Is it weird that I am already looking forward to a January 1 “reset” of my healthy lifestyle habits? In fact, I am craving it. I am excited to dive into a healthier eating plan and to step up my workouts.
It isn’t that I haven’t had a healthy lifestyle. In fact, in 2012 I have maintained a moderate lifestyle all year for the first time in years. I am not going into 2013 with the feelings of failure or guilt from an unhealthy lifestyle. I think this consistency all year is what has me excited to head into next year.
What have I learned that may help someone else?
Track what you eat and how often you exercise. When you see it on “paper” or on your phone (I use My Fitness Pal), it provides accountability. Stick within your calorie goal 80-90% of the time.
Create a meal plan. Type out what you are going to eat each week. Remember, it is a plan, and it is okay if it changes. A meal plan helps you think through your week in advance so you make sure you have healthy options to eat. It doesn’t have to be a complicated process. I have a Google Drive spreadsheet with my meal plan on it. I enjoy cooking, but I also have a few healthy meals each week that are easy.
Drink water every day! I can’t explain it, but drinking water helps me eat healthier.
If you have limited time and can only accomplish one lifestyle change, focus on your eating habits. What you eat has more impact on maintaining a healthy weight.
For exercise, do what you enjoy. You are not going to stick to a plan long term if you don’t enjoy it. My exercise changes based on the weather and also what I am in the mood to do. Don’t misunderstand me. I do push myself, but I don’t let myself have guilt when I switch up the types of exercise I do. You will hear some people say, you have to do “this” or “that” to be healthy. But it is better to be doing something you enjoy than nothing at all.
Splurge. I’ve done the strict eating plans, and I have never stuck with them. It is so important to allow yourself to enjoy the things you love with limits.
I am sure if I continued to reflect on this past year, I could add a few more things to the list. Overall though, the above have had the most impact on my 2012 lifestyle consistency.
As you finish out 2012, take time to figure out what changes you need to make to be a healthier you in 2013.