The New Year is a fresh start and the ideal time to reflect on the year we are leaving behind—and what a year it has been! The increased stress has led to pandemic weight gain, social distancing has left many of us feeling lonely and disconnected, and many of us are living with severely increased stress and anxiety. So, instead of setting the go-to resolutions of losing weight, make whole-body health your goal.
Love The Body You’re In
Let’s first begin with shifting your mindset to loving the body you have right this moment. Beauty comes from within so stop wishing your body away or putting your life on hold until you lose the weight. No matter your shape, size, or body type—you are beautiful! Unsubscribe to societal standards and let go of anyone in your life who body shames you. Balance understanding that you are not your body, with finding ways to make yourself feel more confident externally. Invest in clothing that highlights or accentuates your favorite features and minimizes the areas you are self-conscious about. This means less shopping for trends, and more shopping for what looks and feels good on you. If you aren’t sure how to dress or find the pieces that boost your confidence, work with a personal shopper. The clothing they select can make a world of difference in how you feel when you step out of the house each day.
Say No To Deprivation Diets
If fad diets worked, there would be one or two to choose from, and everyone would be on them. However, research shows that most diets don’t work. Even if you lose a bit of weight, it is unlikely to be sustainable, as most diets are based on deprivation. They focus too much on calories, carbs, and other numbers—and are often low in essential nutrients. A diet should never leave you feeling hungry, irritable, or low on energy. And true health is whole-body health, which is not solely determined by the number on the scale. So, instead of yo-yo dieting, personalize your nutrition.
We were introduced to the food pyramid in school, but we don’t learn what it looks like in action. In addition, to getting the proper servings of protein, calcium, grains, and anti-oxidant fruits and vegetables—you need to eat for your individual needs. This requires reframing how you think of nutrition, and eat to fuel and heal your body. For example, an athlete’s nutritional needs vary greatly from someone with an average level of fitness. Nutritional needs also vary by lifestyle, age, health risks, health conditions, and a variety of individual factors. Working with a nutritionist or dietician will help you create a meal plan that works for you.
Identify A Fitness Routine That You Genuinely Enjoy
If your workout is something you genuinely enjoy you are more likely to stick with it. Think beyond traditional gyms, many of which are still closed or greatly restricted, and find physical activities that are fun. This might be heading to a fitness center that offers a unique class, such as balance boards or aerial yoga. If you enjoy sports, join a club or find a group that meets at least once a week. Think back to what physical activities you enjoyed as a child, and mix that in. Maybe dancing, martial arts, ice skating, inline skating, swimming, or water activities. Try out a few workouts you aren’t that familiar with, which you can do in-person or online. Even when you find what you enjoy, keep mixing things up so that you don’t get bored or burnt out.
Recommit To Your Relationships
With social distancing in place around the nation and not expected to end anytime soon, it’s time to recommit to your relationships—familial, platonic, and romantic. When the pandemic began, we reached out to our nearest and dearest and reconnected with those we’d lost touch with. We kicked text and email up a notch, spent more time on the phone, and video chatted and Zoomed daily. You aren’t alone if over the months your commitment to remaining digitally connected has fizzled out. Now is the time to reprioritize socialization, both for your emotional and mental health—and of those you hold near and dear. Schedule it if you must, but make sure that you reach out to at least one person per day via phone or video.
In terms of those you are socially distancing with, your relationship is sure to have changed or evolved since the pandemic began. There are both great challenges and great joys to being together constantly. By now you have likely found your groove, so keep at it. If you haven’t found your groove yet, keep working at it. Ensure everyone has sufficient personal time and that you have time together as a group. Since you can’t get out of the house much, invest more in new games and activities you can do solo and together.
Consider Working With A Coach
Personal coaching has grown in popularity over the past decade and is increasingly in demand during the pandemic. This is a time of ultimate uncertainty, but also a time of opportunity. Even if you are stressed and anxious, you finally have the time to work on the things you never get around to. Instead of going it alone, work with a coach. They will provide you with an unbiased perspective and will both cheer you on and hold you accountable. Coaches also provide a personalized framework to minimize mistakes and accelerate your outcomes.
Identify a coach who specializes in your individual goals, such as a business coach, health coach, fitness trainer, or relationship coach. A coach can help you when:
- You feel stuck or you don’t feel stuck but aren’t sure what’s next
- You’re navigating a major life event—positive or negative
- You are ready to grow
- You’ve tried going it alone without success
- You’re ready to break an unhealthy habit or pattern
- You feel unfulfilled in your career, relationships, or personal life
- You’ve realized you don’t feel worthy of more
- You lack the self-esteem to pursue your dreams
- You want to identify your purpose
- Your schedule is jam-packed but you feel unfulfilled
Prioritize Your Mental Health
The uncertainty of 2020 has left those who rarely struggle with their mental health feeling stressed, anxious, and depressed. Many who struggled with their mental health pre-pandemic are facing one of their most challenging times. This means that mental health and overall emotional well-being must be a priority. Your mental health strategy should include any combination of:
- Eating a well-balanced diet that is low in sugar and processed foods
- Keeping alcohol to a minimum
- Exercising at least 4 days per week
- Prioritizing the quality of your sleep
- Working with a trained therapist
- Reading self-development books
- Maintaining a healthy social life with those who lift you up
- Exploring alternative solutions such as hemp-derived CBD, yoga, meditation, and sound therapy
- Exploring your local wellness and mental health resources, such as support groups
Make 2021 the year you focus on how you feel from the inside out, and it will improve your health on every level!