New Year’s resolutions: Is there anything in the world so difficult to adhere to in this golden era of eating and drinking? If you’re like us, you need an extra serving of help and a splash of guidance when it comes to hunkering down and being healthy—resolution or no.
Nutritionist, wellness expert, and celebrity health coach Kelly LeVeque is on hand to offer a few achievable tips on our path to personal wellness. Best-selling author of Body Love and Body Love Every Day: Choose Your Life-Changing 21-Day Path to Food Freedom and busy mom of two, Kelly’s food philosophy espouses inclusion, not exclusion, at meals, and (of course) we’re fans. This month, she’ll join Bobby Flay, Fit Men Cook’s Kevin Curry and others at our first-ever Virtual Wellness Retreat for a weekend of health, self-care and fitness inspiration.
Read on to snag Kelly’s top tips for keeping your resolutions, adding something healthful to every meal (as opposed to taking away the good stuff), and being a little gentler with yourself.
1. Keep Resolutions Small and Doable
When the new year hits, people pick big goals, says Kelly, which become “unsustainable when life happens: They feel bad about themselves; it can affect their confidence; they give up.” So keep your goals reasonable. Start with changing your breakfast habits; then move on to lunch. “If you can start to feel proud of yourself and applaud your effort, you’re more likely to repeat that effort because of the dopamine release in your brain,” she notes.
2. Skip the Guilt
Being negative “hurts your self-esteem and lowers your chances that you’ll be successful eating healthfully,” says Kelly. Think about how you want to live, but “be flexible,” she says. Leave guilt in the rearview mirror, and just think, “What do I want to do moving forward?”
3. Remember That the Only Constant Thing is Change
“Balance is movement,” Kelly reminds us, so be kind to yourself. “You’re gonna have a day when you work out a little bit more, and then you’re gonna have a day when you eat the cookie out of your kid’s lunchbox.” And that’s completely OK.
4. Try for the Fab Four® at Every Meal
Kelly espouses reaching for protein, fat, fiber, and leafy greens or veggies deep in color at every meal. She calls these the Fab Four®. So if you’re out for Italian food with family for the holiday and folks have ordered chicken Parm and pasta for the table? No problem: You order a side of charred broccoli and leafy greens for everyone, too. The result? “You’re proud of yourself for adding rather than depriving.”
5. Think About Foundational Habits and Take Ownership
Some clients come to Kelly and say, ““I don’t care; I don’t want to think about it; tell me what to eat.” She sees less success with those folks, health-wise. “Everyone’s looking for answers from everyone else,” she says, and “not looking inside themselves.” Really think about being flexible and listening to your body when it comes to how you want to live. That’s why she suggests doing the Fab Four® for just one meal daily rather than change up the whole day on the new year. “We have to make a foundational habit before we go on to the next. It’s like adding bricks to your healthy foundation.”
6. Consider the Four Pillars of Health
Food isn’t the only component in building your way towards health, of course. “The basics I’m looking for with a client are getting consistent around food, working out, sleep, and mental wellness,” says Kelly. That last group could include quality time with family and friends, meditation practice, journaling, or something similar. “Those are the four pillars, so what is your priority? Keep your priority really simple and strategic and defined. Let’s pick the one thing you’re gonna be good at: You’re not gonna have a fat-free smoothie every day.”
Take it from there, be kind to yourself, and love your body this year.