We all do it. “I’m going to eat healthier this year.” “I’m going to do clean eating from now on.” “I think I’ll go vegan twice a week and jump on the Meatless Mondays bandwagon” etc. These are all great ideas, but without a clear plan on how you are going to stick to this new lifestyle you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Sometimes our goals are so far from where we currently are that they are somewhat of an unrealistic stretch and we give up before we even really get started. So I am going to share with you, some of the tips that I have used over the years that have helped me with my “New Year, New You” resolutions. They may not be shiny and sparkly, but they have worked for me and maybe a few will work for you.
Resolution 1: “I am going to drink more water”
How I started drinking more water: First, I had vanity as a motivator. May sound shallow but it was the truth. Once upon a time I had horrible skin. I mean really terrible, slightly scary skin. I tried every cream, cleanser on the market and “as seen on TV”. Nothing worked. I finally went to a dermatologist who told me to lay off of the sugary drinks pop (aka soda), fruit juices, sweet drinks, you name it. Second, at the time, I was highly addicted to Dr. Pepper (never Mr. Pibb). Addicted to the tune of 2-3 bottles a day. It was my beverage of choice. So I knew that going cold turkey was not going to work for yours truly. A slow detachment from all sugary drinks is what I need. I decided that the only time I would have something sweet and or carbonated to drink was when I was out to eat. Which meant I wasn’t buying them at home. This was a little tough at first, but eventually I got used to it. When I would go out to dinner, the Dr. Pepper was a nice treat for myself and not an everyday habit. Next, I had to learn to yearn for water. “Water doesn’t taste good to me” is what I would say, until one day someone said, “The first time you tasted alcohol it probably didn’t taste good to you either, but you wanted to see what all of the hype was about.” True. How I hate being wrong! So I had to adjust my thinking and learn to see “what all of the hype was about” with water. I soon realized that the more I drank it, the more I craved it. How crazy is that? Eventually my craving the for the Dr. diminished even when I was out to eat. I started changing my beverage choice from Dr. Pepper to either a fruit juice or a pop (soda) without artificial coloring or caffeine. Then it went to lemonade, then lemon water and now I am Ms. “May I have water with no ice and no lemon please?”
Resolution 2: “I am going to eat healthier”
This is one of my faves. It’s really a trickster and the trick is, What does healthy mean to you? No junk food? (define junk), no fast food? No sweets? No bread? More green vegetables? Less Dairy? No pork? No fried foods? More raw food? Eating breakfast? Early Dinner? Healthy Snacking? Need I keep going? Do you see how this can be confusing? The best way to go about this is to figure out what your biggest challenge is and conquer that first. My first step in a “healthier direction” was realizing that I will eat whatever is on hand. So my biggest challenge was not to bring “unhealthy foods home”…cookies, cakes, Caramel Cookie Crunch Talenti Gelato, etc. If it was in the house, it was going to be eaten and it was going to be eaten by me! I remembered when I decided to stop buying bread. It didn’t dawn on me that for years I was buying bread out of habit. Although I love bread, the kind of bread I love is made fresh daily and has a 1-2 day shelf life. Not the stuff in a long, thin, rectangular plastic package. No shade. I pretty much did that same thing that I did when it came to my Dr. Pepper fixation. Bread was something that was reserved for when I went out to eat. Sometime (rarely LOL), if I know that restaurant serves great bread, I will ask the waiter/waitress not to even bring it to the table. Hey, I know my weaknesses. If you know that you weakness is that when you get hungry, you will eat anything, make a plan to avoid getting hungry. You can carry snacks with you, set meal times, drink a smoothie until you can have a decent meal, or whatever you need to do to offset your triggers.
Resolution 3: “I am going to cook at home more”
Usually this resolution is for a few certain groups of people: 1. Too busy to cook, 2. Don’t know how to cook, 3. Don’t want to cook. If you fall into category number 1, you need to schedule in the following: When you are going to write down what your meal are going to be. (see my weekly meal planner here), when you are going to shop for said meals and when you are going to cook for said meal. It’s an appointment, a very important one. It cannot be rescheduled, keep it. If you are in category number 2, its time to learn like your life depends on it, because it does. To me cooking is an essential life skill everyone needs to have just like brushing your teeth. You don’t have to become a gourmet chef, just like learning to brush your teeth doesn’t mean you have to be a dentist, but you should be able to create something that doesn’t make you and your dog nauseous. Whether it is searching a discount book store for a cookbook that catches your eye, buying penny cookbooks on amazon, watching the cooking channel (not Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen) or taking a local or online cooking class, its time to start experimenting. You may not get it right the first few times, but overtime you will build up a few go to dishes that you can whip up in a pinch. Finally, if you are in category number 3, you might be a chef…just kidding. I fall into this category all the time. I live a life that is about food and sometimes when I come home from a long day of teaching all I want is a bowl of cereal with almond milk or a spicy chicken biscuit from Chik-fil-a. I love cooking for other people and being a single girl, sometime my get up and go, has gotten up and went. So I now consider time cooking for myself, recipe testing and research and development. When I get in my kitchen alone, I remember why I fell in love with it in the first place. If you can’t relate and you still don’t want to cook, think of it as an adult responsibility, like paying bills. And if you don’t pay your bills, then you’ve got bigger fish to fry. Pun intended.
What healthy resolutions have you made for the year? What hacks have you used in the past to make them stick?
To a New Year and New You!