To celebrate 1/11/11 I was inspired by a fellow blogger’s entry, 11 Random Things and set out to create a list of my own. Since New Year’s is the time of resolutions, I thought I would share 11 healthy habits that can make a difference in your everyday life.
#1 Workout whenever, wherever. Do you need a gym membership to get healthy and fit? Not really. Instead, just work at keeping fit into little moments of your day. Stirring the pot making dinner? Do some squats – just be careful! Don’t spill something or let dinner burn. Taking the dogs out? Sounds like time for a few lunges or deep bends. I purposely break trips up and down the stairs into smaller loads just to make more trips. Little things like that add up! And don’t get me started on how much working out you can get done just watching tv!
#2 Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Waiting until your skin looks like the Sahara desert is not when you need it – it’s an every day, all day kind of affair. Especially in the winter. Your skin will thank you later. And try and find a facial moisturizer with some spf in it to make sure you don’t forget to really protect your skin. One of the best moisturizers I’ve found for the body is super affordable and works great – Suave with Cocoa Butter or if I’m feeling a little more extravagant, Bath and Body Works Cashmere is wonderful stuff! For my face my favorite is Aveeno Positively Radiant and I love it!
#3 Eat more whole foods. You don’t need to give up every processed food in the pantry, but start replacing things that won’t be as missed. Not overly faithful to your morning breakfast cereal? Give good old oatmeal a second chance! Even if you don’t go all the way to steel cut oats and eat rolled oats, it’s a healthy, one ingredient meal that your body will be thankful for. Instead of buying boxed meals that you add this or that to, look up a recipe online for the same item and make it at home. Chances are it won’t be that many extra steps and it will be fresher and healthier. When I’m tired and think that I would rather not make dinner or that I don’t have time, I’m always amazed at how, once I just suck it up and do it, it comes together quickly and I’m sitting down with my family eating a healthy meal that is less expensive and was faster than I could have ordered in for.
#4 Give up soda. I know, I know. I was there. A true soda addict. And, every so often, a migraine or a bad day will send me (or my hubby or even once, a very wonderful daycare parent) to the store for a big ol’ Coke Zero but I know it’s not good for me. At all. Even diet. I’m being completely serious when I tell you that giving up diet soda and picking up water instead will help you lose weight as well as make your skin look better and make your bones stronger. It’s really true.
#5 Stop Stressing. Yeah, easy for me to say – much, much harder for me to do. I am a worrier by nature. I worry about EVERYTHING and it’s not an exaggeration. I worry about things that have no impact on me, my life or even people I know. I just am a worrier. But I’m getting there…slowly, very slowly. When worry or stress pops up in my life now, I try to shove it right into perspective. This is what helps me: I ask myself, “Does this affect me?” No? Moving along then. If yes, “Does it affect me right now?” No? Moving along then but maybe I’ll jot a quick note if it’s something I need to remember. If yes, “Can I do anything about it?” No? Then, let it be. Don’t let it take another second of your thoughts. If yes, then I ask myself, “what can I do?” And I do it. Or, I go back to the question before, jot a note and move on. Life is too short and there will always be something to worry about. Try not to let stress and worry rob you of the joy of living in the moment…which brings me to #6….
#6 Live each day -don’t put off learning something new or trying a new food or calling a friend or whatever you’re putting off because of “I just need to do (insert your catch phrase here) first.” Life will not wait for your to-do list to be complete, it’s happening out there every day. Get caught up in, enjoy it. Live it.
#7 Get out into nature! One of my favorite places to go is Rocky Ridge County Park here in York county. It’s a huge forested park with trails and my husband and I spend a lot of time in all the seasons there. We bike, hike, run and walk there and it never gets old. Last weekend, I was feeling cooped up and we headed out to the trails to do a little running/walking in the snow. How can you not feel in awe of nature while running through fresh snow with little snowflakes falling all around you? Wherever you are, find somewhere that inspires that sense of wonder within you. No matter what’s happening in your life, a place like that just smooths those rough edges.
#8 Don’t make resolutions, make changes. I tell my husband this all the time! If you think of this new eating plan as a “diet” it means that at some point you’re going to go back to the old way of doing things once you lose weight, fit those clothes, whatever. How does that work? Give it some time and you’ll be right back where you started and getting ready to embark on a new diet. But if you change your eating and fitness habits slowly and create a new way of thinking in the process, you’ve make a new life for yourself that will be harder to undo and fall back on. And if you go out to eat and really over eat on a diet, you’ve blown it and the motivation to keep eating that way is gone because “what does it matter?” But if you’re just changing your eating, it’s not big deal, it’s just a day and tomorrow you’ll be back to your usual way of eating. Huge difference!
#9 Find the joy in your life and honor it. For me, joy is found in the strange things that make me happy like Black Friday shopping at Tanger Outlets in Lancaster…people may not understand the joy that is found in wandering around in the middle of the night shopping after a full day of cooking and eating but it’s my joy. And I don’t let it bother me that people don’t understand. It’s my way of finding joy, not theirs and that’s okay.
#10 Listen to your body. So many clues are sent out by our body that it really does know what it wants and needs. Hunger, thirst, all of the essential functions are all cues from the body. We’d all be healthier if we really took the time to see what we needed rather than eating foods or skipping sleep that our body really needed or was craving. Denying your body isn’t like filing a paper away. It’s more like stealing minutes away from the timer on a bomb. Eventually you will be out of time to steal and it will explode. No time left to put it off then. And, no, I’m not saying that eating a bag of chocolate is okay because your body craved it because then you’ll probably not feel well either but I am saying a chocolate bar when you’re really craving it is perfectly okay.
#11 Make up your own healthy habit here! What do you need? What do you want? What will make you feel more at peace, at ease, whatever it is you need? We all need to give ourselves permission to say “I need…” or “I want…” and ask for it. So, I’m giving you permission.
Happy 2011 everyone! Make it a healthy start to the rest of your life!