Well, that's a wrap! 2017 was one for the books as it brought me many changes- a new job, new city, new friends, and so many new experiences that I count my blessings every day for. As I leave 2017 behind and start fresh in 2018, it's time to start thinking about what I want to set as my new year's resolution. As many others are doing the same, gyms are packed to capacity, people are aimlessly browsing grocery stores for healthier options, and everyone is hopeful for success in 2018. Maybe you're one of these people, or maybe you've given up on resolutions, wondering if they even work. We all reach our goals differently, and maybe a realistic resolution is the kick-start you need to achieve a happy, healthy 2018.
According to The Nielson Company, the top 3 New Year's resolutions are: Stay fit (not skinny ;)) and healthy, lose weight, and enjoy life to the fullest. Yet according to Forbes, only 8% of people follow through with their resolution. New year's resolutions can be quite difficult to accomplish when they aren't specific and/or when you don't have a plan. While these top 3 resolutions are popular for a reason (who doesn't want to achieve all 3?), they lack specificity, which leads to only 8% of people following through.
To help raise that percentage, here are some realistic resolutions I have crafted up that can hopefully raise that 8%:
#1: Make it to the gym on Fridays
Or Sundays- whichever day is the hardest for you to get there. For me, my weekend typically starts at 5pm on Fridays as I meet my friends for happy hour. This then causes a 3-day weekend break of working out. This can throw off your routine in the long run only allowing you to workout 16x per month as opposed to 20x per month. To make it easier, set out your workout clothes Thursday night, wake up an hour early on Friday and get movin'. I promise you won't regret it!
#2: Give up sweets for a month
I still credit my initial weight loss to giving up sweets during lent because boy, does it work. Instead of reaching for that brownie, have blueberries dusted with unsweetened with cocoa powder or apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon. At first, your fruit substitution won't taste as sweet as that sugary brownie, but the more you reach for the bowl of fruit, the more you are training your taste buds to recognize natural sugars as opposed to refined sugars. According to Rebecca Boulton, a nutritional therapist who specializes in hormonal health and sugar cravings, "Sugar spikes your blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as disrupting your neurotransmitters in the brain, which increases fat storage. Eating more protein, fiber, fruit, and vegetables increases your metabolism, and your body burns it off more efficiently. It really isn’t just about the calories but about the quality of foods you eat and the way your body processes them." You'll be surprised what your body is capable of without those sugary sweets.
#3: Drink the recommended amount of water every day
So how much water exactly should you drink per day? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day. Hydration has many benefits such as maintaining healthy body weight, combating fatigue, reducing high blood pressure, and more. A lot of the time your brain mistakes hunger for thirst. So next time you're still hungry after your meal, drink a glass of water and see how you feel!
#4: Try new substitutions
Each week, choose an unhealthy food you can't live without and find a replacement. These foods can be condiments, sweets, fatty meats, cheese, etc. The internet can be a wonderful resource while looking for substitutions. There are also great apps on the market for food substitutions that cater to your needs. If you search "food substitutions" in the app store, try out a different one each week until you find the one that works for you. Check out my Sauce Swap blog post for condiment substitutions!
#5: Start new traditions
Typically cap your night off with a glass of cabernet? Swap that out for a flavored sparkling water or even zero-calorie Sparkling Ice. If you're having a hard time making the switch, try drinking your new drink of choice out of a wine glass to get the same feel. If you usually start your morning off with a quick breakfast bar because you're in a rush, set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier and prepare yourself a healthy, hearty meal. Switching things up will keep you motivated to reach your goals!
There you have it- I hope you are all as excited for what's to come in 2018 as much as I am! Don't forget to subscribe if you haven't already by heading over to the "Contact Me" page and joining the mailing list. And keep checking in on the recipes tab; I'm always adding new ones!