Happy New Year, friends!
I have a feeling 2016 is going to be a great year for so many reasons: new learning opportunities through my awesome job, plans to move in with my long time boyfriend, and of course new things in the works here at Real Food Court.
Inevitably, a new year is associated with resolutions, usually health related. Many people vow to lose weight, get to the gym more, or eat better. It sounds good, and it isn't too difficult to get motivated when the prospect of a more healthful year is ahead of you, but sustaining these habits is hard.
This year I am not making a specific long term resolution, because honestly I can't imagine myself tracking something through the entire year. Instead, my sister and I have decided to take some new, but realistic approaches to our health. The key to sustainability and success is setting small, realistic goals with a specific time frame. Today I want to share with you what we are doing to reset in 2016.
My sister is back from a few months in Virginia where her schedule was thrown off and I am approaching six months at my job which has turned what I thought I knew about my priorities, upside down. And, with the holidays behind us, I think we can all agree we are feeling a little fluffier and are craving sugar more than usual (Check out this post from last week if the holiday treats are still lingering in your home).
The goals of our reset are to remind ourselves how good we feel when we eat right, to get rid of the sugar/chocolate habit, and to challenge ourselves to enjoy new foods in new ways.
I am going to share our approach. Feel free to embark on this journey with us, or modify to fit your own areas that could use improvement. Let's do this together!
new year reset: weeks 1 and 2
1. No alcohol. This will not be easy. I don't drink to excess like I did in college but that doesn't make it okay. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a glass of wine at the end of then night, in fact red wine offers many health benefits when consumed within reason. Unfortunately, that is rarely the way I consume alcohol. Wine night turns into several glasses and my sister and I have been known to skip dinner on Fridays and instead polish off a bottle of wine and eat tortilla chips with melted cheese. My boyfriend and I will use a happy hour or a night out as a mini getaway. We enjoy our drinks of choice and share wings or nachos. Again, not terrible, or the end of the world, but for me alcohol seems to come tied to fried, inflammatory foods. I always wake up the next morning looking and feeling swollen and my stomach is often upset. I want to see what activities I can find to replace drinking. I want to see how much better I feel when I don't have alcohol going into my body every four to five days. I am also curious to see how it helps with digestion, and cravings for other foods.
2. No chocolate or added sugar. Simply put, it is easy for chocolate to become a habit. A little here or there is not bad, but when something is a habit, rather than a conscious choice, you should examine what is going on. For me, having chocolate around will often lead to a little something after dinner or before bed. I may not be binging, but my sister and I both will mindlessly consume chocolate just because it is there. A funny thing happened this past week. I went to have a piece of chocolate (I knew this reset was almost here) and found that mice had eaten through our bag of chocolate. The entire thing went into the trash. And there was a wide variety of chocolate in there. I was sad, but I guess it took care of part of my problem for me.
In addition to no chocolate or candy we are going to avoid added sugar wherever we can. We are still eating fruit, because the sugar is naturally occurring. A more critical look at food labels of your favorite sauces or condiments might prove surprising. Find out more about hidden sugar in this post.
3. Meatless Sunday. Well this is a very new and challenging goal. But as I said above, one of our goals is to challenge ourselves, step out of our comfort zone. We eat a LOT of meat. Meat is awesome, it has health benefits, provides protein, helps you stay full (more on that here). Although I personally don't agree with a completely plant based diet, I think that by making a conscious effort to limit meat you are forced to consume more veggies, and a greater variety. In addition, meats, particularly some red meats can be inflammatory. When meats are raised conventionally (rather than pasture raised, grass fed, or organic) their fat profile is not optimal and can promote inflammtion in the body. I have a blog post in the works that will delve into this topic further.
We decided to take one day a week to say no to red meat like pork and beef, and chicken. Instead, we will focus on trying new veggies and eating fish weekly. We have chosen Sunday because it is easier to manage at home, but do what is best for you.
In an effort to get in more veggies and eat less meat daily, we are going to try green smoothies for breakfast along with hard boiled eggs. This will be an interesting experiment. I am curious to see how full I stay during a busy work day. To find out more about the recipes we are trying out this month please follow our Pinterest board New Year detox.
I hope that you will join us on this journey. Follow me on Instagram for daily updates on how we are doing and look out for a recap post with how we did.
What are your new year goals? Are they health based? What is a food that would be hard for you to give up?