If you’re like me, breakfast these past two weeks has looked less like peanut butter on rye and more like peanut butter cookies. I’ve drank more wine and champagne than water and my “workouts” have consisted mostly of wandering through post-Christmas clothing sales (I only bought shoes… too afraid to try on the jeans).
Being fit and healthy [sober] was a distant memory for me, or maybe for some of you has always been a goal that somehow slips away before ever becoming reality. But now that it’s the new year, we can stop looking back and start afresh. Here’s five ways I’m getting back on that bandwagon… mind you, I’m no expert, just doing what works for my body so make sure you always listen to yours!
1. See not, want not…
Yes, I get there are still 20 left over Christmas cookies, and somehow there are beers/champs still left over in the fridge. But seriously, throw them away now. Or at least bring them into the office or over to a willing recipient.
I always struggle when I go to a house that has a plethora of delicious treats (I’m only human), whereas in my home I never keep temptation in the flat. Not having cookies, cakes, chips, etc. around anywhere in my living space has always helped me find more healthy options if I’m feeling peckish, like…
2. Eating real food…
I’m not a fad diet person. I will get on my soapbox if someone shares excitement on ordering their $250 “detox” or “cleanse”. I’m not even a fan of the word “diet”. But I am a fan of FOOD. I love it, can’t get enough of it. I photograph it, plan my day around it, talk about it in loving cooing sounds. Yeah… I’m that girl. The greatest life lesson I’ve learned for my body is to have a healthy relationship with food (more on that some other time). But the important thing to understand is when I say food I don’t mean processed/manipulated junk. I cannot tell you the last time I’ve had Doritos, potato chips, candy or packaged cakes, but I can tell you I’m definitely not missing them. When your meals mostly revolve around fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, meat (any other flexitarians out there?), grains and spices, your body eventually learns not to crave or even enjoy the taste of processed items. We weren’t built to accept artificial sweeteners, flavors, chemicals and nutrient-void items. Ever one to love a good cheesy slogan, “our bodies are temples”. The best advice I can give on what has worked for me my entire adult life is to focus your eating around getting nutrients, having everything in balance.
3. …and drinking less
Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good adult beverage. Specifically, I love a chilled white wine or a bright red on any day that ends in “y”. But as I’ve crept my way out of my twenties, I’ve realized for some time my body does not respond well to alcohol in large or often quantities. I am aggressively reminded of this every time my sorority sisters and I get together for a weekend away!
One of my favorite quotes is from John Berendt: “Always stick around for one more drink. That’s when things happen. That’s when you find out everything you want to know.” But for me, I am happiest when these beverages enhance a lovely experience, not make or break one.
4. Get up and out of your comfort zone
Just like our bodies were designed to take in real food, they were also designed to move. I love walking, and believe it’s the foundation to health your whole life. But on top of walking whenever I can, I also do ClassPass and swear by it. I travel up to 30% of the year which means my gym may not be available where I am, but with ClassPass I just change the city to where I am and voila! No excuses (much to my vexation).
I’m a ClassPasser not just for ease of use, but also for the variety of options. I get complacent in a workout as do my muscles, and I thrive on a challenge physically. Some days I do full circuit training, others is intense cycling, but every week there’s one workout that is always Pilates. It’s the workout I know I’ll still be doing into my 70s, I love the feeling of lengthening and strengthening my body while focusing on building core strength. So I encourage you to find the workout you genuinely love to do and make it part of your week while also not being afraid to challenge yourself with something new. My body’s ability always surprises me, and even if I’m the worst in the class I love improving as I build strength (who doesn’t love a comeback kid?!).
5. Listen to your body, not your mind
Obviously I don’t mean ignore reason and resolutions. But for me, my mind is always telling me I can’t push harder in an intense workout, I can’t run the last mile, or that I’m hungry when bored on the sofa. Your mind tells you to do what is easiest, whereas your body tells you what it needs. If I’m having a massive headache I’ve learned it’s usually my body telling me I haven’t drank enough water. When I’m feeling sluggish I know it’s been because I haven’t been eating enough nutritious food and when I’m craving sweets it’s because I’ve allowed my body to be accustomed to having them. Learning to genuinely silence the mind and listen to my body has helped me tremendously not only in being more mindful in my health, but also in feeling like I’m actually taking care of my body. As I said above I’m always surprised by my body’s ability, it’s all about quieting the destructive voice in your head wanting you to give up. Don’t give up. Each day is a new chance, setbacks are to be expected (life should be lived after all – everything in moderation!) but daily effort is the key to always getting yourself back to the bandwagon.