January 1st is a day of goals, hopes and dreams. A day when you feel like you have got it all under control and anything is possible. A new leaf has turned, and this year, you're getting into shape and losing those unwanted pounds.
At first it's not so hard. You count your calories and the weight starts coming off. But as the days progress, it gets harder and harder to stay committed to the low calorie diet. It becomes a burden to be trapped by the numbers on food packages and to numbers on a scale.
Slowly, the excuses begin - "I had a hard day", "didn't have enough time to cook", "I've been good all week", "I deserve it", "I did an extra 15 minutes at the gym today". You got more?!
An excess of 200 calories turns into 500 extra calories a day, and the bad habits begin again and the pounds start piling back on. The vicious cycle continues.
I'd like to suggest something different this year. Focus on healthy-clean eating, not on counting calories.
What does clean eating even mean?
I always say, small changes, one day at a time. These changes, over time, will not only improve your health, but also lead you to shed pounds as a side effect. Some examples:
Reduce caloric beverage intake and replace it with WATER. I know it can be hard to give up coke and juice, but they are both a source of needless calories. Diet beverages are not necessarily going to help you. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces a day.
Cook more meals. Know what you're eating. When you control what ingredients go into your food, you can be certain that you are consuming less calories, fat, sugar, and salt. You can never be guaranteed when eating out, even at healthy restaurants, what you are actually eating. You could be consuming more than you bargained for.
Read the labels so that you can decide what products suit your needs. This includes both the nutrition facts label AND the ingredient list. Overly processed foods should be avoided and if the ingredients list is a paragraph of words you can't pronounce I suggest putting it back.
Sleep more. Yes, sleep can aid in weight loss! Sleep helps with brain function and heart health. It's best to get at least 7 hours of sleep and get into bed by 10/10:30pm. Give your brain a rest. Little sleep can affect your mood swings and making poor choices with your eating.
Get Moving! Not everyone can have the perfect body, but that's OK. It's best to focus on being healthy instead of skinny or fat. When we exercise and feed our bodies what it needs, you will reach your optimal weight for your body. Yo Yo diets will only cause you be go up an down in weight and possibly cause depression. Exercise will brighten your mood and you will always feel good after you're done.
What healthy habits are you creating?
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”