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The 5 health and fitness resolutions you need to make

Health and fitness resolutions need not be complicated affairs, complete with pricey gym memberships, organic meal delivery and juice fasts. Take a step back and focus on simplicity instead.

We’re not joking; there are a few small but important changes you can make as the New Year approaches that will have you set for a happier, healthier and fitter 2013.

1. Say no to soda

Put down the can of carbonated sugar (for real) and promise yourself to stop buying soda this year. Not only is it totally devoid of nutrients, all those empty calories add up surprisingly fast. There are 150 calories in a can of Pepsi. If you’re drinking several cans or opting for larger fountain-style sodas, that number can skyrocket. To avoid excess sugar and calories, say no to soda. Drink water instead or water flavored with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Don’t have citrus fruits on hand? Keep some packets of True Citrus on hand (try lemon, grapefruit or orange for starters) to add to your water or sparkling water. These little packs are all-natural, calorie-free and full of flavor.

2. Cook more (with fresh food)

If you really want to put your health first and lose weight (or maintain it), promise yourself that you’ll get reacquainted with your kitchen — and not just in a reheating things kind of way. Adding more fresh produce to your grocery list is a sure-fire way to look and feel better. The fewer processed foods you eat and the less frequently you grab food on the go, the more opportunity you’ll have to load up on fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables. Not sure where to start? SheKnows has tons of recipes for healthy meals, from appetizers to snacks to mains. You can also hit up culinary-minded pals for advice on how to use all your newly purchased goodies.

3. Walk everywhere you can

No, you don’t need to get a gym membership (again) this year. All you need to do to keep the weight off is to walk more. And we don’t mean just from your car to the office or to the corner store and back (although every little bit counts). We mean vowing to walk briskly for at least 40 minutes a day, more when you have time. This could take the form of longer walks with the dog, walking to meet friends instead of driving, walking to work or implementing a post-dinner family walk at least three nights a week. All you need is a good pair of shoes or boots and you’re set for a year of extra calories burned.

4. Ditch the scale

We know what you’re thinking: If you don’t have a scale, how will you keep track of weight loss goals? To that we say, numbers don’t really matter. What matters is how you feel. If your only concern is getting the number on the scale to budge, you won’t be focused on long-term health and fitness. Instead of basing your goals on being a certain size or weighing a certain number of pounds, just make a promise to yourself to make healthy choices to do something active every day.

5. Get outdoors once a day

Another easy way to ensure you get moving daily in some form is to get your fresh air. It might be cold where you live, but that’s no excuse to stay indoors. Take up an outdoor activity like skating, cross country skiing or snowboarding, or take your workout outdoors. Fresh air is great for your mood and your health, no matter the season. Invest in the right gear to keep you warm and dry, and get outside!

More health and fitness tips

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The 12-day fitness challenge
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