HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I love the “Out with the old, in with new” feelings that each new year brings. It always renews my energy and my spirit.
I live on the East Coast, so those feelings are warmly welcomed during these winter months when I usually need a boost out of hibernation mode. Anyone else have the desire to curl up in a ball in bed with flannel sheets and warm pjs, mostly sleeping through the cold months but occasionally stirring to watch Netflix and maybe have a cup of half hot coffee/half hot cocoa?
Just me? A girl can dream, right?
Alas, my hibernation goals are never going to happen (At least, not long term… which is probably a good thing!) so I might as well harness that renewal of energy and determination that comes with the start of the year. You should too!
This month I’m focusing on healthy eating, which means fueling my body with the foods that make me feel best and avoiding foods that don’t.
What is healthy eating anyway?
What’s considered a healthy diet for an individual can depend on that person’s individual biochemistry, current lifestyle, and allergies/intolerances. However, most everyone would agree that the cornerstone of healthy eating includes a variety of vegetables and fruits.
For myself, I’m going to include a plethora of fruits and veggies as well as good sources of protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. The standard American diet is severely lacking in whole foods and vegetables. Now is the best time to make a lifestyle change!
Why should I focus on eating healthily?
My top reasons for focusing on healthy eating are:
- I’ll feel amazing with a marked increase in energy level
- I’ll have an easier time falling and staying asleep
- My mood level will stabilize at a more positive level
When I was eating a standard American diet full of sugar, processed foods, and undesirable additives, I didn’t know how good I was capable of feeling. My whole life was rocked when I learned more about nutrition and when I made positive changes in my diet.
I can attest firsthand the positive effects of fueling my body appropriately. I’ve also seen how improving my diet can start a snowball effect with other areas of my life. More on that in a later blog post!
Other reasons for focusing on healthy eating include:
- stabilizing blood sugar and cholesterol
- increasing lifespan by decreasing the likelihood of certain cancers and illnesses
- setting a positive example for our children and families
- improving skin, hair, and nails
- shedding extra weight
Taking a moment to think about and jot down reasons for wanting to change eating habits is one of the best ways to stay on track. Having these reasons somewhere conspicuous where you will see them daily will remind you WHY you are choosing this for yourself! Every goal needs a WHY!
Implementing a food diary
A food diary is useful in giving an accurate look at our diets. Food diaries do not need to be fancy. Simply recording approximate amounts of food eaten along with your feelings is enough.
Lots of apps out there make it easy to do this. You can also just use a notebook and pen if you are old-fashioned and know how to write. You could set up a spreadsheet if you enjoy technology. Any way you do it, just do it! 🙂
I’m not going to change my diet over the first week that way the food diary will give me a realistic baseline of what my current diet actually looks like.
What else am I going do?
I’m going to make sure my water intake is at least half of my body weight in ounces. As an example, a 150 pound person should aim for 75 ounces (150/2=75) per day. Click here for tips to increase water consumption.
If you are drinking soda, consider removing it from your diet. All soda, both regular and diet. I understand what a crutch soda is (I grew up drinking nothing but soda, and it took many years to fully give it up!) so I know how hard it is to give it up. Wean yourself slowly if possible.
Tomorrow I’ll chat about mindful eating and how to incorporate it into daily routines.
Before I end the post, I want to mention that healthy eating is a work in process, not an all or nothing or a winning/losing sort of thing.
If you ate an entire bucket of fried chicken, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost all hope or that you’ve failed miserably and deserve to beat yourself up over it for the next week.
It simply means that it is more important than ever to remember why you want to continue with your goal and to hop right back in! Let’s keep our self-talk positive throughout the month.
Thanks again for reading! Let me know your thoughts in the comments!