I love January and the start of the year for many reasons, but all the “you should be doing this” slogans make me gag. Of course, I get the purpose of resolutions, but I am not a resolution person. Instead, I prefer to be realistic and set encouraging goals. Refusing to buy into the often forceful, ridiculously over-the-top, unattainable, and make-you-feel-guilty aspirations we all are exposed to. That is the name of my game.
I will not push ideals down your throat, but vow to provide you with simple, and most importantly, flexible suggestions. How is that for a change of pace? Let’s review tips and tricks for setting your clean eating and fitness focus for the new year.
Photo by: Bruno Nascimento
Wellness Roundup: Clean Eating and Fitness Focus
Changing our eating habits can be a huge undertaking. It is largely mental and feels like it requires more effort and motivation than implementing a fitness routine. The great news is that it is possible, and the benefits are life changing.
Mainstream media is finally catching on that food is medicine, and should be treated as such. Thus, food is not only sustenance but helps our body perform at its best. When our body is healthy, it has the power to fight and prevent disease.
Instead of getting overwhelmed and lost in all the clean eating options, let’s break it down into a few basic principles.
Clean Eating Basics
- Eliminate processed and packaged foods. This will cut out preservatives, additives, and other fake, unhealthy ingredients that lead to inflammation and other modern diseases.
- Choose real foods. As you can guess, this translates to fruit, vegetables, and proteins in their natural state. This ensures you receive the most nutrients and vitamins from your food.
- In order to get the freshest and most nutrient dense items, shop seasonal and local foods.
- Avoid added sugar. Diabetes is an epidemic and has been linked to sugar consumption. Not only that but experts are coming forward and taking a stance that sugar is killing us.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol, and increase water intake. No need to remove them completely, but aim for 1-2 cups or glasses a day at most.
- Work to strike balance. When you first get started, try to avoid getting hung up on counting calories or worrying about ratios. Aim only to clean up your food intake, embrace cooking at home, and get comfortable with your new healthy lifestyle.
Clean Eating Modifications
Once you have these key elements down, you can begin making adjustments and fine tuning a lifestyle that suits you. There are tons of variations for everyone, and some our favorites are as follows:
- To learn more about the Paleo lifestyle and determine if it is right for you, jump over to our Paleo Basics post. Here we share loads of information about what Paleo really means, how to customize it, and share our arsenal of Paleo resources.
- For Vegetarians and/or Vegans, Nutrition Stripped and Oh She Glows are awesome sites for plant-based diets. They offer strategies, meal plans, and recipes.
Fitness is always a huge focus in the new year. Gyms are flooded with new members, people commit to a routine, and exercise is advertised and discussed everywhere you turn.
What is most difficult about adopting a routine, or trying to conform to what society suggests is necessary, is that everyone is different. What works for me may not necessarily work for you. We are all very different people with very different needs. Which means, we need fitness resources with numerous options.
4 Tips to Focus on Fitness This Year
- First, find what motivates you. We all workout for a personal reason, whether it be for better health, to get fit, or to lose weight. Whatever that reason may be, it will fuel you and help you reach your goals. This comprehensive resource sharing motivation tips from over 100 experts is a great place to start.
- Next, determine what works best for you. Maybe you love HIT workouts, or maybe you have an injury and need low impact exercises. Keep your limits and physical needs in mind, then build a plan around them. Also, understand that every one-size-fits-all program can easily be customized. Don’t force yourself into a mold.
- Nearly all experts recommend building and following a program for the best success. If you don’t have a plan, it is less likely you will stick to a regimen.
- Make fitness a habit. Experts still insist it takes 21 days to form one. But how do you get past the initial hump? Understand the importance of positive reinforcement.
How and Where to Workout
- The benefit of gyms being flooded this time of year is that the owners know this, and offer additional group classes. You have the opportunity to try out dozens of classes until you find one that fits your style and preferences.
- If you don’t have a gym membership, or are limited on time, you can take advantage of at-home workouts. Rent a few books or DVD’s from the library, get a feel for what you like, then purchase a collection or program to follow.
- In today’s digital age there are also online fitness sites. Nike Training Club has a great free app, gaia provides tons of Yoga and Pilates videos, Beach Body has videos and routines, and there are dozens of other streaming workout options.
We hope you enjoyed this refreshing new take on getting healthy in the new year.
What are your 2017 goals and aspirations? Are you looking to get healthier this year? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, or join the discussion on Facebook.
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