Who's ready for the new year and a better you? I am excited to continue my journey of life, to better myself in all areas and I can't wait to keep making memories from all types of experiences. I still expect challenges to come into my life and I feel every day I get stronger (in mind and body) at learning how to overcome obstacles and maintain a balanced lifestyle.
I am really looking forward the upcoming year in so many ways but I know that with all my goals that I have in front of me, I can not expect to reach any of them without hard work and consistency. Now, when I mention this word "hard work", there is a special appreciation that I have for hard work. I suppose hard work comes with sacrifices and discipline but the work that I put forth to reach my goals does not sabotage my enjoyment for an active and healthful life. My mission every day is to make for a better tomorrow so although sometimes I may not be feeling "it" at the moment, I know whatever I choose to do is helping me for a better tomorrow and to get me closer to my goals. I always think "big picture."
I wrote my latest Iron Girl article on a topic that I feel has been really helpful for my own personal journey of living a balanced lifestyle and more than appropriate for the start of the new year. We love to talk the talk of reaching goals but as we all know, it's hard to keep up the motivation and desire to work, work, work to reach those goals, day in and day out. When you love something, it doesn't feel like work but let's be honest, we all have our up and down days.
As athletes, we all know about fear-based training when you put off the work to make progress overtime and feel pressure to squeeze in those last minute workouts or long miles because the big race is approaching. If you are focused on body composition, it's likely that you've said "oh well" a few too many times but when you get fed up or feel frustrated or stressed, you take it out on your body and wish for a quick fix to happen yesterday.
I believe that the best tool in your handbag is to create a positive environment to move you closer to diet, health and fitness goals. This is something that needs to be done daily for every day is different. To accomplish things in life, you have to have the pieces in order to put together the puzzle. Don't just wish for the finish project because you can imagine what it will look like. Be sure to dedicate time to create your own personal positive environment whether it is at work, home or elsewhere. Believe me when I say that your life will become so much more enjoyable because you will stop the hoping and wishing and find yourself actually getting things done and enjoying the process.
Creating a Positive Home Environment
By Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
When it comes to improving health-related habits, it’s important to create a positive environment that allows for change. We live in a society in that we are constantly being told what to do but without the right tool-set, it’s hard to put the pieces together in order to create long-lasting habits.
If you can’t run 5 miles today, how can you expect to run 10 miles at a race next weekend? Long-term habits require small daily changes. Small changes will bring you closer to a better way of living but never forget that you cannot rush the process.
In welcoming the New Year, you are likely excited, motivated and committed to work hard for your goals. Hard work is a concept that should be applied year round but it can become quite tiresome if you expect to make extreme changes in one week and hope that they last for the next 11 months.
Understanding that food should fuel your active lifestyle and exercise should help keep your body in optimal health, here are a few tips to help you create a positive home environment in order to keep you on track throughout the New Year.
-If you want to bring your lunch to work, invest in quality Tupperware to make it easier to plan for leftovers at dinner, for lunch the next day.
-If you struggle with eating a variety of fresh foods on a daily basis, keep 1 leafy green, 2 washed veggies and 2-3 washed whole fruits in the refrigerator at eye level to make it easy for daily meal prep. To avoid spoilage, pre-slice/chop 2-3 cups of fresh veggies/fruit once or twice a week for easy snacking or for a quick salad. Non-seasoned frozen or bagged fruits/veggies are acceptable choices to make it easier with these new changes.
-If you struggle to stay hydrated, prepare 3 x 16-20 ounce water bottles in your refrigerator every day, to make it easy to stay hydrated before, during and after workouts.
-If you currently eat out 4 or more times a week, try to reduce that number in half. Recognize the value of eating food prepared at home and gradually work on reducing your intake of restaurant/fast food so that eating out becomes a special occasion, not a daily habit.
-If you struggle with portion sizes, re-think your dishes. Use large bowls for plant-strong meals and smaller dishes for more calorie-dense options. Occasional treats like cereal or ice cream for “dessert” can be portioned-controlled in a small coffee cup.
-If you have a weight-related goal, let your lifestyle be your guide and not the scale. It is recommended to weigh yourself no more than 3 times per week, understanding that body weight fluctuates 3-5 lbs on any given day. Consider what you are able to do with your amazing body as you work toward your weight-related goal instead of directing all your energy on a number on a scale.
-If you are committed to working out/exercising 7 days a week, strive for three days of quality workouts at a moderate – high intensity (be sure to consult with your physician prior to starting a new or returning to an exercise program). The other days should include walking, yoga or any type of movement that will also help your body become more metabolically active.
-If you struggle with getting out of bed in the morning to exercise, lay out your clothes (and charged gadgets) the night before. Prepare the coffee, make your breakfast and lunch and lay out your work clothes as well before bed in order to enjoy a non-rushed morning routine.
Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to IronGirl.com, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.