BY: DR JASON GRANZOTTO
It’s February and hopefully those New Year’s Resolutions still have steam after a dreary January. Healthier eating habits, weekly exercise, a good sleep regime and stress management are at the top of the list of resolutions, but when push comes to shove, how do you maintain these better choices? We all suffer from boredom and hate monotony, and these are some of the obstacles to keeping up with your better choices. Therefore, let’s discuss some more new ideas to keep things fresh and to maintain your motivation.
Eating habits are key. Typically, we resolve to eat really, really healthy in January. We cut out our old favorites and cravings, and abstain as much as possible. If you made it this far without your favorite treats, you might have cleared that hurdle and perhaps the treats no longer provide that same feel-good feedback. However, if you caved and caved hard, don’t despair. Instead of going cold turkey or completely avoiding the temptation, perhaps we can trick ourselves with a healthier substitute. Here’s a list of alternatives to some of my patients most common weaknesses:
|Instead of …||Try …|
|Popcorn or Chips||Rice Cakes|
|Milk Chocolate||Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)|
|Coffee||Green Tea or Caffeine-free Herbal Tea|
|White rice||Quinoa or brown rice|
|Sour Cream||Greek Yogurt|
|Table Salt||Pink Himalayan Salt (high minerals, trace elements)|
|Commercial Salad Dressing||Olive Oil and Vinegar|
|Sports Drinks||Coconut Water|
|Sour Candy||Dried Golden Berries|
These replacements don’t really compromise on taste, but will satisfy a craving and may actually prove to be a viable long-term replacement. Snacking on the substitutes in this list can help take away the guilt you feel when you break your resolutions. And because these alternatives are enjoyable, you will still feel rewarded and be encouraged to keep going.
If snacking isn’t your issue, but you’re concerned about maintaining a good start to the day, try this smoothie recipe:
1 scoop rice protein powder + unsweetened almond milk + 1 cup of mixed berries + 1 tablespoon coconut oil + a scoop of greens or matcha powder for antioxidants
This smoothie will provide you energy to start your day and a good dose of daily fibre. It will help you feel satisfied until lunch and contains healthy fats for your heart and brain. Definitely beats a breakfast bagel.
You may also enjoy this power salad for your lunch:
leafy greens + 1/2 cup fruit (berries/pear/apple/orange) + nuts/seeds of choice 2 tbsp + protein (chicken/fish/boiled egg/hemp hearts) + lemon juice or apple cider vinegar + 1 tbsp olive oil + pink Himalayan salt (optional)
These are some great ideas to get started but get in the habit of looking for more ideas and sharing these ideas with friends. You’d be surprised at how many people around you are in the same boat and looking for motivation. Be a resource to one another: If getting to the gym is becoming more of a chore, go with a friend or perhaps sign up for some personal training sessions to get you motivated.
Here, you can use technology as a support tool. Our smartphones can be a real benefit. Aside from social networking, consider using a meal tracking app to understand your intake of carbs, fats, protein, and calories. Logging your meals is a good way to stay honest with yourself and keep yourself accountable. Also, a sleep hygiene app is great because it can help measure your hours of sleep. Some even track your sleep quality via a wearable accessory, and will remind you when you should get to bed and what your ideal waking time is.
Keep going, take these ideas and build up from here.