Meats, wines, desserts, cheeses, and Christmas tree ornaments that look like they’re sprinkled with sugar.
How about the fact that you haven’t exercised in weeks and expressions like, “Well, it’s the holidays,” and “I knew I bought sweatpants for a reason” have become default sentences whenever you open your mouth.
Well, un/fortunately, that time has passed.
2015 is all about goals, commitments, and behaviors that look almost nothing like anything you’ve done for the last month. So while Christmas may be over, there’s still one gift to be given: the healthiest version of you that you’ve ever seen.
Here are some tips on how to make that happen…
Adopt and Master a New Exercise That You Find Particularly Uncomfortable
Think of it this way: if you just keep doing the same stuff you always do, little difference will be made. If you want to make a change, you need to change things up. This article is about getting in the best shape of your life, not plateauing into a game of ‘good enough’. Maybe it’s jump-squats, maybe it’s chin-ups, maybe it’s burpies, maybe it’s the stairmaster, or maybe it’s cycling (or just crying in a corner?). Pick something new, do it until you hate it and then keep doing it until you love it. Good things will happen.
Cut Down and Cap Your Coffee Intake
Nobody said this was going to be easy. If you want to start turning your body into a machine, you need to stop feeding it the fuels that essentially amount to cheating. Trust us; you only think you need a bean-boost. The most effective replacement tends to be the naturally occurring sugars in fruit but ideally, when you’re fading, you can chug a cold glass of water, stretch your legs, smack yourself across the face and get yourself into gear. This is a tough one, so don’t just take a blind swing; make a strategy and stick to it no matter how close they are to finally spelling your name right at Starbucks.
Start Buying Organic for Something You Eat Regularly
We know how expensive it can be to shop all organic, especially if you’ve never been down that path before. But eating cleaner food makes a difference, so start small; asparagus, frozen berries, frozen fish, granola, yogurt, cheese, or spinach. It might require going to a different grocery store, but if you’re going to incur a cost for your food we’re pretty sure it should be on time and gas rather than your health. Start with one item and then slowly start swapping it all. Believe us; it’s not that crazy if you spend some time sniffing out the deals, and when you see how much an organic chicken breast costs, everything else will seem like a firesale.
Go to More Exercise “Classes”
We know this is sometimes a tough one for men, but it’s a must-do. No matter how hard you think you’re exercising while you’re roaming the gym solo, taking three minute breaks between squat sets after 20 minutes of mildly uncomfortable cardio, it’s probably a stroll in the candy store compared to how hard a good instructor and a crowded room will make you exercise in an organized class. If there’s any time to maximize motivation and avoid the opportunity to cut corners, it’s now.
Invest in a “Greens” Supplement
You’re busy. You’re not always going to have time and opportunity every day to get in all the nutrients, probiotics, and immune-supporters your body should be ingesting through regular meals and snacks. So one easy thing you can do is purchase a product like Garden of Life’s Perfect Food, Greens+ Superfood, or Amazing Grass Green SuperFood (there are plenty of others) and every morning, mix it with some juice or add it to your existing smoothie recipe. A lot of busy people never get this stuff into their system and then wonder why they get four-day hangovers or the sniffles after a long work week. Treat your body to a serious boost and get working on that green thumb.
Work Out in the Mornings
We don’t want to hear it. If you’re “not a morning person,” it’s probably ‘cause you just don’t want to be one…or you’re a bartender. Well suck it up. For those of you that have to be at the office before 8am, this is serious struggle. But for everyone else, this is just called “getting up earlier” and it’s how you really start to turn things around. Not only does it put your body into a heathier, more efficient rhythm, but it ensures that you don’t miss workouts because of after-work obligations and movie dates. If you’re not willing to try this, you need to ask yourself how much you genuinely care about getting in the best shape of your life. For a few weeks it’s going to feel like torture, but if you stick with it and you couple this up with a few of the other suggestions here, you will literally become a different, better person. Not to mention the emotional relief you’ll achieve avoiding the after-work gym crowd.
Steam Your Vegetables
When you do get around to eating your vegetables (and we’re not just talking about a barely nutritious iceberg lettuce salad), don’t nuke the nutritional value by frying them in oil, drowning them in some kind of sauce, or mixing them with bacon bits. Sometimes being healthy isn’t exciting for your taste buds; this is just reality. The closer to raw your veggies are, the better they are for you. So start embracing your veggies ‘au naturale’.
Kill Fast Food Entirely
Period. That goes for everything from pizzas and burgers, to hotdogs and subs. Between the processed ingredients, the high carb content, and the sodium, you are literally counteracting days of healthy living when you eat this trash. And yes, McNuggets count as trash. If you’re going to cheat, cheat smarter. Do it with some high quality chocolate, gourmet Neapolitan pizza, some gelato, or even some 7-layer dip. The tough part is obviously the late-night accessibility, but if you can, try to plan that out in advance by making your own stuff and leaving it in the fridge for the weekend. This is a big one; if you can block this stuff out entirely, you’ll be well on your way to all kinds of healthy.
Don’t Worry About What Anyone Else is Doing or Saying
This is your thing, not theirs. Unless you’re talking to a nutritionist, you just stick to your plan and the facts you find from credible sources. Use this article as a starting point and then do your own snooping. Everyone has their own take on what “healthy” means, and a lot of the time, it’s wrong. So dive in, read up, and stay strong. Input and influence is bound to arise, but just remember that this is your show and without the proper credentials, nobody should be allowed backstage.
Cover image from: istock.com