Healthy Habits & Small Changes for Your Daily Routine

Jan 6 2021 Hi Hungry Girl,

I'm looking to make some healthy changes this year. But in the past, any time I attempt a New Year's resolution, I end up going strong with a whole new lifestyle plan for a couple of weeks, and then totally letting it slide. Do you have any tips to help me stick to a new routine?

For Real This Time Dear FRTT,

I have some good news and some bad news. I’ll give you the bad news first: Trying to overhaul your entire lifestyle at once is most likely gonna fail every time. It's just not practical. The good news? Making small changes to your daily life can have a big impact, especially since you're more likely to keep them going long term! I've got some suggestions for how to start small...

Shop Smart

Stocking up on healthy basics like lean protein, fruits, and veggies is important... but it’s also a good idea to have better-for-you indulgences around to satisfy cravings you know are going to come up. Otherwise, you might look around at your perfectly wholesome kitchen and go "FORGET THIS, I'm ordering pizza!" (And that's fine now and then, but you still want to set yourself up for everyday success.) Some of my go-to craving-busters: low-sugar chocolate, reduced-fat chips, veggie-crust pizza, and spiralized veggies.

Plan-Ahead Eating

Get ahead of the game! It might seem like work, but meal planning can make things easier. You don’t need to chart out your every bite, but really think about what types of meals you’ll want to eat throughout the week… and what you’ll have time for. If you don’t like to spend a ton of time in the kitchen right before dinner, stock up on time-saving meal starters, like precooked protein and precut veggies. Make-ahead recipes are also a must! Check out this Hungry Girl shopping list, and use it to plan. I've also got my eye on these magnetic notepads with tear-off sheets and a shopping list section broken down by category… There’s even a Keto version and a Vegetarian one!

Drink More Water

This might sound like a vague tip, but let’s break it down into some helpful mini tips! For example, begin your day with a cup of hot lemon water, and you’ll be off to a great start. Changing the temperature of your water is a really good trick if you find ice-cold H2O off-putting. Throughout the day, carry around a big water bottle as a constant reminder to stay hydrated: This one includes motivational phrases to keep you going! Need a bit of flavor? Add fruit to your water and let it infuse. And anytime you feel snacky, have a full glass of water then wait 10 minutes before going for something to eat. (It could be that you were just dehydrated!)

Add Physical Activity, No Matter How Small

It's easy to get hung up on the kind of exercise you think you should be doing... and letting that turn into doing nothing at all. Progress, not perfection, people! Going for a walk is way better than nothing, even if you're just walking around inside your house, a.k.a. Housewalking. Set a realistic goal and track your steps with a pedometer -- it’s like a fun daily challenge! Another great trick is to get a solid number of steps in during the morning, so that it doesn't become something you're putting off all day long. When you get dressed, put your sneakers on right away, and start stepping! Wanna kick it up a notch? There are so many free workout videos on YouTube -- look up something that feels good to you in the moment, whether that's yoga, dancing, low-impact cardio, etc.

Break Up with an All-or-Nothing Attitude

Planning to do something perfectly or not at all is a fast-track to Not At All City. This year, let's each do what we can on any given day to respect and support our bodies with the things they need... and if we don't hit all our goals that day, we move forward knowing that we did our best. I take the 80/20 approach to all healthy habits to make them more realistic in the long run -- click to read more on that. The most important thing is to focus on the good things you ARE doing instead of stressing about what you're NOT doing.

Think Beyond Diet & Exercise

Sure, those two elements are important when it comes to feeling your best, but you can also support your physical & mental health in other little ways. Get enough sleep. (A relaxing app like Slumber can help.) Reduce your stress. (Adult coloring books mellow us out.) Take a break from screen time and get some sunshine. And make a point of staying connected to people you may not see regularly. (Call instead of text.)

Good luck, and let's have a great 2021!

Get More Healthy New Year Advice on the Hungry Girl Podcast!

Hungry for more tips & tricks to make 2021 your year? This week's all-new podcast episode is a must-listen! Lisa, Jamie & Mikey tackle fan-requested topics like...

how to avoid falling back into bad habits
ways to eat more veggies (even if you don't like veggies)
how to evaluate nutrition panels
... and so much more!

Also available on your phone's podcast app... Subscribe so you never miss an episode!
FYI: We may receive affiliate compensation from some of these links.

Chew on this:

Happy Bean Day, January 6th! Beans are great for you -- they’re packed with filling protein and fiber. Cook up a batch of these Mediterranean Black Bean Burgers for easy make-ahead meals!

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