Race is on…to be the first person who fails at their diet, or to let their gym membership lapse. The beginning of the year marks a time for resolutions to be broken and promises of better health to be broken by cheeseburgers snuck on the way home.
It may sound negative, but it’s the truth. And sometimes the truth is hard to swallow. So how do you beat the winter blahs and keep up with that promise of a healthy diet and regular exercise? Well, don’t start in the first place. If you’re contemplating starting a diet that’s named after a beach, turns you into a watcher or one that forces you to give up a whole food group, don’t even start.
Make the commitment to begin eating healthy. But what does that mean?
- Celebrate the wonders of color! Strive to include lots of colorful and flavorful vegetables in each of your meals. For breakfast that might mean mixing in a medley of peppers and spinach into your normal omelet or scrambled eggs.
- Walk to your next meal- Make it a point to get out and walk during your lunch hour. Even if you work in an office environment, take the stairs or walk around the warehouse for about 10 minutes before or after lunch.
- Shop on the outside-Keep to the perimeter of your supermarket, where all the fresh produce, meats and dairy are sold. The more you turn to “whole” foods in your diet the better your chance of success will be in battling the bulge.
In the kitchen you can make simple tweaks to your daily routine that will pay big dividends. Replacing refined sugars with small amounts of honey, agave syrup or maple syrup to cut calories and increase flavor. When sauteing vegetables and meats use small amounts of extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil to cut out the cholesterol and saturated fat.
Winter preparations of meats and vegetables can include long slow braises in natural broths to heighten the flavor of dishes while keeping them low fat. Roasting a whole chicken on Sunday afternoon and then using small amounts of it in lunch and dinner preparations for the next few days is a great way to ensure that you always have a lean meat on hand to turn into a great meal rather than turning to the regular pizza joint in the middle of the week.
There are many ways to keep your commitment to live healthier in the new year. Key to any of them is the effort you make to take small steps. Don’t over commit to a fad diet or completely remove a whole classification of food from your diet in hopes of losing weight. Just concentrate on some of the small steps mentioned above. And remember, you don’t have to live up to the full terms of your New Year’s resolution, you just need to last longer than your co-workers so you can gloat.