For the past few days, I keep seeing posts about magic cleanses, 'Dry January' and other extreme diets that YOU MUST START NOW. The past few months were full of salted apple caramel pie, washed down with gin gimlets and now all of a sudden, DIET is everywhere.
Personally, I started New Year's Day with a four mile jog, followed by home-cooked french toast with smoked salmon for brunch. During any time of the year, I think that is what life should be about: balance.
My problem with cleanses and extreme dieting is that it is not a sustainable (or happy) way to live. To go on a December binge full of spiked eggnog, proscittuo and bacon, and then just green juice for the first 2 weeks of January, will cause your metabolism (and possibly mind) to go crazy. As a former restrictive eater, I have a huge problem with promoting fasts. Starving, I mean, juicing for 5 days will only make you want to binge. It is like anything in life; we want what we can't have. If you deny yourself breakfast, lunch and dinner for 5 days, all you will think about is bagels, cheesy sandwiches and big bowls of pasta.
12 Things You Should Do in January (and every month of the entire year):
1. Eat when you feel hungry.
2. Don't eat when you aren't hungry.
3. Start the day with a protein and fiber-rich breakfast. It helps if you choose one or two breakfasts and just alternate. No one wants to do that much thinking at 7 a.m. Be prepared ahead of time.
4. Start an exercise regimen that is realistic for the long term. Keep with it, even when you don't want to. It may help to enter an exercise plan into your calendar. Treat a spin class as you would an important business meeting or phone call.
5. Try to form/set some sort of sleep schedule. Without adequate sleep, your metabolism slows down AND you will be craving sugary foods the entire next day.
6. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Buy a water bottle and keep it close to you.
7. Moderate Alcohol. Enjoy it, but don't enjoy it too much.
8. Limit processed foods. Eat fresh, whole & "real" whenever possible.
9. If you go overboard on Sunday, cut back a little on Monday.
10. Carry healthy snacks. If you're prepared, you will be less likely to make an impulsive decision that leads to an empty bag of Doritos.
11. Try the 'Ten Minute Rule." After one plate at dinner, stop, waiting 10 minutes. Listen to your body for the next few minutes. You likely will decide you do not want a second plate after ten minutes. If you still want it, have it.
12. If you find yourself constantly overeating, try to figure out the emotional root of why. Deal with the emotion, feel the emotion, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, instead of numbing it with salt and donuts.
Happy New Year! May it bring everyone what they hope for.