Personally, I feel that the start of Spring is the perfect time to make positive changes, tackle new challenges and clean out the “crap” so to speak. Who wants to do all of that stuff during the holidays and in the dead of Winter? There’s just too much going on between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. And, there is just too much good food being passed around, offered at parties, and sitting in the fridge.
But, this restart isn’t just about getting rid of old magazines, and cleaning out the garage (finally). It can be about your health, too. When is the last time you had a physical? Have you ever had a full body skin check with a dermatologist? If not, now is the time to do it. This is also a great time to consider the quality of your diet and address issues like poor digestion, insomnia, nagging skin issues and weight management.
Spring is the perfect time to reflect on the changes you want to make and then map out how you're going to do it. Below are 5 things you can do now to make Spring your new time to tackle those resolutions.
1. So obvious but how many times a day do you actually consume whole vegetables? I say “whole” because green juices, although delicious and awesome, should not be the only way you get your veggies. Add a veggie to each meal, and that includes breakfast. (Try adding spinach to your scrambled eggs…delicious!) Aim for 5 servings a day.
2. Cut down on the caffeine. This may seem really difficult at first, but start slow by setting a few boundaries. No coffee after noon. Limit to 3 cups a day. Need a pick me up around 3pm? Herbal mint tea and a high protein snack mid afternoon should help…and a quick walk around block if you’re still feeling sleepy.
3. Replace your refined “carby” sides (white pasta, white rice, regular bread and crackers) with a high fiber grain. Try pastas made from other starches besides wheat (lentil, chickpeas, whole grain), and experiment with a few grains you usually pass up in the grocery store. Farro, Kamut, and Wild Rice are all tasty options that offer texture, fiber and more vitamins and minerals. My Summer Farro Salad is always a big hit as a side dish or mixed with arugula and grilled chicken for a main dish.
4. Eat breakfast. You’ve heard that a million times, right? You don’t need to sit down to a heaping pile of eggs or pancakes. But, having something healthy to eat before you hit the pavement has been shown to set the right tone for your day. Studies have shown that eating a healthy breakfast (High protein, healthy carbs) improves brain function, energy levels, and results in improved weight management because you’re more apt to eat healthier for the rest of the day.
5. Drink more water. Besides glowing skin, drinking enough water and other hydrating fluids has linked to lower BMI. In a recent study, participants who were adequately hydrated had lower BMI’s than participants who were not consuming enough fluids throughout their day. The reasons for this are unclear, but drinking water before and during meals may contribute to feelings of fullness resulting in consuming less calories. So, how much water should you drink? A general rule of thumb is to start with your body weight in pounds and divide that by half. That number is the amount your drink in ounces. So, if you weight 120 pounds, you should be drinking about 60 ounces of water, or about 2 liters of water per day.
These are all things you can start doing today. When I work with clients on weight management or lipids management it's the small changes that give them the biggest boost in health (and confidence). Their numbers start to change immediately because these small changes are reasonable and obtainable.
Summer is around the corner, and this is perfect time to start new habits that you can continue to practice throughout the summer and into the new year.