The holidays are over and as you look back at the past few weeks you think, “Oy! It’s time to leave the debaucheries behind and start fresh.” You may also have some new resolutions to put into action, but before you do any of that, I suggest you get started with a few simple ideas to live by. Take these first two weeks of the year to think about these tips and how you can use them and make them work and then, slowly begin to apply them.
1) Cleanse fridge, pantry, and gym bag
If you have any holiday treats remaining that you can’t resist, get rid of them! Take them to work, co-workers love treats and gobble them faster than you can his send on the “treats in the kitchen” email. The same goes for other tempting foods in your fridge, freezer, pantry, desk drawer, etc. The best way to avoid unhealthy snacks is to not stock any.
Clean out your gym bag of anything lingering in the deep dark corners and pockets. If you are lucky, you may come across some money you stashed and forgot about. If you’re unlucky, a flattened, half eaten granola bar without a wrapper. Get rid of any clutter you’ve been carrying around that you never use; why have the extra weight? Turn it inside out to air it out. Wash it if you can.
Re-visit the above regularly to keep clean.
Drink water, all day, all the time. Keep a reusable bottle in your gym bag, at your desk, on your bedside table. Buy a new bottle or pretty glass just for your water. Do whatever makes it easy to always have water at arm’s length and make sure you actually drink it by creating little water drinking games such as drink five sips every time you stand up.
3) Walk daily
It’s the easiest, cheapest and most accessible thing you can do anywhere to stay active. If you can walk thirty minutes a day, you are golden! You can do it all at once or split it into smaller segments, either way, you will reap the benefits.
4) Eat smart
Eat nutritious foods. Choose clean, whole foods over processed food. Choose good carbohydrates (non-refined) and good fats (omega-3 fatty acids, non-saturated). Check food labels for high fibre, low sugar and low sodium. Listen to your body to recognize when you are truly hungry and when you’ve eaten just enough. Prepare snacks and plan meals ahead to avoid visits to the vending machine or take-out meals. Keep in mind that exercising while maintaining a balanced diet is remarkably more effective than either of the two alone.
5) Exercise vigorously
Although any moderate intensity activity performed on a regular basis is good. Adding some high intensity work to your routine is great. Try to push your limits and work outside your comfort zone a two to three times a week. Incorporating short, powerful bursts to your program will rev up your metabolism. It’s as simple as adding a few 60-second sprints to your walk, one every five minutes, a couple of times a week. A small change that won’t affect your workout time, will greatly improve your overall fitness and health.
I’ll say it again: one step at a time. There’s no immediate rush and no pressure to change everything overnight. The process is more pleasant taken slowly and the changes are much more likely to stick than suddenly living by a new set of unrealistic rule that will only break under pressure.
Katya Mohsen is a personal trainer with more than 10 years of experience in fitness and sports training. Catch her practical fitness advice Thursdays on Slice.ca.
Image credit: Steve West