Weight loss: the number one New Years resolution. Except, only eight percent of people keep their promise.
How freeing would it be to wake up January first and not have to "undo" your entire holiday season? If you could focus on goals that have to do with your career, your family, your personal growth? What if losing weight didn't have to be at the forefront of your mind every single New Years?
This is why September needs to be the new January of health resolutions. End of summer is reportedly the leanest most people are all year long. Meaning, instead of September being a complete overhaul to undo a holiday season's worth of overindulging, it can simply be the beginning of gently keeping your health on track. I've laid out simple tools to help you roll into the New Year energized, strong, and ready to tackle much more important priorities than the scale.
Choose your treat at events: Holiday parties are inevitable. Dessert, alcohol, and tempting spreads of food are invendible. Your job is to choose just one thing at each event. Feel like drinking? Great, have a couple of glasses of champagne. Want dessert? Skip the booze and have something sweet. You don't have to have every single thing offered at every single event and it's important not to pile your plate high just because you can. There will be more great drinks, other desserts, and plenty of cheese platters in your future!
Hydrate: Drink 100 ounces of water every single day, without exception. Start with 20 ounces in the morning, and sip throughout your day.
Schedule your workouts: Every Sunday put your workouts on your calendar. Treat them as non-negotiable meetings with yourself. With colder months looming, this might be the perfect time to trade your outdoor sessions for a new class (hello hot yoga!). Your body will be challenged by the new workout, and you won't have to brave the cold to get your sweat on.
Make leafy greens a priority at every meal: There are many reasons many of us lean out in summer; we're more active, we hydrate more, and we're more likely to reach for fresh fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens are an incredible tool for filling up and they are dense in nutrients. Try to start lunch and dinner with a large green salad (kale, chard, arugula, and spinach are great choices). Squeeze in a smoothie each day with 4-5 cups of leafy greens for bonus points.
Try to also find healthier alternatives for your favorite comfort foods: Grab a few new cookbooks and use this time to build your skills in the kitchen. You can find a bunch of my holiday alternative at The Clean Program (or of course right here)! Things, like swapping cauliflower for potatoes, greek yogurt for sour cream, or even just sneaking veggies into non-veggie dishes, can all help!
Meditate: Or do whatever it is that makes you feel zen. As much as many of us love fall time, it can also bring on a lot of stress. School is starting back up again, gift giving can cause a financial burden, and a busier social life can leave us feeling wrecked. Creating space each day for breath work, yoga, gratitude journaling, or meditation can help keep us calm which is crucial for optimal health.
Treat each meal as a new opportunity: Screw January 1, next Monday, or tomorrow - "fresh starts" don't have to wait. So, you ate a cookie at work even though you promised yourself you wouldn't. It's okay. Enjoy the damn cookie, and move on with your life. There is no reason to tailspin into a day of poor choices because of one moment. That's like going on a shopping spree because you're stressed about money - makes no sense! If you make a choice you're not happy with, use the very next meal as an opportunity to do better.