5 Simple Ways to Make This Your Healthiest Year Yet

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Every January 1, you trade carbs for cardio, determined to get in shape once and for all. But by February, four gym days a week somehow dilute to one (or none!), and you find yourself increasingly likely to pick pizza over produce. We know the struggle. That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of Rockland-based registered dietitian (RDN) Taylor D’Anna for tips on how to stay on track all year long. Here’s what she told us:

1. Keep It Real


“As January 1 approaches, most of us start setting lofty goals that we can’t stick with. Goals that totally disrupt your normal routine are difficult to sustain. Instead of thinking, ‘I’m going to the gym at 5 a.m. for an hour and a half every day and eat kale smoothies for lunch,’ create a goal that can fit into your undoubtedly busy routine. Think more along the lines of, ‘I’m going to make it to the gym four days a week and pack a healthy lunch every day for work.’ Keep yourself accountable, but also be flexible. No matter what we plan for, real life happens!”

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“Bring-Your-Own-Food. Reaching for a quick, easy lunch often doesn’t result in the best nutritional choices. Ditch the 5-minute pickup pizza and pack meals and snacks that are high in protein and fiber. Keeping snacks like raw vegetables, plain popcorn, and a handful of nuts on hand for when you get hungry will help avoid crazy lunchtime cravings, and put an end to the just-home-from-work run-to-the-refrigerator-binge. And because no one wants to be portioning out quinoa at 6 a.m., make time to pack your lunch the night before. Preparing healthy, portion-appropriate eats ahead of time will make it much easier to stick to your diet plan.”

3. Join a Small Fitness Community


“Though many gyms offer savings deals for the New Year, avoid making the monthly donation to warehouse-looking chains and find something intimate. Purchase a barre or yoga class card, join a dance studio’s recreational classes, find a running group, or even a local boot camp. More personal settings will help you create a sense of community and stay accountable for your workout, so you refrain from blowing it off after a long day at work.”

4. Get Enough Sleep


“Your morning routine almost certainly includes a large cup of hot coffee, but if you don’t feel like you’ve fully woken up until the very last drop, take it as a sign that you need more, better quality sleep. Whether you stayed up past 1 a.m. watching Netflix or going over tomorrow’s big presentation, it’s going to be hard getting to the gym if you can barely stay awake through your weeknight commute. A little extra sleep can help keep the weight off in more ways than one. Hormones that increase your appetite become elevated when we’re sleep deprived. So from now on, instead of reaching for a calorie-loaded caffeinated beverage, designate a firm bedtime to help you crawl into bed before 1 a.m.”

5. Don’t Hide Your Tight Jeans in the Back of the Closet

Fotolia/George Dolgikh

“We all have a special place in the back of our closet where the once perfectly fitting pants go after they’re too snug to pull on. We keep them, promising that one day when we get back in-shape, we’ll wear those blood-restricting bottoms. Put them in the front of your closet to remind yourself of your goals. Try them on from time to time to allow you to see where you are in your wellness journey. Once you can fit into them without holding your breath, wear them! That feeling of confidence reflects accomplishment that goes deeper than any number on a scale.”

RELATED: 3 Tips to Fulfilling Your New Year’s Resolutions

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