Healthy Habits to Kick the New Year Off Right!
Before you remind me that I said I didn’t do resolution posts, read until the very end of this post. This isn’t a resolution post- it is a healthy habits post. You would be right though, I do not in fact believe in making resolutions at the beginning of each new year. I don’t. But I DO believe in setting goals. The time of year that you set them is up to you. I have weekly, monthly, quarterly and yes- yearly goals that I set. From personal ones to those that are more business oriented- I am a goal setter. I am also a list maker. I find that when making short, frequent lists and crossing items off when completed, I feel a sense of accomplishment- faster. It is just a little trick I play on myself but it works.
When I worked in special education we were taught that we needed to tell our students that it took 17 tries to make something a habit. I believe that. Being consistent and prepared can help you become successful at forming healthy habits. In my opinion it all starts at the grocery store. Today, I am sharing a few of my healthy habits and how I try, and sometimes fail, to stay on track while shopping at Meijer.
This post is presented in partnership with Meijer. All opinions are my own and shared from my own experiences.
Over the last 7 years I have lost, gained, lost and gained. I have been like a yo-yo and I attribute a lot of that to a change in my work schedule and a few surgeries scattered here and there. I lost my motivation and couldn’t maintain my 165 pound total weight loss because I didn’t lose it all in a way that I could maintain. I can’t maintain 3 hour a day, 7 day a week workouts. I can’t maintain 1200 calories a day as a food writer who has a job that is equal parts sitting and standing. I can’t. But what I CAN do is make small changes, healthy habits, for the better. No gimmicks, no pills, no crazy diets- just moving more and eating less. Read more about my struggle with forming healthy habits HERE.
Here are a few of my go-to healthy habits. You and I may have a lot in common so I hope this helps you to form your own healthy habits, too.
Please share in the comments a few of your tips on forming and maintaining healthy habits!
- It all starts with the shopping: Each week, and sometimes more than once, I plan out what we will be eating and what I need to buy. This sounds pretty simplistic but I sit down and plot out breakfasts, lunches, healthy snacks to keep me from cheating and dinners. I do this in tandem with my schedule because I need to be sure to have things on hand that are easy, portable, healthy and the most important- delicious. Embrace lists.
- Stay on course at the grocery store: You hear- shop from the perimeter. I agree. But I also have to buy things that are sometimes processed, frozen, canned and the like. I am not just shopping for me. I have a family to feed and the rest of my family does not necessarily have the same nutritional requirements that I do. I look for balance- I really, really try to only buy and prepare foods that have low sodium, only good fats, have a balance between grains/meat/dairy/starches and offer color through veggies and fruits. That means we have a lot of green salads, fresh fruit, veggies (fresh and frozen) and soups. Not only are they filling they also help to tastefully fulfill some of our daily required nutrition. Look for great recipes in the produce section of Meijer from Produce for Kids. Here is one of my favorite veggie-packed salads full of healthy stuff that actually tastes good! Farro Chopped Salad
- Plate size: I make sure my cups are big and my plates are small. I have a large Tervis cup and if I fill that 4 times in one day with water I far exceed my daily amount that I need to feel good and stay hydrated. It’s not as hard as you think. Also, I use a smaller plate than the rest of my family. That does trick you a bit.
- Hydration: I bring a filled water bottle and a snack/meal replacement bar with me everywhere I go. My sons do the same thing. That way we are not caught hungry and hitting the drive-thru. Or worse. Starbucks. That place is a money and calorie pit for my sons and I. Invest in a good, reusable water bottle.
- Don’t be afraid to drink your meal: I am not a supplement person. At all. They just don’t appeal to me. BUT- on many mornings I have to be in a studio at the crack of dawn, or I am traveling. I keep a few cold bottles of a meal replacement or protein drink in the house for just these mornings. Do I drink them on a daily basis? No. But for me- they are a great way to give me the morning protein I need and keep from mindlessly eating while I am prepping food for a segment. If I have a bit more time I make a quick smoothie in my Magic Bullet (I love this thing) and drink it on the way to my destination.
- I take a multi-vitamin: I know that vitamins and the like can sometimes be a waste, but I have taken a multi-vitamin every day for all of my adult life. I like the extra insurance. I also take a hair and nail supplemental chew. I have thin hair and brittle nails. These help me take care of them from the inside out. I also use a good brush and non-damaging hair ties. Look for this Goody brush and hair accessories at Meijer. I would also suggest you check in with your doctor before starting any new lifestyle change like this. Have a check up. Take care of you!
- Face forward: I really think that it is important to wash your face in the morning (whether at the sink or in the shower) and before you go to bed. Not only to start and end the day free of a greasy/germy/dirty face, but to also be sure you aren’t going to sleep with make-up on. That’s not good for your face and it’s not good for your eyes. I use a simple Cetaphil soap at night and Aveeno Positively Radiant in the morning. Both can be found at your local Meijer. I can’t not overstate the importance of taking care of your skin, hair and nails. Good old fashioned lotion and a good scrubbing can do wonders!
- Start moving: It sounds so easy but I will be honest with you- It’s not. Do what feels right to you. I like the elliptical so I use that. I like free weights- so I have a little routine I do. Legs one day, arms or core another. I don’t love anything that requires me to be on the floor. I will get there someday. I really am a fan of resistance bands. All of these things can be found at Meijer and right now are on a great sale. I didn’t want to invest a lot in weights so I bought 3 sets of a variety of sizes. I have had these for 10 years. If you are a walker- then find a partner, a podcast, a book on CD- and walk. Find a way to occupy your mind. I like to watch episodes of television shows while I am on the elliptical. It makes it go by faster and takes my mind off of what I am doing. I bought a Fitbit and that has really helped me. I just know that to be successful I have to do some kind of exercise daily whether it is yoga, the elliptical, walking, or anything that gets my hear rate up and breaks a sweat. Even in a hotel room. It can be done.
- Join a group: I don’t necessarily mean find a group in your community, but these days you can find all kinds of accountability groups online through Weight Watchers or even Facebook. I recently joined one that was started by my friend Jeanette who has been on her own fitness journey. She has had great success making small goals to work out consistently 10 days at a time. I have been so proud of her progress. Read more about it here on her site FencerowToFencerow.com. Jeanette will be the first to tell you that it is really important, when forming new healthy habits, to have someone who holds you accountable. Whether it is your sister, spouse, friend or co-worker. There is comfort in numbers. I also try to avoid people or situations where I don’t feel supported, feel tempted to eat ALL of the food or places that divert me from my healthy habits.
- Lastly, do what makes you feel good: If that is getting more sleep- do it. If it is eliminating soda or alcohol- do it. There is no one size fits all, magic pill. My lord I wish there was. But you are stronger than you think you are and chances are there is someone in your life struggling just like you are. Find that common bond, support each other and do what you can to feel better and form healthy habits you can live with. Challenge yourself. Push your comfort zone. I am struggling to do this every day but I know that I will.
I have a goal to lose 100 pounds by the time I turn 40 in September.
I willingly admit that I will be disappointed if I cannot do this. I have exactly 9 months to get it done.
Please follow along to see if I can do it! It all starts with healthy habits!