Kickstart your Healthy Habits Post-Holiday: A Guide to New Year’s Resolutions
We’re pretty sure we scarfed down, like, 40,000 calories (ok that’s an exaggeration… hopefully) over the last week. And we are feeling it. So, just like many of you, we’re going to make 2016 the year of better physical and mental health. Below is a little list we’ve compiled to help you gather your thoughts and get over that “what now?” hump.
Set a goal for yourself
Don’t just make that New Year’s resolution to “lose weight” or “body like J Lo” Those aren’t goals, those are desires. Instead say, “I’m going to lose 20 lbs by losing 1 lb a week.” Instead of thinking, “I’m going to exercise more,” say “I’m going to spend at least an hour in the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.” Rather than “I’m going to take more time for myself,” say, “I’m going to meditate for 10, 20, or 30 minutes a day.” If you don’t set realistic goals, you set yourself up for failure. And remember, you won't see results unless you eat a healthy diet. So aim for eating less sugar, less saturated fats, more protein, etc.
Don’t crash diet
We get it - the holidays were full of booze, snacks and desserts. And while it’s important to pace ourselves, we are only humans, and we do get caught up in the moment(s). So if you gained a few pounds over the holidays, don’t beat yourself up, and absolutely don’t crash diet. With rapid weight loss comes even faster weight gain. And why shouldn’t it? If you cut yourself down to 900 to 1200 calories a day - after being overweight - you’ll lose the weight, yes. But that amount of caloric intake is impossible to keep up, and you’re bound to go back to eating like, well, a normal person. And when you do, you’ll gain that weight back and feel defeated.
Need a fitness buddy? How about your phone...
Going it alone is hard. Many of us can’t cough up the money for a wellness coach, nutritionist or personal trainer, and keeping up with a “gym buddy” is damn near impossible. Apps like MyFitnessPal, Lark, Fooducate, FitStar Personal Trainer, ShopWell and Calm - amongst many, many others - can help you reach whatever wellness goal you have, from weight loss to meditation.
Get enough sleep
Really pay attention to this one - it’s kind of why we started Bear Mattress. 2015 was the year of sleep research, and what did we get out of it? The (not so alarming discovery that) we need to sleep more. A lot more. 6 hours a night just don’t cut it. If you’re not getting at least 8 hours a night, you’re more likely to experience weight gain, drowsiness and a lack of performance at the gym, at work, and in life in general. So turn off the tv, unplug from that podcast, wait to send that email in the morning and get some shut eye.
Find motivation - both internally and through other channels
If wanting to fit into those old jeans from college hasn’t been working for you, how about following some super inspiring Instagram accounts? Some of our favorites are Jen Sinkler, Burn This, Instarunners, Will Arrufat, and MindBodyGreen. When you fill your life (even your virtual life) with positive influences, you’re more likely to want to make a positive change. Also, unfollowing some of those foodie accounts won’t do you any harm - when you see decadent food you want to eat decadent food, which is totally fine on occasion, but not every day.
Don’t give up when results don’t show overnight.
If you’ve never exercised in your life, you’ll start seeing results fairly quickly, but if you’re already somewhat active, changes will take some time. If you eat well and exercise regularly, you won’t notice a change for around a month, and your friends won’t notice a change for around two. Don’t get down on yourself - building an amazing and healthy body is hard work. Make it a hobby, not a chore. When you start finally seeing results, you’ll be so happy you stuck with it.
Love the body you already have.
This is probably the most difficult - and the most important. A lot of health and fitness New Year’s resolutions are grounded in self loathing and body image issues. Yes, of course you can want to lose weight or gain muscle, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by hating your current body. So stop! Love your body and treat it well because it’s the only one you have, no matter what it looks like.