Here in the Pacific Northwest, even early spring can look a little dismal, not to mention January when many of us set our annual resolutions to get healthy. The skies are cloudy, it rains off and on, and well, it isn’t the most inspiring scene to get out and explore new ideas about food and exercise.
Before you throw your motivation to move and eat more healthfully in the recycle bin, think about ways to keep yourself motivated when the gray and wet weather makes you want to curl up on the couch and watch another episode of Jersey Shore.
Ask yourself, ‘what do I want my life to look like?’ Can you even imagine a life where you have boundless energy, eat delicious and healthy foods and maintain a healthy weight? Do you truly believe that this is possible? Every morning, while brushing your teeth (come on, what else do you have to do?!) close your eyes and see in your mind’s eye the person you want to be. Feel her boundless energy, her excitement for life… now open your eyes and look in the mirror. She’s right there. That same person you imagined is right in front of you, she just hasn’t come into her full potential… yet.
Never Stop Learning
Take an art class. Try yoga. Just get out and learn something, anything new. As human beings we are creatures of habit, and when given the option for either novelty or routine, many of us choose routine. To give yourself a little nudge convince a friend to attend an exercise class with you. The Fitness Center at Valley Medical Center offers Zumba, a hot Latin dance workout that makes exercise fun. Want to start small? Pick up a Sunset magazine and choose a healthy recipe from the panoply of gorgeous food photography featuring local and seasonal ingredients. Or try a recipe with an ingredient you’ve never used before. There are myriad ways to bring color into your workout, your kitchen and into your life amidst the drizzly Northwest weather.
Treat Yourself Kindly
Consider how much you do every day for others? If you’re a mother, most of your life is devoted to taking care of family. Even without children, we often have demands placed on us by spouses, elderly parents or a stressful job. Take time for yourself, and treat your body and mind to the kindness you would normally reserve for others. Tonight, when you go home for dinner, sit at the dinner table even if you’re by yourself. Take a deep breath. Light a candle. Use the “good china” that is normally reserved for guests. If you’re eating a frozen meal or soup heated from a can, it may seem silly but it truly isn’t. You deserve this experience. Turn off the television, close the magazine. Eat slowly and with intention. Taste your food. This is kindness. This is mindfulness. If we don’t treat ourselves as the most important person in the world, who will?
Make 2012 your year to celebrate yourself. Breathe deeply, visualize, try something new and above all, be kind to yourself. Your food choices and exercise habits can only begin to change from this foundation. You deserve it!