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Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?
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Because now is always the perfect time to get started on whatever it is you want or need to do. This is exactly why I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. We often find excuses for all kinds of things, from bills to cleaning out our closets — and bettering your health is no different. “I’ll begin on Monday” or “When I can afford a gym…” or “I’ll start on January 1,” are common mantras for procrastinators.
Even if you’ve given yourself permission to eat mini hot dogs and chocolate peppermint bark for the next month, I have five easy tips that will put you at least two steps ahead on January 1.
1. Start your day with protein.
Studies show that eating protein for breakfast will help increase your satiety and improve your diet overall. Though the amount of your overall food intake may stay the same, you’ll be less likely to consume high-fat snacks around dinner time and your hunger won’t be looming over you all day.
So ditch the muffin and bowl of cereal you’ve been eating since college and get your protein on.
2. Load up on fiber.
During the winter months, it’s easy to move less, eat fewer fresh fruits and veggies and skimp on your hydration. All of these factors affect (in a not-so-good way) your digestion. To keep your digestive system moving, help you stay full and control your hunger, make sure you’re eating enough fiber.
If the same old high-fiber cereal isn't doing it for you, try adding chia seeds to your morning yogurt (just 1 ounce provides 11 grams of fiber) or make a chia pudding by combining 1 cup of almond milk, ¼ cup of chia seeds and 1 teaspoon of shredded unsweetened coconut. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator and top in the morning with a half cup of berries.
3. Keep an eye on your bevvies.
Winter drinks are a main culprit of additional calories during the holiday season and all winter long. Say buh-bye to pumpkin spice lattes, spiked eggnog and hot toddies.
These seemingly innocent drinks can pile on an extra 500 calories a day — which could amount to an extra five pounds by the time the ball drops. Instead, stay hydrated with herbal tea and lighter lattes. Decide now to skip all alcoholic “sugar bomb” beverages. Instead, go for a wine spritzer or have alcohol on the rocks with a splash of lime juice or club soda.
4. Keep it simple.
Sometimes, you want to keep things simple. A little less variety in your meals and sticking to what works can help you manage time, be less tempted and stay on course with your health and weight-loss plan.
Pick two go-to healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners that you know you can prep fast. Keep those ingredients on hand at all times, and order something close to them when dining out. Commit to these meals being your go-to meals. For breakfast, you could have a hard-boiled egg with half of an avocado, or Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts. Lunch or dinner could be your favorite lean protein with a side of your two favorite veggies.
A holiday indulgence here and there, or an all-out feast one or two times won’t derail you, if you stay the course the rest of the time. If you’re looking to really take it up a notch now, following a simple 30-day meal plan can help you skip into 2017.
5. Sleep deep.
Give your zzz’s a tune up. Sleep hygiene is a powerful tool in your wellness kit because the better rested you are, the less likely you will be to overeat. Lack of sleep increases your hunger hormone in the morning and makes you crave the worst kind of foods.
RELATED: 11 ways to get to sleep faster
Even if holiday stress is making sleep more difficult, you can implement a plan now that can become habit by the new year. Establish a bedtime, create your nightly ritual (wash your face, brush your teeth, turn off all of your technology, spend a few minutes doing something calming like reading a book, journaling or meditating) and stick to it. Getting into this healthy habit now will help you manage your weight-loss goals after the holidays are over.