As the season of overindulgence comes to a close, we inevitably look back to reevaluate our habits in the past year, resolving to do better in the new year. When you make resolutions, remember that you don’t have to be a health nut or a fitness fanatic to implement healthy practices. Just take baby steps. Little changes lead to big differences.
Dana James, nutritionist and founder of Food Coach NYC, is the kind of practitioner who gives hope to those of us who struggle to prioritize health over the everyday realities of a chaotic life. As Dana points out, it’s helpful to approach wellness from all angles: mental, physical, and emotional. And by focusing less on weight loss and instead emphasizing small changes that improve overall wellbeing—like taking the time to relax, work out, and cook your own meals—you can lower the pressure that you might feel when resolving to be healthier.
So, what are those small changes? Sadly, one of them involves giving up my SkinnyPop habit. I’m usually curled up in bed with a face mask watching Arrested Development reruns and downing an entire bag of my favorite popcorn.
Here are Dana’s top tips that even the busiest of us can weave into our daily routines and way of thinking, one baby step at a time:
1. Popcorn is not a health food and won’t help you lose weight. Neither do pretzels, 100-calorie packs, or anything that says “diet”.
2. For one day, eat two whole eggs for breakfast with some tomatoes. Notice how you feel at 11am and 3pm.
3. You can’t control the number on the scale. But what you can control are the processes and habits you put in place that lead to weight loss.
4. Take your NY deli salad and empty it into a bowl. Warning: You’ll need a bowl large enough for four (!) people. Scary to think about if you’re eating this five times a week…
5. Identify your challenge period. For one day, change it. It’s much easier than you think, and you’ll feel empowered.
6. Be wary of anything that comes in a box. If a box is covered in health food claims that seem too good to be true (aka high fiber and high-protein cereal), they are.
7. Whatever you’re not doing is going to make the biggest difference. If you’re exercising, it’s your diet. If you’re eating well, it’s lack of exercise. If you’re doing both and not seeing results, it could be metabolic. If you have questions, book a visit with Dana.
8. Don’t underestimate food sensitivity. If your weight goes up or down four pounds in a day—and it’s not PMS—it could likely be a result of a food sensitivity.
9. Commit to doing 15 abdominal crunches every morning for the next five days. It only takes 30 seconds, and we can all spare 30 seconds!
10. Take an omega-3 supplement daily. If it’s not more than $30 for a month’s supply, the quality is likely sub-par. Look for a supplement in a dark bottle that contains 1000mg of EPA/DHA, and not just fish oil. I like DFH’s OmegaAvail Hi-Po for purity, quantity, and price.
Photo via Selena Gomez’s instagram.
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