the most wonderful time of the year: get healthy!

No, this post isn’t about Christmas.

For me, the most wonderful time of the year starts on December 31st and lasts for about 2 weeks. Like most people, I feel refreshed, re-energized and like I can conquer the world. And again, like most, it is an excellent time to focus on how to get healthy (and stay that way!)

Many people attempt resolutions (or intentions, goals, etc.) and I’m no different. One difference this year, though, is that I already started a few resolutions a couple weeks ago! I’ve hopped on the wellness train and I’ve been chugging along, learning and adapting as needed, so I wanted to share a few things I’ve discovered. Hopefully some of these tidbits are things you can relate to in some way, whether its your eating habits, lifestyle habits or what have you.

a modern agenda - get healthy

Things I Learned When I Boarded The Healthy Train:

  • Salads for lunch don’t work for me. No matter how much other fun stuff I throw on my salad, it just never keeps me full all day. I work in an office, I (now) have some type of breakfast each day so by the time lunch rolls around, I need it to get me through the afternoon slump, an inevitable pit-stop somewhere on my way home from work and at least a small walk around the block with my dog. Man, I do love a good salad, though, so I have my salad while I’m making dinner and treat it like an appetizer. It helps me add veggies to my daily intake and it helps curb overeating when I finally sit down to dinner.
  • I really, really love coffee. And I’m not willing to give up a good cup of coffee in the morning. It’s like a hug that makes me feel like today is going to be okay. I’m fortunate that I don’t have any strong reactions to dairy, so I’ve continued to use my whole milk as creamer. I do stick to (roughly) 2 tbsp. of whole milk, though. Oh! I don’t pretend a “cup” is only one of my travel mugs… that’s actually 2.25 cups of coffee each day, so I need to remember that when I track my caffeine intake. Some days I like it sweet, and some days I don’t, so I just go with the flow on the sugar/stevia/maple syrup part. (Seriously, though, go put some maple syrup in your coffee and thank me later!)
  • My downfall is savory foods, not sweets. I love salty foods. I mean, my grandmother carries a salt shaker in her purse. I’ll take a plate of greasy, salty french fries over the best piece of chocolate any day. I’ve always loved salty foods, which is great when you want to freely snack on cheese plates for the rest of your life, but not realistic for long-term health. I do modify my worst-for-me savory foods to help curb cravings. I also noticed I was getting a bit obsessive about things, like being unable to turn down a slice of pizza, no matter who made it. Apparently, this also happens to people who love sweets. I try to find the savory foods that work for me instead and embrace how delicious they are, like guacamole, a few olives, braised mushrooms and a dash of soy sauce here and there.
  • What works for most people doesn’t work for me… and that’s okay! I think the most important part of instilling any lifestyle changes is to find what work the best for you and that goes for both your resolutions and your end game. Use others as a source of inspiration, but don’t blindly follow. There are plenty of people who can easily replace pasta with spaghetti squash. Not me. I hate spaghetti squash, but when I come across a recipe that sounds great and uses an ingredient that I just can’t deal with, I modify. The best part of this whole process has been learning what works, what doesn’t, where I can improve and where I’m already doing great.

What works for you when you’re trying to reach your goals? Do you track your progress a specific way or do things like avoid meal planning altogether? Let me know in the comments below!

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why I’m drinking an excessive amount of water everyday

I’ve always been a soda girl. It is my one true weakness. There’s something about the bubbles and sweetness that I have a hard time quitting. It wasn’t until I hit 30 and noticed the toll my poor habits had taken on my skin that I started switching to other beverages. I started drinking coffee in the morning, to give me a caffeine boost, and filling my afternoon with iced tea, both sweetened and unsweetened. I wanted to give myself something with flavor. The reality is… I hate drinking water.

Every website will blather on about the benefits of water. There’s no doubt that it’s great for you, but I have a hard time drinking something so plain. I’ve often said that water just tastes like the inside of your mouth, and frankly, if you’ve just eaten a burrito bowl, the last thing you want to drink is burrito bowl flavored water.

So, I decided to challenge myself. I’d keep the cup of coffee in the morning (I do love coffee so, so much and I consider it my treat every day), but I’d chug water all day while at work. I would let myself have something with a bit of flavor, like unsweetened iced tea or green tea, in the evening with dinner, but water was the number one priority. After roughly a month, what did I learn?

I got bloated, really quick. And then, I wasn’t bloated anymore.

  • The increase in water, considering I rarely drank plain water by itself, made me incredibly bloated for about a week. My pants were uncomfortable and then one day, I wasn’t bloated anymore. I woke up, my pants didn’t dig into my stomach and my mid-section even looked flatter.

My skin felt incredible.

  • Honestly? This is what I was going for with this little challenge. I’ve always been prone to dry skin. Not only did my skin feel more plump, but I also noticed that the dark circles under my eyes were starting to fade. They’re still there, but not nearly as noticeable.

I started eating less.

  • I’m a snack-er to the core. I love snacks and would rather eat small snacks all day instead of 3 basic meals. With my increase in water, I was snacking less throughout the day and was eating significantly smaller portions at mealtimes, instead of habitually cleaning my plate.

I wanted more water.

  • I seriously cannot drink enough water. Now I crave it. It is a chore sometimes, having to lug around a bottle of water, and I’m still a bit of a water snob (it has to be ice cold, at all times), but I would wake up each morning and want to drink more water. I would crave a big glass before bedtime. If I didn’t drink enough that day, I would notice immediately.

There are undeniable benefits of drinking water that should be enough motivation, but sometimes it just isn’t. Seeing the actual changes in my lifestyle really helped me see the big picture. You can read articles all day, but actually applying those principles to your life can be difficult. I challenge you to drink more water each day (and cut out all the other beverages) and tell me what changes you’ve noticed!

 

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