10 tips to refocus efforts on building healthy habits

Special to the Tampa Bay TimesJanuary 20, 2014 

Food Sandwich Shakeup Cucumber Hummus Sandwich

Reduce snacking, and when you do snack, be smart about it, such as making a cucumber hummus sandwich instead of ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly.

MATTHEW MEAD — 2011 AP file photo

Everyone faces obstacles that get in the way of achieving goals. Perhaps your workload increased and your exercise routine suffered.

But holiday-related speed bumps are different. Party invitations, tempting foods, too many cocktails and late-night partying all have the power to disturb our healthy routines. Plus, these disruptions are all packed into just a few weeks. No wonder the holidays can have such a negative impact on health goals.

But the impact will only be temporary if we calmly refocus our efforts away from the holiday distractions and back toward the big picture. These 10 steps will help you refocus your attention to a healthier lifestyle:

1 Go to the grocery store as soon as possible, and restock your kitchen with healthful options. Choose colorful foods you enjoy so you’ll want to resume your healthy eating plan.

2 Get rid of unhealthy foods still hanging around, particularly the heavily processed foods that won’t do a thing to help you reach your healthy goals.

3 Clean up your surroundings in general. Put away the holiday decorations, and give the house a good cleaning. We tend to want to get a fresh start when we feel things are clean and ordered around us.

4 Get out your calendar, and schedule daily time to be active. Mornings are best, but anytime will do – as long as you keep the appointment.

5 Get your exercise clothes organized and ready. I keep exercise clothes for all seasons in the front of my closet, in a section reserved only for them.

6 Exercise close to home. The more convenient exercise is, the more likely it will be that you will do it consistently throughout the year. Whatever you can do in your home or neighborhood is going to save you time and effort.

7 Get your sleeping back on track. Your body needs rest to heal and restore. Sleep is essential for general health and weight loss.

8 Plan some super-nutritious and easy dishes for the next few days to start the momentum of eating well. Eating healthy food will make your body and your mind feel great.

9 Reduce snacking, and when you do snack, be smart about it. Smart snacking means replacing chips and sodas with fresh fruit, carrots, hummus and other healthy protein sources.

10 Use your imagination to motivate yourself. Spend time imagining relaxing, peaceful scenes and thinking positively about yourself and your life. It’s this type of thinking that will get you excited about what the new year can bring to your life.

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