The time for making official New Year's resolutions may have passed, but it's never too late to reshape and revitalize your lifestyle. Below are 13 of the health and lifestyle guidelines I implement in my daily life and routine, and if you begin to adopt some or all of these tips, 2013 could be your body's best year yet.
1. Get more sleep.
Aim for at least eight hours every night. You should also try to schedule time for rest or solitude, even if it's just five minutes a day. It will maximize your quality of life and cement a good relationship between you and your body.
2. Hydrate -- water, water, water -- whenever you can!
Limit caffeine to once daily (before lunch) MAX. If you are feeling anxious or you can't sleep well, cut it completely for a week or two and see the difference!
3. Start your day with a good breakfast.
Your breakfast should be rich in protein and good fats. A smoothie is the ultimate breakfast in my eyes, since it keeps blood sugars stable and allows for easy absorption of vitamins and minerals.
4. NEVER consume artificial sweeteners or diet sodas.
5. Cut back on the consumption of gluten-containing foods.
One great way to reduce your gluten intake is to choose gluten-free complex carbs like brown rice, quinoa, legumes, pumpkin, and beans.
6. Reduce your stress.
Find a technique that works best for you and practice a stress reliever daily. Some examples of good stress relievers include meditation, deep breathing, yoga, chi gong, walking, barefoot walking, tea, and reading. Choose anything! This will keep your adrenal glands healthy and your hormones balanced.
7. Try to exercise four to five times per week, 30 to 45 minutes each session.
Keep your body moving in your favorite way. I am very against boot camp and pushing the body to any kind of extreme (sorry, guys). I love interval training, weight training, Pilates, yoga, and a 30-minute jog, and I walk on the weekends (whenever I can, really) because I love the fresh air and it clears my mind.
On this note: Change your mentality. Stop exercising because "you will lose weight if you do." Stop putting pressure on yourself. Exercise because it is a mood booster, mind clearer, and is healthy for your heart!
8. Learn to love your veggies.
Eat them with every meal. Aim to have five servings of mixed veggies every day. Get those B vitamins! I try to have at least two vegetarian meals per week, as I feel my body does well with the occasional break from animal protein.
9. Eat through the rainbow.
Variety! I know how easy it can be to get stuck on a particular food and repeat it for months, but please change it up -- especially your breakfast.
10. Chew your food.
Stop inhaling it. Practice mindful eating. I am committed to sitting down and eating my meals in a calm state for optimal digestion and absorption.
11. Put technology to bed.
Switch off your electronic devices by 9pm and put your phone on airplane mode away from your head. Please!
12. Wake up with a delicious ritual.
Here's a good example: Open eyes, stretch, smile, give thanks, drink your lemon water, refresh. Then you can check your phone and emails. This will set a good tone for your day.
13. Get organized on a Sunday!
Or whichever day suits you best. Stock your fridge and pantry as best as you can for the week. This really keeps me on track and supports my healthy eating.