I had lunch with a dear friend of mine a few weeks ago...we got to talking about my blog and the journey I've been on the past year and she said something that got me thinking..."Kendall, I want to work towards a healthier lifestyle but it's so overwhelming I don't know where to begin". I totally get what she was saying, changing your eating, workouts, skincare, mindset, etc. can all be extremely overwhelming. What area do you start with? Which aspect is more important? Do you empty the contents of your fridge and pantry and start over? Do you have to start doing crazy workouts everyday?...WHERE DO YOU START?
My answer is...Start slowly! You don't have to overhaul and change your life overnight or even at all. I've slowly been making changes to my overall health over 20 years but really made an impact in the last 2 years. It's a process and one that should be gradual so it's not overwhelming. People who go "cold turkey" on their old habits typically fall off the wagon in weeks and revert to their old ways. It probably took you decades to develop your current habits so they can't be wiped away in a matter of days. Quit pressuring yourself to be "perfect"! Everybody has a different perception of what "Healthy" is so you have to find a balance that fits your life and needs. I've listed a few tips here...
Clean Up Your Breakfast
If clean eating is a goal of yours, don't expect to change your entire diet in a day or even a week. I always suggest starting with breakfast. It's the first meal of the day and, in my opinion, the most important. I feel like if you start the day with the right balance of protein, carbs and fats, you feel satisfied and regulate your blood sugar levels so you have more energy and mental focus. Try to limit the pre-packaged foods and stick to natural foods like eggs, meats (no sugar added bacon, natural sausage, ground turkey, etc.), vegetables/fruits and yogurt. I also recommend preparing your breakfast the night before and keeping it ready to go in the fridge for the next day, that way you're not tempted to "grab and go" a granola bar on the way out the door. Plan ahead.
Start Batch Cooking
I know I talk about batch cooking a lot, I'm a big believer in it! We all live crazy busy lives and although we have good intentions about cooking healthier, inevitably something comes up and we don't have time to throw a healthy meal together. Use one day a week to cook several meals and you can even put them in individual containers so they are ready to eat. Some ideas are...a sheet pan full of a variety of roasted veggies, a crock pot chicken that can be shredded for tacos, wraps or salads, meatballs of whatever flavor you like, a breakfast hash, and a roast that can be used in sandwiches. The internet is full of recipes and meal prep ideas, it just takes a little research, planning and prep time. Isn't your health worth a little planning and effort?
Schedule Your Days
Most of you are probably like "WHAT???? My day is scheduled down to the minute!". What I mean is schedule your day to include your workout, meal prep, preparing dinner, giving yourself a facial, etc. For me, if an event is in on my calendar...AKA my phone, I absolutely treat it like a business meeting and I get it done. My daily routine is extremely regimented and I thrive on schedules. I know that as soon as I drop the kids at school, I get my workout in, then either run errands which include the grocery store (Whole Foods, Costco and Trader Joe's included) to make sure I always have fresh and healthy ingredients at my fingertips, grab a shower, eat lunch, usually spend time creating or finalizing recipes for my blog, and complete various other household chores. I keep a weekly dinner schedule on the wall in my kitchen so I always know what I'm making and I keep a running grocery list on the fridge for the entire family to add to so I always know what ingredients I need for meals. I am probably a bit OCD with maintaining a healthy lifestyle but it's extremely important for not only my health but that of my family...I take it seriously and being organized is key.
Consider Your Health A Priority and Quit Making Excuses
This is probably the main point I want to make. Your Health (and the health of your family) Is A Priority!!! No excuses! This is not rocket science! If you take care of your body, inside and out, it will take care of you. Only you can decide how much time, money and energy you want to dedicate to your health, no one can do that for you. You are a responsible adult and can create the self discipline necessary to make healthy changes in your life. Start small and work into it gradually or go cold turkey and overhaul your life...whatever works for you! Treat yourself like you would your job/career. What do I mean? Imagine this...pretend the quality of your health determines your yearly salary ...imagine the daily habits you keep are your employees...are they productive, beneficial for business and profitable? Does that hit home? You are the CEO of your body and you control what goes in/out, how it moves and how well it functions. Do the research, do the planning and make the changes necessary to take care of you!!! Aren't you worth it?