you had great intentions

First came the quarantine 15, then came the holiday weight. But that was ok, you were getting serious in January. It was just that, between trying to teach your kids how to add fractions and the parts of speech (seriously, what?) there hadn’t been a whole lot of time to focus on getting all your daily servings of fruits and veggies. But it just hasn’t panned out.

If you’ve struggled out of the gate, you’re not alone. Nearly 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. That’s almost as bad as the TSA’s ability to screen potential threats. (Don’t look that statistic up. It’s real, but disturbing.) So, let’s re-set together. We’ve got a list of 4 simple steps you can take towards a healthier lifestyle that will be easy to start working into your daily routine immediately and get you back on track for your goals.

1) Evaluate yourself. (And be honest.)

If you’ve been barely clinging to sanity all day before collapsing on the couch once the kids are finally in bed only to binge-watch Netflix or smoke noobs on Call of Duty every night for the last 10 months, chances are not good that you’ll manage to change that to spending 5 nights a week going hard at the gym just because the calendar flipped. If you can, please do so (and remember the rest us mere mortals).

So be honest with yourself. Where is your health at right now? Consider areas like sleep, diet, exercise, and even mental health. Focus on some small steps you can easily take that will help you get where you need to be.

2) Drink some water

For many of us, the most water we’ll drink between waking up and going to bed is whatever we accidently swallow while brushing our teeth. Seriously, something around 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. And for those who are drinking enough water, the volume of dehydrating beverages and foods (coffee, alcohol, and anything high in sodium) we consume more than undoes all that good.

Dehydration makes you tired. Which for most of us leads to an afternoon cup of coffee or soda. Both of these just dehydrate you more all while loading the body with more crap to dump. It also makes you a grumpier and reduces your ability to think clearly. So, by the time you’ve gone dehydrated most of the day and make it home… you might not be in the best frame of mind for say, a screaming baby. Oh, and dehydration also slows down your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight.

So yeah, water’s kind of important. Set up an easy rule for yourself. For instance, 2 glasses of water in the morning, 2 more before 5pm, 2 more before bed. Or just get one giant mug and make it your goal to finish before bed. Whatever works for you, just make sure you’re drinking some water. A good general rule: If your pee isn’t white, you’re not drinking right.

3) Shop with a purpose.

The first time I found myself in a grocery store with a credit card and realized there was no adult supervision, it was chaos. I put everything in the cart.

Triple fudge ice cream? Got it.

Reese’s Puff cereal? Of course.

Cookies? Naturally.

Seriously, by the time I got home and put everything away, it looked like Candyland exploded in my cupboards. Turns out, I was the supposed to be my own supervision. What a scam. Shopping with kids doesn’t necessarily improve things. Dinosaur chicken nuggets and sugary cereals still have a way of showing up in the cart.

Like everything in life, healthy living comes down to the Seven P’s Rule: Perfect-Prior-Planning-Prevents-Piss-Poor-Performance. You can generally estimate 21 meals in a week (even if some are little more than a snack). So, when you shop, plan for that! Having something you can realistically expect to prepare and eat for a meal will often save you from feeling like you “have” to go grab some fast food. (And not skipping meals keeps your metabolism boosted so it’s easier to lose weight yadda yadda yadda science.)

But again, be honest with yourself. If you love sweets or salty foods, get something that will satisfy your craving. Having it on hand at home will help you resist the urge to impulse buy it during this week. (This also saves you a crap ton of money so you can buy more awesome TBG stuff.)

4) Accept setbacks.

Look, if you haven’t been eating healthy or working out at all, starting down that path is going to be hard, and there will be times you just gotta have those waffle fries. Don’t let a couple rough days get you down. Every time you make a decision to eat something healthy, drink some water, or avoid some junk food, pat yourself on the back. It will make the next time easier. This is a process; don’t beat yourself up because it takes time.

Ultimately, so much of what we do as parents is for our kids. Healthy choices are no different. Making just a few more healthy decisions sets a positive example for your children to follow, while also providing you more energy and putting you in a better frame of mind for handling the day-to-day stress of parenting. So, stay healthy, and keep winning those living room wrestling matches as long as possible. But if a bowl of Fruit Loops slips in while watching the riveting drama of Peppa Pig unfold on a lazy Saturday morning with the kids, that’s ok. Just keep taking it one day at a time.

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