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Eating Clean and Exercising More Shouldn't Be Your New Year's Resolution

I hate this time of year. Not only is it cold and snow is looming, but this is the time of year when all the unqualified health and fitness 'experts' come crawling out of the woodwork. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

"Buy this product and shed fat fast!"

"Join my 30-day clean eating group!"

You guys, I've even seen this one:

"Take our new pill, it shuttles carbs straight to your booty!"

Deep down, we all know these are false claims, but I get it. Humans are drawn toward the simplest solution. Pair that with a convincing anecdote and next thing you know you've bought into the latest diet culture lie. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with wanting to work towards better health, but these claims that flood our feeds are doing the exact opposite for you.

Many of these diets (keto, clean-eating, Whole30, paleo; etc.) result in eliminating entire food groups, which ultimately lead to preoccupation with food and weight, food fear and overall disordered eating behavior. Despite what you might see on TV or social media, this isn't healthy, and unfortunately it's become the norm in our culture. Again, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with eating a modified diet to help manage a medical condition (i.e. Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac Disease, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, depression). Most Celiac's who avoid eating gluten aren't doing so because they hate bread, they're doing it because it helps them feel better.

As for exercising, moving your body is rarely a bad idea. However, trying to compensate for food you've eaten, or speed up weight loss by over-exercising can be detrimental. Generally speaking, over-exercising in combination with under-eating can down-regulate your metabolism, leading to an initial weight loss, but an even bigger weight gain later on. For women, over-exercising can lead to hormonal imbalance causing symptoms such as amenorrhea, fatigue, brain fog or weight gain. Not to mention, hangry is a very real mood.

So what should your New Year's Resolution be? If a healthier lifestyle is on your resolution list, try this is 2021:

Eat and move with intention.

What do I mean you ask? I mean be intentional with how you treat yourself.

Be intentional with your movement. If you know you're going to be sitting in an office all day, set an alarm every hour to take a lap around the building with a coworker. If you're traveling to another state in the car, get up a bit earlier and hit up a spin or yoga class. Take your dog for an extra walk each day--your pup will appreciate it too! Don't do these things out of guilt or punishment, but rather because you know you'll be more focused, level-headed, and sleep better at night. But if you're sick, or still sore from 4 days ago, maybe take 20 minutes out of your day just to stretch. Listen to your body.

Be intentional in how you fuel yourself. Focus on eating real, whole foods because you have better digestion, better satiety, and better skin and hair from the vitamins and minerals you're consuming. If you want to eat a cookie, then eat the cookie, because your daughter made them and couldn't wait to share it with you. Don't eat that 3rd or 4th cookie, not because they're 'bad for you', but because you know you'll feel sluggish and unproductive. If you're not hungry when you wake up, or at noon during 'lunch', then wait to eat until you are hungry. Even if that means you have to take a break in the middle of writing an email to grab your food from the fridge. Listen to your body.

You don't need the diets or the next new booty band. You just need to be intentional.

xo, Kristin


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