Health and fitness are always a huge focus at the beginning of any year. Luckily, it doesn't require expensive gym memberships or complete diet overhauls to start being healthier. If it did, we would all give up! The best advice I received when I started working out and focusing on my health was to find something that was sustainable. While quick fixes are never the answer, a complete lifestyle overhaul can be overwhelming so it's all about starting slow and finding something that is sustainable for you. Here are 10 easy things that anyone can do to start being a little more healthy this year.
1. Squat a lot. There are so many moments during a day to fit in easy, bodyweight exercises like squats. I like to do them while I'm folding the laundry or heating something up in the microwave. If you're in public and not brave enough to whip out a few squats (don't worry, neither am I), try doing some calf raises instead. They're a little more subtle, but still a great way to fit toning moves into your day.
2. Eat protein for breakfast. I never really knew how important protein was until I started my own fitness journey. Spoiler alert: it's VERY important. Every cell in your body is made up of protein and it's what your body uses to build and repair tissue and muscles after you work out. Despite its importance, your body doesn't store protein so it needs replenishment in rather large amounts in order to stay healthy. I use My Fitness Pal to track my calories and macros and was shocked at how little protein I was eating in a day. Protein-packed breakfasts like eggs, Greek yogurt, or protein smoothies will not only help you meet your daily protein quota but will keep you feeling full much longer.
3. Take the long route. When you go to the grocery store (or any store!), park far away from the store and walk. It took me awhile to realize how much time I was wasting, circling the parking lot, looking for a spot close to the door, when I could just fit a walk into my day instead! Once you're in the store, take the long route around and go up and down a few more aisles than necessary. Just don't get distracted by what's on the shelves!
4. Drink more water. Aim to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces every day. I use my Ozark as a water bottle since I only need to fill it up twice to get in the recommended amount. It also does an awesome job at keeping my water cold throughout the day.
5. Schedule some "me time" into your morning. The way the morning goes usually has a strong effect on the rest of the day. Sadly, mornings are just so darn busy and busyness, for me, quickly leads to crankiness. Scheduling out my morning to include 30 extra minutes has done wonders. If you can't afford that much time, cut it back to 15 minutes, but somehow fit in a space of time where you're not required to do anything or get anyone (including yourself) ready.
6. Go for green. Winter is a hard time to discipline ourselves when it comes to dieting, so if you really want something, I say go for it. Take a moment though to make sure it's something that you really want. Beyond that, just add more greens and vegetables! A good rule of thumb is to split your plate in half and fill one whole half with greens and veggies. P.S. It should be noted that I am no dietician! This is simply what I do for myself.
7. Keep a fitness journal or habit tracker. If you're like me and love checking items off a list, start a habit tracker to monitor your workouts or healthy eating. I am highly motivated by a neatly checked off list and will drag myself to workout even when I don't feel like it, just to keep my tracker looking nice. Whatever works! Another option is to keep a fitness journal with all your meals and workouts written down for each day. I started one at the beginning of this year and have found it really helpful to see a week's overview of what I'm eating.
8. Use a slow cooker. It's a lot harder to justify eating out when there's a hot meal waiting for you on the kitchen counter! There are so many delicious, healthy slow cooker recipes you can try too.
9. Set an alarm in the evening. We usually think of alarms as a signal to get up for the day, but try setting one as a signal to get ready for bed as well. My Fitbit has this feature and I love it! Every night around 9:45, my Fitbit buzzes to let me know it's time to start winding down. It gives me plenty of time to start the bedtime routine and get in the bed before I need to be asleep. If you're struggling to get the full eight hours every night, I highly recommend giving this trick a go.
10. Kick the phone out of the bed. This is last on the list for a reason. It's something I really need to work on myself, but find so difficult to do! Scrolling through your phone first thing in the morning or last thing at night is simply not healthy, addicting maybe, but not healthy. Weaning myself off of this habit is something I want to work on more this year. Bedtime without a screen shining light into my face will be so much more relaxing!
, by Whitney