It’s almost February, how are your health and fitness resolutions coming along? Did you keep them for as long as Miss Columbia kept the crown?
Hey, no judgment. We know that the shiny newness of lifestyle changes wears off eventually, particularly those that ban ice cream and involve getting out of a warm bed to go to the gym at 6 a.m.
But your resolutions don’t have to be all or nothing. Nor can you only make them in January. What matters is that you make mostly healthy decisions consistently throughout the year. You know, being healthyish rather than perfectly healthy 24/7.
What does the “ish” entail? It means occasionally choosing to snooze your alarm because you just can’t deal with the annoying, ultra-flexible yoga bitch today. It means having that slice of mom’s homemade pizza because sometimes you just need soul-warming food. More importantly, healthyish means not boxing yourself into one way of living and adapting to whatever comes your way.
Missing one workout won’t kill you, just like eating a piece of cake on your birthday won’t make you gain 5 lbs. overnight. Your healthy habits should never become so strict that they interfere with your life and overall happiness.
A good compromise? Add some ish to your life. Here are five ways to make a healthy lifestyle more sustainable in the long run.
1. Make your meals at home.
Cooking at home gives you control of the sodium, oils, sugar and other additives that restaurants frequently sneak into meals. But that doesn’t mean you have to resort to making steamed fish and vegetables. Cook your favorite dishes, yes, including pasta, but pay attention to portion sizes. Restaurants normally double the recommended portion size making it easier to overeat.
2. Eat a balanced breakfast.
It’s the health tip that won’t ever go away, for good reason. Starting your day with a well-rounded meal filled with protein, carbs and fiber prevents overeating later in the day and gives you the energy (so desperately) needed first thing in the morning. What you eat matters, of course, so save the donut for a later time and reach for whole-grain oats and fruit.
3. Find a workout you actually enjoy.
Do you dread running? Don’t run. Hate being quiet in yoga? Go to a kickboxing class where you can (literally) scream and punch. Take the time to experiment with fitness classes until you find one that you doesn’t make you cry upon first thought. Once you find that class (and I promise, you will), recruit some friends who will keep you accountable but not exile you to the broken Spin bike if you miss a session.
4. Don’t label foods.
Once you label kale as “good” and chips as “bad,” you not only set yourself up for failure, but also leave no wiggle room for adventure. Are you traveling to a new city and want to try the local (fried) cuisine? No problem, just include lots of salads the rest of the day. Food is meant to be enjoyed.
5. Prioritize sleep.
Sleep is a gift…a free gift that you should take advantage of every night. I know Netflix is awesome but everything is better when you get enough sleep: you’ll stabilize blood sugar, improve your memory, refresh your brain, strengthen your immune system and, oh yeah, maybe lose weight. Sleeping is the easiest healthy choice you can make and will let you be more present and enjoy the “awake” parts of your life. Save your late nights for time with friends and special occasions. Kimmy Schmidt can wait.
Not too bad, right? Small, simple tips that make healthy living more sustainable.
No need to go kale-crazy. Crazyish is enough.