I wrote this blog post as part of a movement by Weight Watchers to encourage people to remember that loving yourself starts with taking care of your health everyday. Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own.
Holy cow, you guys. Things have been so crazy over here it’s not even funny. I’m not even talking about the fact that a week ago we were up to our ears (OK, our ankles) in snow and now I’m wearing jeans and a tank top. I’m talking also about the fact that the kids have had cabin fever, the backyard is now a swamp, and I’m seriously lacking in Vitamin D which means that I am quite literally crazy right now. Cray to the Zee. Lacking energy, feeling withdrawn, and in serious need of an attitude adjustment. I also have been roller-coastering the same 18lbs since we moved to Raleigh and I’m sick of it.
The stress of thinking about losing weight or becoming more active than I already am makes me want to curl up in a corner and cry. I’m stress paralyzed. Yes, it’s a thing.
But it doesn’t have to be scary, it doesn’t have to be stressful, and it doesn’t have to be hard. You simply have to wake up every day and make a promise to yourself that you are going to make small decisions that will positively impact your health. Every extra step counts. Every empty calorie passed up is a win. Each positive thought will fill your happy bank. So let me tell you how I’ve been making better choices for my health lately and clue you in on how you can do the same. A healthy, happy, fulfilling life can be yours too! Weight Watchers and their new Simple Start program is all about loving yourself and integrating healthy choices into your life. Just follow my lead, I promise it’s simple. It’s a super simple start!
OH yeah! Before I forget, there’s a bonus recipe at the bottom that should satisfy those late-night junk food cravings without expanding your waistline.
Five Simple Steps to a Healthier Life
1. Take Naps!
I seriously groan at this one. Who has TIME for a nap? I certainly don’t. If you have an office job, you probably don’t. No. Not true.
All you need is a solid 10-20 minutes to feel recharged. You might experience slight grogginess when you wake up, but you should be bouncing around a few minutes after you get up and get your blood moving. You’ll feel a lot better and experience increased productivity if you take a few minutes to yourself to snooze. There have been days I’ve been so tired that I didn’t get a single thing done. That’s not productive! Set an alarm for 34 minutes and lay down. Why 34 minutes? It takes about 14 minutes to fall asleep, and if you want about 20 minutes sleep, you need that extra time to fall asleep. Don’t sleep much longer than that 20 minutes, though. You’ll wake up feeling like you’re back in college and attended an all-nighter.
2. Eat Greens!
So, I want to change the song to:
Greens, Greens, they’re good for your heart
the more you eat, the more you’re smart
The more you’re smart, the better you’ll feel
SO let’s eat greens for EVERY meal!
Because you really should be eating green at every meal. I know it sounds weird to have greens with breakfast, but there are tons of creative ways to get your greens in. My favorite way is to whip up PaleOMG’s Spinach & Artichoke Dip (Dairy free version!) and mix a cup of it in with my morning 1 egg, 2 egg white breakfast. It’s delicious and FULL of good nutrients. I’ve been eating salad for lunch, which I thought would be boring, but there are so many variations of salad that I haven’t even come close to becoming bored. And dinner? OH dinner. So easy. Just try to eat two handfuls worth of veggies at dinner. They’re nutrient dense and will keep you fuller longer than empty calories. Shoot for a bare minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
3. Park at the Back of the Parking Lot
Nothing cracks me up more than going to the gym and watching people circle the parking lot looking for the closest spot to the door. Are you serious, people? You’re coming here to work out. Why on earth do you need a spot close to the door? For that matter, why do you need a spot close to the door at the grocery store?
In this crazy rat race of a world we live in, you don’t walk nearly as much as our ancestors did. No wonder we struggle with obesity! Stop circling the parking lot looking for the best spot possible. Park out where nobody else parks and hoof it. The more your blood pumps, the less tired you’ll feel, the happier you will become, and who knows? Perhaps those gams will lean out a little bit too.
Bonus? The kids will have fun and you’ll work your legs if you march or skip. Since your kids are with you, you won’t look like a total fruit loop. (which you are trying your darndest to keep out of your diet)
4. Get Outside!
This job of mine is so hard. I sit in front of a computer all day long and by the time I know it, my day is gone, it’s dark, and time to go to bed. I know yours is probably difficult too, especially if you’re in an office building. But it is so important to get enough Vitamin D, and the best source is the one right outside, Mr. Sun.
I’ve been finding time to get outside with my family. Even if it means a short walk around the block, or a quick trip to the mailbox. Even if it’s cold outside, sneak out for some sledding or snow skiing. It’s not difficult or impossible to stand up, walk outside and down the driveway, then come back inside. Whatever. Start wherever you have to start, but by golly gosh, please stop driving to the mailbox. Shameful! (I’m guilty too). Getting outside and getting my blood pumping seriously increases my focus and energy. Make the decision to move and get some fresh air. Even when you don’t want to.
5. Snack Smart
So let’s just pretend that you’re trying to be super healthy, right? But you still have some junky foods in the house for your “cheats”. Or let’s just say maybe your spouse isn’t on board with your healthy new lifestyle, and he stashes his junk right in the pantry in plain sight. Or maybe your cycle is on its way and you’re craving chocolate and you have a whole bag of Kisses just hanging out in a cookie jar on your kitchen counter.
Stop. Just stop it right now.
I know throwing food away that you’ve paid for is painful, but so is being too big to fit into your favorite pants. So put down the chocolate, the midnight bowl of gluten-free cereal, the ice cream, whatever it is that causes you to slip back into bad eating habits; and throw it all away. It does not deserve real estate in your life or in your fat cells for that matter.
Stock your kitchen with good things to eat like precooked sweet potatoes, Granny Smith apples (lower in sugar than other apples), berries, nuts, and nut butters. When that junk food craving hits after the kids go to bed and you’re hanging onto the edge of your sofa watching your favorite evening drama, raid your stash of healthy foods and whip up something healthy. I love a salty and sweet combo. This is my go-to midnight snack lately. I hope you like it as much as I do, and that it helps curb that nasty little munchie monster.
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
2 Granny Smith Apples, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon Coconut Sugar (completely optional)
A sprinkle of Cinnamon (it aids sugar metabolism!)
1 oz Smoked Gouda (or cheese of choice. Goat cheese is delish too)
How to do it:
It’s easy. Melt the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add thinly sliced Granny Smith apples, coconut sugar (if using), and cinnamon. Saute for approximately 8 minutes, or until apples become soft and translucent. Place apples in a bowl and sprinkle with Gouda. Savor every delicious bite. Serves 2.
Now be super cool and connect with Weight Watchers on all of their social media channels so they can cheer you on and provide inspiration during your “Choose Your Own Journey to Health!”