It’s September, which means the end of summer vacations, margaritas by the pool, and late-night BBQs. For most people, it’s also back-to-school, back to the routine and a good time to get back on track with our healthy living objectives.
With that said, here is a 7 day plan anyone can follow to regain their healthy habits!
Day 1: Forget everything and move on
What’s done is done; there’re no point reminiscing, judging, or feeling guilty about that ice cream sandwich you ate last night. Doing so will just make you feel worse. In a year, you eat about 1100 meals. Even if you go crazy during your 2-week vacation, you’re only doing so for 42 meals. That’s less than 4% of meals and that’s considering you overindulged at all your meals! So that extra drink at the beach on your vacation or slice of cake at your friend’s wedding isn’t the reason you’re not reaching your goals. So forget about it and focus on the good habits you’ll be creating now!
Day 2: Plan
One of the most important steps into getting back on track is planning. With the busy fall work schedule and the kids’ after-school classes, there is less time for us to prepare all of the week’s meal and snacks. Make sure to have a PLAN for everything!!! I can’t stress this enough. Not only do you need to write down a plan and stick to it, you also want to have a plan B waiting for you in the freezer in case something unexpected happens!
Click here for meal planning tips.
Day 3: Make delicious homemade meals and snacks
It’s time to break your habit of buying prepared foods and start cooking! Meals and snacks don’t need to be complicated to be delicious. A snack can simply be grapes and crackers, an apple and peanut butter or plain popcorn. Make it your goal to bring lunch to work at least 3 times per week.
Need some inspiration for recipes? Visit www.cookspiration.com to view their recipes or download the app!
Day 4: Sleep (and try to look as cute as this cat doing so)
It is recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Getting enough sleep can improve your immune system, improve focus and concentration, and aid in muscle recovery. If you are struggling to reach these numbers, there are a few things you can do:
- Set up to wake up and got to bed at the same time every day;
- Turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime;
- Avoid having a large meal late at night;
- Limit caffeine and alcohol.
Day 5: Load up with plant foods
Plant foods are high in fiber, which will keep you feeling fuller, longer. Plant foods include fruit, vegetables, whole grain products like whole wheat bread and pasta, and legumes. Not only that, but plant foods are usually lacking when we’re on vacation or around a BBQ. Try to have at least 1 meatless meal/week by replacing your animal protein with beans, lentils or tofu. Also make sure to make half your plate vegetables to fill you up and to fill the plate!
Day 6: Drink more water
You need to re-hydrate after all of those cocktails by the pool! There is no magic number for the amount of water to drink per day, so the best indicator of your hydration status is the color of your urine (click here to see the chart). The darker the color, the more water you need to drink. It’s as easy as that. But what’s not so easy, is remembering to get those glasses of water in. Some tips to get into the habit of drinking regularly include carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go, keeping a glass of water on your desk, or even setting a reminder every hour to drink a few sips of water.
Day 7: Move
Did you spend most of your vacation sitting at the beach, around the pool or on your couch catching up on all your favorite Netflix shows? If you did (and even if you didn’t), then it’s time to get up and get moving! The minimum amount of exercise per week that is recommended is 2.5 hours, or 30 minutes 5x/week. If you’re not normally moving around every day, start slowly and gradually, every little bit counts!
Now repeat these things every day and every week! But make sure not to make make too many changes at once and go at your own pace. What you want is progress, not perfection. Nobody can be perfect, but you can be better than you were before 🙂