Last year I wrote a blog about how coming up with a Stop Doing list is an effective way of avoiding those little behaviors that aren’t healthy for you, aren’t helping you, and aren’t a valuable use of your time … but have you ever stepped back and asked yourself: What should I really start doing for my health and fitness? Coming up with a Start Doing List is perfect for this jump start month of January. Start healthy habits and behaviors this month and you can continue them all year long. If you haven’t crafted your START DOING list, I’ve started one for you!
Use your jeans. Pay attention to how your jeans fit this year. If they get snug or you can’t get them on, that’s your little wake-up call that your health and fitness efforts are getting off track. Your jeans can be a more accurate reflection of what you are eating and how much you are exercising than your scale. So pay attention when you slip those jeans on for the day.
Move outside of scheduled exercise. You know I am going to tell you to exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes up to an hour even if you have to break that up into smaller segments throughout your day. But you also shouldn’t plunk down in your chair after a workout and sit on your butt the rest of the day. Get more movement into your day in addition to your regular exercise. Stand up. Walk around more. Stretch. Do some squats over your desk chair. Always choose stairs over an escalator or elevator. Always be looking for ways to move more.
Eat more high fiber foods. Get more beans, broccoli, kale, cabbage, peas, apples, and bananas into your daily diet. Need some grains? Try popcorn or brown rice. High fiber foods are not only nutritious, but they keep you full and satisfied longer.
Start eating breakfast. I know people who say they are really going to get serious about weight loss this year and then the first thing they do is skip breakfast or wait to eat a snack until hours after they wake up. If you want your metabolism to get to work for you, eat when you wake up. I love starting the day with a smoothie. Or try this oatmeal crockpot recipe. Consider making your own granola bars. There are so many healthy options for breakfast. If you don’t eat breakfast your body will think it’s starving and it won’t fire up your fat-burning metabolism machine.
Have a bed time routine. It’s not easy to go from super productive, super mom to REM sleep without a healthy wind down routine in between. You aren’t a light switch after all. Do a brain dump so that crazy to do list doesn’t wake you up in the middle of the night. Write things down so you don’t feel compelled to retain everything in your mind where it can keep you awake. Do other calming activities before bed like a few yoga poses, watching a funny show, reading a book, curling up with a favorite magazine or putting some relaxing lounge or classical music on before you drift off to sleep.
Sleep. People laugh about getting seven hours of sleep a night as if it’s a preposterous suggestion out of the realm of all possibilities. I used to be able to get by with less sleep but as I get older, I notice how sleep affects my mood, energy levels and weight. Like you, I know the challenge of managing a busy schedule and devoting enough time to sleep, but sleep is as good for you as exercise and eating healthy. You have to view sleep as a component of your overall health. Lack of sleep has a negative impact on your mind, body and weight. Start viewing sleep as a healthy choice you are making for YOU that will help support all of your other choices!