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Health resolutions you shouldn’t put off until the New Year

After 10 years in the TV biz and 8 years as a competitive boxer, all my passions collide to bring a fresh, fun and often sassy perspective on all things fitness and lifestyle.

What is it about our culture and its overwhelming emphasis on milestones? Take retail patterns as an example. As soon as the clock hits midnight on Nov. 1, shelves that were once filled with witches' hats are immediately replaced with Santa hats.

Boxes of twinkle lights are instantly traded for Boxing Day bargains. And, the markdowns are soon swapped for the countdown before the whole world sees red for the entire month of February. My point here is not to rag on big-ticket holidays. Please, any excuse to dress in theme! But, I do think that we've been conditioned to wait for special events to do special things. We hold out for Valentine's Day to get romantic. We look forward to our birthdays (or in my case, Birth week!) to be spoiled. And we use New Year's Eve as an excuse to get glam, drink too much and make resolutions. My question is, why do we rely on the calendar to dictate our lives? We shouldn't need to use Hallmark holidays as a reminder to get busy with our partners. We should all be spoiled all the time, just because. We should never, ever need an excuse to throw on a cocktail dress and drink a few too many. And, we shouldn't need ringing in a new calendar year to prompt us to set goals. Why wait for Jan. 1 to make positive life changes? Well, the days of being a slave to the schedule are over... here are some easy health and fitness resolutions you can make today!

1. Get more sleep

First, let's talk about the importance of sleep. You've heard it time and again, sleep is the center of our health. It dictates our mood, our energy, our appearance and our hormones! Getting more sleep means burning more calories at rest, making more healthy choices and losing more weight! Um, need I say anymore? OK, I know it seems like the holiday season is the absolute worst time to attempt getting more rest. There are parties to attend, presents to shop for, homes to decorate and eggnog to drink. I get it. But, even if your schedule is busier than you're used to and you're out late more than usual, there are a few easy habits you can implement now that will make a difference.

Don't take your phone to bed

After nearly a decade in an industry that requires you to be a slave to your smartphone (entertainment gossip never sleeps), I've actually realized that there is no email that can't wait for the morning. Not even finding out that Brad left Jen! Unless you're an on-call brain surgeon, there is really no reason to check your phone in bed. It will only bring stress between the sheets, making it more difficult to shut down the mind and actually fall asleep. It's also been proven that the light from our phones can throw off our sleep cycles, confusing our bodies about whether it's day or night and leading to a less restful slumber altogether. So, even if you're home late and think the night is a write-off, shut off your phone before you hit the sack. You'll get more rest than expected and get a head start on the phone-detox process.

Turn off the TV

Similar to checking our phones, watching TV in bed is not a productive nighttime habit. We will often stretch our bedtimes later to catch the end of a funny flick and even after we shut it down, the stimulation from the screen will inevitably keep us up longer anyway. Opt for a book instead of a blockbuster and you will certainly buy yourself a little more time in dreamland.

2. Drink more water

Just like sleep, water is an unsung hero of healthy living and weight loss. We should all be drinking at least six to eight glasses of H20 every day. But, often what we should do is not what we actually do. The late nights of the holidays often cause us to overload on caffeine and under deliver on water. Also, during the festive season, happy hour usually trumps hydration hour. I'm not saying put down the chocolate martini, but just adding one small cup of water before every meal will make a huge difference in our health and eating habits. It will help with portion control because it makes us feel satiated sooner. It helps with appetite suppression, as sometimes we think we're hungry but really what we need is a big fat glass of H20! If we're drinking water, that means we're not drinking a high-sugar alternative, saving us those excess calories. On top of that it's been shown to improve mood, happiness and increase energy. Yeah, it's pretty much a no-brainer. #TeamWater

3. Have more sex

Sometimes wellness advice can be annoying, overwhelming and unfavourable... I'm thinking this is not one of those moments. Simply, the tip is to have more sex! Whether it's intimacy with a partner, or with that accessory in your naughty drawer, a little lovin' goes a long way when it comes to benefits to the body. Besides the calories we burn when we're gettin' down (on average 100 calories every 30 minutes), there are a slew of other sweet side effects that come with it. For one, sex reduces the body's production of cortisol, the stress hormone that can bring our metabolism to a standstill. Less cortisol means easier weight management and just a more pleasant mood altogether. Getting busy can also be incredible for self-esteem and body image. The more we love our bodies, the more motivation we have to make healthy choices and stick with them. To compound the correlation, the better we feel about ourselves, the better sex feels! Now that's a resolution I can get behind.

Image: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/SheKnows
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