10 Tips to a Healthy Year
The most cliche time of year ... NEW YEAR. NEW ME. But in all seriousness, a big part of my business is creating an impact of healthy living and educating others on the benefit of shifting to a healthier lifestyle. I'm not going to preach anything I don't practice myself and I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it's going to be as easy as creating an Instagram account. Living a well-balanced healthy lifestyle takes TIME, but the reason it takes time is because it needs to be a gradual shift to be a sustainable one.
For some people it needs to be a drastic change - i.e. going cold turkey on processed foods, clearing out the pantry and fridge, cutting out alcohol, etc. but that's not for everyone. I'm going to probably mention this a couple times in this post - BABY STEPS. One small step at a time will turn into daily actions which will then turn into monthly habits then yearly goals.
small steps = BIG RESULTS
The lifestyle I have created for myself is quite the hybrid of things I've learned over the years. It has morphed and evolved as I've learned, trial-and-errored my way through being a student-athlete and life after sport. However, it was at a very young age that I was introduced to the importance of physical activity and eating well to give my body energy. Two pillars in a healthy lifestyle - movement & nutrition. I know living healthy has definitely become "trendy" over the past few years, but I want to share with you what I've learned over the years and pieced together.
Healthy living will look a little bit different for everyone but here are my 10 tips to create a healthier lifestyle for yourself ...
(1) MINDSET creates the shift
Your lifestyle isn't going to change unless you do. Get your head on the right track by actually believing you can accomplish what you want to. A way to practice this is to meditate or take time to be mindful. During meditation, you clear your mind of racing thoughts and slow down to focus on your breathing and settle yourself.
TRY THIS: Every morning when you wake up, find a space on a chair or seated on the floor to close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. This should take all of one minute. If this feels good, remain seated for another 10 breathes. You can also follow the sequence of counting to 10 with an inhale being 1 and an exhale being 2, etc. Try counting to 10 3-5x before getting up. By focusing solely on your breath, you end up blocking out everything else going on. This will help set the tone for your day!
(2) Set GOALS
Goals are a very powerful tool to help you stay on track. You can set goals daily, weekly, monthly, or just set a couple for the year. Figure out what's going to work best for you. If you're not a goals person, try setting one each month. If you LOVE goals (like I do) then set one for the year then work yourself backwards to monthly, weekly and daily. Remember, language is powerful - use phrases like "I will ...", "I am ...", "I have ..." you'd be surprised at how powerful it truly is!
TRY THIS: Sit down for 15 minutes and fill in the blanks to these phrases.
By December 2018, I will _______.
By July 2018, I will ___________ to help me reach the above goal.
By next month, I will __________ to help me reach the above goal.
This week, I will _____________ to help me reach the above goal.
Today, I will ________________ to help me reach the above goal.
Set your long term goal and then work backwards determining what steps you'll need to take to reach it!
(3) MOVEMENT is crucial
Doesn't matter what level you're at, just MOVE. That could mean going for a daily walk, taking a group training class 2x/ week, or investing in a program or trainer 3-4x/ week. It's going to look different for everyone but physical activity is CRUCIAL for your overall health. Find something that you enjoy doing but challenges you at the same time. You don't have to leave every workout dripping in sweat, but you still want to make sure your pushing yourself enough to reap the benefits from the movement.
TRY THIS: Sign up for a group training class (F45, Orange Theory Fitness, etc.) or purchase a 4-8 week program you feel confident about sticking to. Doing this holds you accountable to making it happen - you don't want to waste your own money, do you?
Start small. Take 20-30 minutes each day to walk and incorporate these bodyweight movements 3-4x/ week.
- Prisoner Squats
- Glute Bridges
- Shoulder Taps
- Jumping Jacks
Complete each movement for 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets.
(4) Eat REAL food
There is so much I could say for this one, but let's keep it simple. Focus on eating REAL, WHOLE foods that come from the ground with ingredients you can pronounce.
Count colours & ingredients, not calories.
Consume lean meats+fish, healthy fats and LOTS of vegetables.
Aim to get a palm-sized piece of protein at every meal.
Season your food with herbs to go easy on the sauces.
READ INGREDIENTS - labels don't lie (or shouldn't at least) so you should be able to read and pronounce every ingredient on the list!
(5) Drink WATER
H2O is important for weight loss, metabolism, recovery and overall health - don't overlook how powerful this simple beverage can be! Aim for 3-4L and add 0.5L for every 30 minutes of sweating you do each day.
TRY THIS: Drink 500mL - 1L of water upon waking before drinking your morning coffee (or tea).
(6) Make SLEEP a priority
Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night. It is SO important for proper RECOVERY and function.
TRY THIS: Use the Bedtime App on your iPhone or set an alarm for your bedtime as well as your wake up time. This will hold you accountable and give you a reminder to get your Z's in.
(7) Create your HYBRID
What works for one person, won't necessarily work for another so you have to be mindful of what makes you feel best.
TRY THIS: One phrase - trial & error. Try things before you knock them and see what makes the most sense for your lifestyle.
(8) Practice PATIENCE
Rome wasn't built in a day (and neither was Beyonce), so CHILL. Consistency is key to creating healthy habits.
(9) Get cozy in your KITCHEN
Preparing your food is crucial to creating a healthy lifestyle. Yes, there are a ton more healthy foods to grab on the go but you'll save time and money when you prepare food yourself!
TRY THIS: Start by preparing just one snack for each day of the week (homemade trail mix, hummus & veggies, etc). Once that becomes easy, start preparing one snack and one meal for each day. Get comfortable in your kitchen, the more you spend time in there the easier things become!
(10) Create BALANCE
Life is about the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time focus on your training, proper nutrition, adequate sleep & hydration, and the other 20% should be to EAT THE DAMN CUPCAKE. Life is about #balance.
Well, there ya have it. Ten key components to living a healthy lifestyle. Whether you are just starting out on a healthier journey, or you've been at it for years - props to you. You are taking steps to better yourself, that deserves a high five in itself!
To my fellow health nuts, here's to proper nutrition, sound training and healthy habits taking over the world in 2018!
As always, if you have any questions/ inquiries or are interested in programming, training or nutrition coaching - please feel free to ask or contact me at email@example.com :)