This time of year brings an overload of in-your-face commercials and advertisements about New Year’s resolutions, diet, and exercise. With tips raining from sensible to absurd, it’s difficult to know where to begin. You want to be healthier without losing your sanity, self-esteem, or social life. Crazy diets that lead to yo-yo dieting are not the answer!

Getting a little more exercise every day, drinking more water, and getting plenty of sleep are all simple steps in the right direction.

Getting started may be easier than you think! Here’s a few simple tips from a fitness instructor with more than 15 years of experience, EAPC’s own fitness nut, Melanie. These are basic, everyday things you can start doing right now!

Be mindful of what you put into your body!

Stick to eating whole, unprocessed foods including whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Try to stay away from foods with no nutritional value. It doesn’t hurt to educate yourself on what qualifies as junk food… it isn’t just fried food and candy; everything from sauces to supplements can be loaded with high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and trans fats, so it’s essential you know what you are putting in your mouth. A little food for thought. 🙂

During meals, fill up on greens first.
They’re packed with fiber and water volume, both of which help you to stay full and regular. So, you’ll find that you naturally begin to eat less of other less healthy food groups. Greens are also high in antioxidants, which fight inflammation, that nasty process linked to obesity. Drinking water is important for all cellular functions, and hydration aids in weight loss. Keep a water bottle close by and aim for 64 ounces a day. Stay away from sugary beverages that don’t have any nutritional value… don’t drink your calories. Except for the occasional glass of wine or beer. Everything in moderation!

Don’t skip out on breakfast.
You need to have a good balance of important nutrients early in the day. Skipping out may cause you to overeat at lunch and make other poor food choices throughout the day. Examples of good breakfast choices include oatmeal with berries or scrambled eggs with veggies. Enjoy a cup of coffee but don’t overload with all of the extras such as sugary syrups and heavy creamers. Clean caffeine, when consumed in moderation, can benefit you throughout the day, improving brain function and athletic performance.

Make it a goal to increase your daily activity!
Vacuuming, putting away laundry, and other ways of cleaning the house all contribute to your daily exercise. And, whether you’re with your kids, your spouse, the dog, or doing yard work, simply going outside is an easy way to get more exercise! In the cold weather season with the outside option not always available, you need to seek other ways to get your body moving. Check out your local fitness center and see what it has to offer. If being a gym rat isn’t your thing, research some workouts to do at home or purchase a DVD that is suitable to your style. There are even fitness channels now available on your smart TV or computer that you can subscribe to with endless choices for workouts. Set an exercise schedule that fits into your life, doesn’t leave you exhausted and starving, and something you might actually stick to.

When you have the option, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. It gets your heart rate up and those steps will add up quickly! Taking the stairs will give you a burst of energy and if you do it regularly, it will make your legs stronger as well. When you’re looking for a spot to park, choose a spot further away than you normally would. You’ll spend less time getting frustrated hunting for a closer spot!

If you spend much of your day sitting at a desk, make sure you take frequent breaks to get up and walk or stretch, even if only for a minute. Another trick to get more steps is to walk while you’re on a call on your cell phone. If you have the option, get an adjustable work station so you can stand instead of sit while you work!

Healthy living is not a destination, it is a way of life. After you get into the groove and give it some time, it won’t feel like you have to try so hard. A little progress each day adds up to big results!