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It’s a new year, which means it’s time for some new year goals! I’m going over my top 5 realistic goals to set in 2021 so you can work towards becoming a healthier you!
If you’ve made the decision that 2021 is the year for a healthier you, or maybe you’re already well into your health journey and are looking to set some fun new year goals to set, you’ve come to the right place! I’m laying out my top 5 new year goals that you can realistically achieve to help you reach better health. And, if your goal this year is weight loss (like many others), remember that optimal nutrition is the underlying key to a healthy body weight, so this is the perfect place to start!
Ready for the goals?! Let’s get into it…
Before we get into it I just want to put out a reminder to start small! The main reason why people don’t stick with their goals is because they’re not realistic. I know it’s motivating to want to make a huge change all at once, but following through is MUCH harder. I recommend just starting with ONE goal. Once you feel like you’ve been consistent with that goal for some time, add in another. Slow and steady wins the race!
If you want any help with setting goals, make sure to check out my article How to Set Goals and Actually Stick to Them, here.
Okay, NOW let’s get to the goals!
I’m definitely guilty myself of not drinking enough water. It can be tempting to drink coffee all day or, if you have a sweet tooth, sugar sweetened beverages, but staying hydrated with one of the best things you can do for your health.
Water is responsible for so many functions within out body, including delivering nutrients to cells, regulating body temperature, helping to prevent infections, keeping organs functioning properly, and so much more.
If you are working on your water intake this year, here are a few tips I recommend…
I’m ALL about eating as many fresh, whole foods as possible, and that starts with vegetables! They’re extremely nutrient dense meaning they’re higher in nutrients and lower in calories. So focusing on adding more vegetables into your day is really a great place to start when making healthy eating habits. I recommend aiming to make half your place vegetables at every meal (and snack).
If you struggle to eat vegetables because you don’t like either the taste or texture, I recommend finding easy ways to add them to meals. Here are some ways you can do this…
The newly updated 2021-2025 Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting added sugar to less than 10% of calories per day. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s about 12tsp per day… which, in my opinion, is a lot. (Go fill 1/4 measuring cup with sugar and then tell me what you think in the comments below). But, to put it into perspective, one grande vanilla latte from Starbucks is a whopping 9tsp of sugar.
At the end of day, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of sugar here and there. Paying detailed attention to every little thing you put in your mouth and restricting yourself at get-togethers because you’re trying to avoid added sugars can often cause more stress than just enjoying a treat every so often. However, the problem with sugar is that it’s hidden in A LOT of everyday foods. So starting to be mindful of how much you’re consuming on a day to day basis is beneficial. I recommend checking nutrition labels to start learning what contains sugar and what doesn’t, but here are a few common (less known) culprits to look out for…
I can’t stress this enough… the setting in which you eat can truly impact your eating habits, including how much you consume. I know that it’s extremely common to eat on-the-go or while working, and I get it – we’re all busy. I’m definitely guilty of doing this myself sometimes. BUT being distracted while eating can often lead to over consumption of food. The reason being we’re either eating very fast and not letting our hunger catch up, or we just keep munching on food here and there because we’re looking for a distraction from what we’re doing (work, school work, etc.).
With that being said, here are some “rules” for being more mindful while you eat that I find super helpful!
If you’re a creature of habit when it comes to food – aka eating the same exact breakfast everyday, buying the same exact list of groceries each week, etc. – I highly recommend trying to incorporate new and exciting foods into your diet.
Yes, eating what you’re used to can make meals quick and easy, but if you’re never expanding your palate, you could be putting a limit to the amount of nutrients your body gets. Plus, according to the world’s largest microbiome study, it’s recommended to eat about 30 different plants each week to build diversity of gut bacteria.
I know that 30 sounds like a big number, but don’t make it hard on yourself. First, figuring out how many different plants you usually eat each week. Once you have a list, add a new one each week (without removing any of the others) and before you know it you’ll be up to 30!
Let me know which goal you’re going to start with, in the comments below! And if you are looking for more advice on how to actually stick with your goals, don’t forget to check out my article here. Happy 2021!