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How to Have Your Healthiest New Year Yet!

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This month, Jessica, co-founder of boldr asked their resident nutritionist, Megan, the Realistic Holistic, to partner up to give you lovelies their take on New Year’s Resolutions and Goal-Making. Here’s how it all went down:

Megan: Happy New Year!

Jessica: Happy New Year to you! Do we still say that? I think it’s fair game for the month of January, really. So, you’re back from your amazing trip we all drooled over on Instagram!

M: It was such a fabulous trip to Australia and New Zealand, and now it’s back to the snow! But it’s nice to come back for the New Year feeling ready to jump into gear and make it a good one. How are you feeling about your New Years Resolutions? Have you decided on them yet?  

J: I am usually a big goal setter but I only made one this year.

M: Oh really? Tell us more!

J: Well, you’ll have to wait, it’s one of our tips later in the post!

M: Ha ha, okay.

J: What about you, what are your thoughts on resolutions?

M: Well, there are many ways you can go about New Years Resolutions. They can be goals or mantras, to-do's or don'ts and honestly, whatever strategy feels right for you is probably the way to go! I'm not here to tell you how to set your resolutions. Personally, I just scribbled a bunch of motivational words & actions onto a piece of paper & the ones that really stood out, I translated to a white board above my desk - that's just what works for me! It's not necessarily my area of expertise.

J: I LOVE WHITE BOARDS. My co-founder and I have them everywhere in our office.

M: Ha, great minds! My expertise is health & nutrition. Since a lot of New Years Resolutions seem to revolve around getting healthier or getting "in shape”, that is where I feel I can weigh in! Again, whatever goals or mantras you have - KEEP THEM! If you thought of them that means they are important to you, resonate with you and therefore you're more likely to DO them. I am simply going to suggest my most highly recommended STEPS that you can take toward better health in 2018 and how to get around your excuses not to follow them. No matter what your healthy resolutions in 2018, these strategies will likely help you get closer to achieving them.

J: I love that. Keep your own but you can always benefit from adding in tips and tricks from experts. And expert, you are. I love your cleanse by the way, doesn’t feel like a cleanse at all.

M: Thank you! It’s worked for so many clients, I do it too of course whenever I feel like I need a re-set.

Read on for Megan’s “Steps Towards Better Health” and boldr’s “Fitness Resolutions for 2018.” This year should be all about being the healthiest and fittest you you can be.

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1) MAKE LOVE IN YOUR KITCHEN

What I mean is get comfortable with your kitchen again, have fun experimenting with recipes and learning how to make healthy meals that will help you achieve your health goals! Cooking your own meals is the only way you can truly know what is in your food, control it AND tailor the flavour to JUST the way you like it. Make food that you love and that loves you back!

EXCUSES?

"No time"
Focus on one-pan or one-skillet meals or get used to slow-cooker meals that you can throw together, leave all day and have dinner ready when you get home! No one has loads of extra time these days so it's OK not to spend hours in the kitchen after you get home from a long day of work. There are plenty of resources (including this very blog!) that provide plenty of quick and easy recipes that will work for you and any other mouths you've gotta feed. My next step will also help with time-saving, so KEEP READING!

"I can't cook"
Yes you can! Sounds easy for me to say, but I promise, I used to say the same thing and now I LOVE being in the kitchen. I went to school for nutrition, not because I wanted to learn how to be a healthy chef, but because I wanted to learn all about the medicine that food has to offer. It just turns out that you likely won't be able to maximize the goodness you're getting from your food if you're eating out all the time (it's also terrible for your wallet- especially if you're trying to eat healthy!). So, I forced myself into the kitchen.

Again, sticking with quick and simple recipes is the way to go but honestly guys (big secret!), cooking is really just chopping up some things, throwing them together, drizzling them with stuff and heating it up. You don't need to be a culinary king or queen to make simple delicious meals, I PROMISE! Just give it a go, starting with recipes that use less than 10 ingredients.

If you really can't do it, you can send me hate mail and I'll come be your personal chef for a week! ;) I also might refer you to local cooking classes! They can be a fun thing to do with a friend or partner. Sometimes you just need a little hands on help! If you don't want to leave your home, there are some really good cooking classes even on YouTube! Technology, eh!?

"I don't know what to cook!"
If it's that you don't know what foods will work best for you and your health goals, I can't help but recommend you see a nutritionist! Find someone who you resonate with, who understands where you're at and what you want to achieve and is able to walk you through the best choices you can make to serve your health. A good nutritionist should also be able to offer personalized recipes and recommendations for how to play in the kitchen! It's ok to need a bit of help. You can always try reading health books and articles, etc. but I know this often leaves people more confused than when they started. Getting expert advice is my best advice on this one!

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2) PLAN, MAN!

Planning ahead will make achieving your goals feel possible! It relieves the overwhelm and puts you in the drivers seat of your own life!

Planning ahead for your health includes scheduling workouts ahead of time, creating weekly meal plans, & pencilling in your grocery trips! I would also encourage looking ahead in your week and carving out time for you to do whatever it is you love doing the most - reading, painting, hanging with friends! Planning all of these things take the panic & guesswork out of what you're going to eat, when you're going to find time to sweat and make sure that you are finding time for both health and happiness.

Getting used to meal planning can take some time. I recommend looking ahead at your week. What nights will you be in? Who will be eating together? Pick quick & easy meals or ones that you can batch cook on a Sunday night and have ready to reheat when you get home from work. I usually recommend making meals that will serve you for at least dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day - this will save you time, money and getting stuck making unhealthy choices on your lunch break.

Planning your workouts ahead of time is all about pushing compliance. If it's already in your calendar, you know you have the time and you're more likely to do it. If you play it by ear, it's easy to say you won't have time or you'll go to the gym after work - but we all know you'll get home after a long day and get straight into those sweat pans... I know I would.

Whether you use google calendar, a handheld agenda or one of those cute little fridge planners from indigo, find a way to pencil everything in. Although it may feel confusing and stressful at first, once you get the hang of it, it becomes the single biggest stress relief when it comes to achieving your health goals.

EXCUSES?

"No time"
It does feel like another "to-do" but ultimately, planning ahead will save you time. It will prevent ho humming over what you're going to make for dinner or sauntering through the grocery store, unsure what you're even looking for, and you know what you are doing with every minute of your time!

"I don't know how"
CRASH COURSE! Find a calendar, write out breakfast, lunch & dinner. Plug in recipes, including leftovers, for each slot. Take a look at the ingredients from each recipe and make a grocery list. Now you're ready to shop & cook for the week! DONE! It's really just about carving out a moment to look ahead at your week, your schedule, and deciding what will work for you and adding it to your agenda. There are plenty of resources online that can guide you through it and, again, a good nutritionist should be able to help you learn or provide the service for you!

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3) PUT SOME PREP IN YOUR STEP

You're already mastering meal planning so why not try some prepping too!? The two kind of go hand in hand. If you have planned out a week of beautiful meals, incorporating leftovers, etc, it is easy to see what meals you can prep and freeze or what ingredients you can pre-chop.

Again, this saves you time, which saves you excuses! I recommend at least chopping up your veggies and having them ready in airtight containers for simply throwing into a skillet or tossing in the oven. It curbs the temptation to say "forget it" and order chinese food when you're exhausted after work just cause you don't feel like choppin' veg.

EXCUSES?

"No time"
This is something that will also save you time in the long run and when you really need it. You're saving time when all you have to do is heat something up when you get home from work or when you can avoid standing in line for food at lunch because yours is all ready to go! You're saving time when you can just grab those overnight oats from that you tossed into the fridge the night before and run out the door. You're saving time when you can just reach into your bag and find a bag of trail mix or (if you're really getting into it!) a homemade granola bar, instead of having to stop at a vending machine or convenience store to find a snack that will curb your hunger. It's also likely you'll be making healthier choices than you would be otherwise! Win-win!

"I'm lazy"
Fair. We all kind of understand the areas of our life where we get lazy and that's totally normal and OK. I would encourage you to avoid looking at it as hard work. Once again, pick simple recipes, use a slow cooker, or one skillet meals. I'd also suggest you get help if you can! Bring your partner or even your kids into the kitchen. Anyone can chop a few carrots! Make it an event that you can share, not a chore! I might also recommend you put on music while you prep or listen to a podcast! This often helps me to feel like I'm multitasking by learning from a podcast or at least having fun (making it feel less like work!) when I'm dancing around the kitchen. Just watch the Macarena with those knives!

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4) BECOME A MAD SCIENTIST!

Experimenting in the kitchen with different flavours and ingredients can open up a whole new world of fun and appreciation for your healthy food! We often get stuck in a routine, eating the same thing over and over again because its the only thing we're comfortable with and know is healthy. That's what makes it easy to resent healthy eating. There is a whole world of healthy foods & recipes to experiment with out there! Don't get stuck in same old, same old!

EXCUSES?

"I'm picky"
Fair enough. If you're a picky eater or you're feeding picky eaters it can be difficult to find a variety of recipes that work for everyone.

However, I will stress it takes at least 3 times of trying a new flavour for your taste buds to adjust and really decide whether it likes it or not, whether your a child or an adult! If you have a memory of spitting out brussels sprouts the first time you ever tried them and have sworn to stay away from them forever... maybe, try again? Try them cooked a different way, in a different sauce, with a different spice! You never know until you try... at least 3 times!

"I don't know what flavours work together"
I understand. I was so afraid of experimenting in the kitchen because I felt like I would ruin a meal if I put the wrong flavours together just because I wanted to try something new. And that's fair! No one wants to waste food or be stuck eating something nasty cause you got too excited. It became intuitive over time! Start with just trying a whole bunch of different recipes that you find online or that your grandma gave you. To me, that still counts as experimenting and trying new things. Eventually, you might start to get the gist of what flavours compliment each other and start to make your own tasty creations. Just do whatever you can to keep things fresh!

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5) KEEP TRACK! I DO NOT MEAN COUNTING CALORIES!

When I say keep track, I mean of how you feel. Start to notice when you eat something and feel like you have enough energy to run a marathon or when when you eat something that makes you feel like a zombie and hungry for anything soon after eating. Increasing your awareness to how food makes you feel is a huge step toward really understand the value of eating well and appreciating the difference it makes!

Additionally, I'd recommend keeping track of your blessings. I often recommend gratefulness journalling for clients looking to embark on a health journey. I tell them to take the time in the morning to write 3 things they're looking forward to that day and, at night, write 3 things they were grateful for that day. This keeps a positive attitude around any challenging experience and forces you to look and live in the positive. I find when clients do this they see more success in achieving their health goals.

EXCUSES?

"No time"
All it takes is waking up 5 minutes earlier and taking 5 minutes before bed. We all have that time! Then it's just about living in the moment and being aware of yourself, what you eat and what makes you happy throughout the day!

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Adopt these 5 habits (and these 5 fitness tips for brides) to help you reach your health goals in 2018 and you will get there faster, more efficiently and be way less stressed out about it in the process! This is your year!

Sincerely,
THE REALISTIC HOLISTIC

PS. Looking for Megan’s cleanse or more tips? Visit her here.

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