regular meet-ups. If you keep your goals inside your head and don't share them with others, you're more likely to call it quits when the going gets tough. Just make sure you are surrounding yourself with people who want you to succeed and who you trust will call you out when you're in self-sabotage mode. This will also give you an excuse to socialize with friends, which is another great motivator!
Recognize your progress
Tracking your progress with measurements, photos, or simply by how you feel can be all the motivation you need to keep going. Ditch the all-or-nothing thinking. Remember, results come with time and consistency. A sustainable, balanced approach is the only way you'll be able to maintain your health goals long-term, while feeling happy and non-restricted. Be patient and kind to yourself. Little setbacks are fine and normal. Celebrate your wins, even if it means that you got out of bed 30 minutes early to fit in a morning workout. Book that massage or check out that fabulous new restaurant with your best friend. It will feel good to celebrate yourself and give you the drive to keep going.
Nourish your body & ditch the diet mentality
Starving yourself is a recipe for disaster and can actually sabotage your weight loss goals. Your body needs fuel to power through your workouts and to increase its lean body mass (which will help you burn excess body fat). Dieting can also lower your metabolism over time and signal your body to hold onto fat instead of burning it. Crash dieting and over-exercising are especially problematic for women, as it puts you on a hormonal rollercoaster ride, which may look like cravings, stubborn weight gain and feeling lethargic and moody, to name just a few. Your body needs and thrives off balance, not off extremes that leave it feeling unsafe and deprived.
A better option? Ditch the junk foods for nutrient-dense whole foods instead, and focus on satisfying meals that are blood sugar balancing and anti-inflammatory.