My Goals for a Healthier, Happier 2015

Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. I was compensated for my time to write this blog and share it on social media. My thoughts are my own.


Hello, 2015!

I love the New Year! While I don’t do “resolutions” in the typical sense, I think the New Year is a great time to set intentions. My commitment to health is life-long and as such, I’m always looking for ways to strengthen my health in ways that are realistic, compassionate and positive.

In my concierge private practice I help my clients focus on 3 key areas of wellness: food, fitness and fun. Borrowing from that mindset I’ve set three of my own self-care goals for a healthier and happier 2015.

Food Goal: Make “Healthy” Easier

As much as I love nutritious and delicious I don’t always have the time to prepare food from scratch. Sometimes I’m even eating on the fly and that is something I’m trying to work on too. Intuitive eating is important to me and it’s the best way for me to know when I need food and when I’ve had enough nourishment. In an effort to edge out time to sit and enjoy my food, I want to look for even more ways to make healthy eating as quick and easy as I can.

One way healthy eating can be made easy is by simplifying meals. Pairing a couple foods together in a “grab and go” style is pretty darn simple. (see my list below)

Yogurt with fruit and granola is a quick, balanced meal or snack.

Yogurt with fruit and granola is a quick, balanced meal or snack.

Whenever I’m putting a meal or snack together I think about the USDA Choose My Plate and I try to hit those components. A healthy and easy breakfast can be as simple as pairing a yogurt with fruit and granola, and it checks all the boxes of providing a balance of nutrients.

Did you know 
the 2010 Dietary Guidelines report the average American consumes only 52% of the recommended three cups of dairy per day? (Source: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Chapter 4, page 38)

Having yogurt available for a quick meal component or snack is an easy way to make sure you meet your nutrition needs. I also love using yogurts in smoothies or mixed with plain oats to add flavor and nutrients.

If there are kids in your life, consider sharing a yogurt snack with them. Currently, only 26% of teen girls meet the daily requirement for calcium.Adding yogurt as a rich source of calcium would help an additional 25% of girls get the calcium they need. (Source: NHANES 09-10, females 14-19 yrs, NCI Usual Intake Method was used to estimate % below EAR)

Here’s a list of ideas for easy food pairings:

  • any fruit with yogurt and granola
  • any fruit with cheese
  • vegetables with salsa, bean dip, or guacamole
  • eggs with vegetables and cheese
  • yogurt with plain oats and nuts or peanut butter

For more information about yogurt, calcium, and health the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition website has a section on calcium worth checking out.

Fitness Goal: Embrace Joyful Movement

Living an active life is an important ingredient of living a healthy life. Unfortunately most of us don’t get enough exercise and a big part of the problem is we don’t actually enjoy what we’re doing. I love running, but if it means getting on that “dreadmill” you can forget it. I like challenging myself in group classes, but if the instructor is going to try to “motivate” me by focusing on reducing my thighs and getting bikini body ready, I’m out.

I have learned in life that the best type of exercise is the one you actually do. You’re more likely to be consistent with exercise if you are enjoying yourself. This is why I am specifically looking for joyful movement in 2015.

Find the fun in fitness!

Find the fun in fitness!

Here’s how I’m going to do it: before I do my regular workouts, even if I’m looking forward to them, I’m going to set an intention and dedication for the exercise like a little secret gift. “I’m taking care of me today in yoga because I love my sister and I want to be there for her in every way possible.”

The other thing I’m going to do is schedule more non-traditional exercise like going hiking with my family on the weekend. Or running around or dancing with my 2 year old – things she loves to do for a loooooong time. Instead of letting these things be “what I do when I run out of time for MY workout,” I want to appreciate the joy (and health benefits) of these activities as intentional movement.

Instead of stressing about how you’re not exercising, discover ways to move your body in your everyday routines. Maybe it’s running errands on foot or dancing around the house to your favorite tunes. Focus on moving your body in ways you love—you’ll be happier and healthier.

 Fun Goal: Learn to Meditate

Fun is anything you do for yourself to help yourself feel like things are going OK and you’re generally happy. It could be a one-off viral video that makes you all warm and fuzzy (cue cute panda in the snow video) or something new you try to enhance your life. The reason why I put fun on my clients’ wellness radar is because this is the most positive way we have to prevent being overwhelmed by stress.

woman_jumping_happy

Find joy in the day to day.

Naturally, we have ways to cope with some amounts of daily stress without getting derailed. But then there are those days where life seems to blow up in our face and stress gets to the best of us. It interrupts our sleep, drains our physical and mental energy, making motivation to eat balanced and exercise even more challenging.

Having fun on a day-to-day basis is like practicing for the inevitable sh!8 storm. It strengthens our resilience so we can bounce back more easily, and hopefully control the emotional damages of the stress tornado.

There are a bagillion ways to have fun. For me, I want to experience meditation on a deeper level as a way to help keep my mind open and aware in the present moment. I tend to be one of those people who skips over appreciation and contentment in the day to day. I have to remember to enjoy the Play Doh mess everywhere because watching my daughter get creative is priceless. (Even dried up and smashed into the expensive area rug we swore we could keep clean before kids!)

If you’re interested in exploring meditation at all, I encourage you to try loving-kindness meditation (metta). It has been shown to enhance positivity and overall happiness. Or check out these free guided meditations on YouTube.

Taking some time to recharge and refresh will put you in a better frame of mind to tackle your day and enjoy yourself while you’re at it.

 Now, It’s Your Turn

I’d love to hear from you! What goals have you set to live a healthier and happier 2015? Feel free to share your comments below.


Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. I was compensated for my time to write this blog and share it on social media. My thoughts are my own.

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