By Christa Brown, MS, RDN
Every time the holiday’s, summertime, or a special event comes around the corner we either think, “oh, I will start that after (*insert your indulgence event*) or I must look good and have to go on a diet for (*insert event that you have to lose weight for*)
However, I have a question for you. Why not create small habits now? My clients always tell me that they just need a roadmap to optimize their nutrition plan. Many times they are intimidated because they don’t know where to start. Therefore, I wanted to provide some inspiration so that you can start your wellness journey now with small, manageable changes that will lead into long-term success.
What you want to do next is select 3-5 health and wellness related activities per week that you want to purposefully accomplish. All you need to do is just plan at the beginning of each month, and set aside 15-minutes for your wellness activity. Then use the following month-long plan to get you started.
First, you’ll get the best health results when you find yourself an accountability partner. Secondly, write down your goals and commit to them. Just make sure they are realistic and that you’ll be a number 8 on the confidence scale in attaining them.
Are you also looking for a group of wellness partners to help you reach your nutrition goals? Find a local group or even a friend to help hold you accountable to your goals. You can even join my The Diet Overhaul Facebook community where I’ve already got a group of people ready to encourage you!
Now, you’ve got everything you need for these small habits to grow into big and better outcomes. This is one example of how a sustainable wellness program that can go beyond ! Need a little guidance on what each day could entail?
Planning for Wellness and Nutrition Success (Day 1-3)
Do you notice your grocery list is completely organized and logical when you set time aside to find recipes, assess what you have at home and wrote up your list? The same happens when you plan time for you to set time aside for yourself. Here I go into greater detail of how you can organize time to focus on your nutrition and wellness as well as everything else you’ve got to do. There are six-pillars to planning, and it is one of the most common steps missed in any nutrition plan. When we purpose to set time aside for everything we need to do we have a better chance of getting what we need to done. I use my daily planner to help me organize what I need to do, and even use block scheduling along with color-coded post it notes to keep me on track.
Mindfully Eating (Days 4-7)
When you eat your meals are rushing through them? And going for double portions? This is where I like using the hunger scale to help measure where you are before, during and after your meal so that you can stay in tune to your hunger, which you can see a video of here in my facebook group under Unit 3. Katheryn Kastner, RD says that we “should honor our hunger by eating when we are in fact hungry! Which is contrary to what we typically do and that’s waiting until a set mealtime leaving us very hungry with the possibility of overeating.”
In addition to being in tune with your hunger, Registered Dietitian Colleen Christensen, RD recommends that you ask yourself, “How does this food taste?” When we enjoy the experience and make it as memorable as possible we slow down and simply enjoy!
Try New Foods (Days 8-12)
Get colorful with your plate. We as humans like to stay in our comfort zone when it comes to new foods especially when it comes to your fruits and vegetables. I like encouraging my clients to have fun with it and include the family to focus on a specific color. When you include more vegetables in your diet you get more vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Plus, a recent study showed that those who focused on this missed food group had greater weight loss and body fat reduction. Get festive this season and try a new dish like what Registered Dietitian Christie Gagnon, RD at Hoorah Health cooked up Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts. “It’s a colorful side dish and perfect for any family feast.
Protein Rich Snack (Days 13-18)
Protein not only builds up your muscles but it also keeps you fuller longer. For those where blood sugar is a concern, it actually helps to regulate it better. Preventing spikes that leave feeling sluggish and tired. When the middle of the day hits and you’re feeling slightly hungry go for a snack that contains protein so that you’re not ravenously hungry for dinner. Registered Dietitian Colleen Christensen, RD recommends greek yogurt because it’s versatile and easy on the go.
Beverages [and not just water!] (Days 19-25)
Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you to drink more water. The reason is because there are many other ways to reach your hydration goals. You can do the good ol’ citrus water with a splash of lemon or lime. There is seltzer or sparkling water, especially if you just want a little fizz. You can even run to your favorite veggie and fruit because they are mostly made of water. The highest so far is watermelon which is made up of 92% water! Don’t like them all alone, find your favorite dip like peppers and hummus or peanut butter and apple slices to make it more fun. Even making yourself a Berry Smoothie is helping you to meet your hydration needs.
Just a little tip, even though it’s not hot out and December isn’t known as the month to be thirsty. When it starts to get colder we feel as if we don’t sweat a lot and don’t need to drink anything. Did you know that when it starts to get chilly out our thirst response is 𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒖𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒅𝒊𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒅 𝒖𝒑 𝒕𝒐 40% and our urine production is increased in the cold! [who knew?!]. Also, with the colder weather you lose more fluids when you exhale. As a gauge drink half your body weight in ounces to ensure you’re properly staying hydrated this winter.
Movement for Digestion and Stress Relief (Days 26-28)
Did you know that a little movement can help to alleviate digestive discomfort? When you sit for greater than two hours at a time consider doing a mid day stretch or going for a 30 minute walk. Not only does it help to strengthen your muscles and get the blood flowing but it also helps to reduce your stress levels. Research suggests that the more breaks you take the more efficient you are at your work because of all the new oxygen that is being delivered to your brain. Not to mention reducing the amount of stress hormones that are being released from your brain that just wreck havoc in your small intestines.
Eat Yourself a Good Breakfast (Days 29-30)
Yes, I’m sure you heard it enough already that you’re breaking the fast and it’s important to do that with having something to eat in the morning. However, do you notice that you think better and actually snack less throughout the day? That’s because you’re just plain feeding yourself. You’r body needs a little something after 10+ hours of not eating anything. Even if you’re not hungry, grab something small and light like a smoothie or protein rich granola bar. so need a little inspiration? Here are some of the top 10 Best Healthy Breakfast Foods to Eat to help you with your grocery shopping.
Celebrate (Day 31)
Last but certainly not least, CELEBRATE. You put in all this hard work No matter how small the goal, you must celebrate it. This is the best part! Because when you do the planning, dedication, hard work and persist forward, it deserves a celebration! So go ahead, enjoy it.
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