In keeping with this month’s box theme, Go Time, we’re not going into 2014 with the goal of giving something up. Self-deprivation only makes us hungry for a mountain of sugar cookies, and scheduling back-to-back spin classes just isn’t realistic. Which is why we put together a list of small tweaks concerning that ubiquitous subject of New Year’s resolutions—our health—that we can implement right now. As in, tonight. Our list includes working out (albeit in a much more tech-savvy way), but it also makes room for us to indulge. So go ahead: Tuck into your favorite comfort foods, and sleep-in an extra hour tomorrow morning—just keep these helpful tips in mind.
Keep a Food and Drink Diary
We tried this tactic for seven days, and the results were eye-opening. Who knew that a person’s diet could consist almost entirely of Amy’s Vegetable Pie pockets and Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal? Even more alarming: the sheer number of alcoholic beverages we consumed in an average week. Numerous studies have shown that tracking what you eat can result in healthier food choices. At the very least, it inspired us to cut down on liquid calories from wine and beer.
Conk Out for Longer
In the 24-hour working world of New York City, sleeping for a full eight hours a night can make us feel like we’re suffering from an untreated case of mono by comparison. But recent research shows how badly we need those extra hours. In a series of studies, researchers at the University of Rochester found that when mice are sleeping, their brains perform a kind of mental housekeeping, clearing out neural toxins that accumulate over the course of the day. Too much toxin buildup is linked to diseases like Alzheimer’s—so consider sleeping the recommended 7-9 hours a night. And when you do wake up, do it quickly—a different study found that hitting snooze makes you feel sleepier than vaulting out of bed at the sound of your alarm.
Let Yourself Snack
It just might help you shed a few pounds. According to Haylie Pomroy, celeb nutritionist and author of The Fast Metabolism Diet, you should munch on something every 3-4 hours. Doing so helps rev your metabolism, says Pomroy, and will keep you from reaching for the really junky stuff the second your blood sugar drops. Make sure to always have a so-called “crash stash” on hand. Keep healthy snack foods—think raw nuts and seeds—within easy reach, everywhere from your car’s glove compartment to your gym bag. More snacking? You don’t have to twist our arms.
Get Off the Couch (and onto the Floor)
Don’t get us wrong—we’re psyched to try all sorts of newfangled workout classes this year. But it’s not always fun having to elbow our way into a room full of sweaty strangers. Naturally, we welcomed news of Booya Fitness. Founded by a Harvard Business School brain, the site partners with boutique fitness instructors to bring you 30-minute workouts you can do at home. Apartment-dwellers, take note: You can even filter out the videos that are most likely to disturb your neighbors.
Don’t Ditch Your Favorite Foods…
…just swap out the unhealthy ingredients, says Pomroy. If that sounds like an impossible task, we promise it’s not. You’ll just have to be slightly more creative with your grocery list, and you’ll have to skip the microwave-able options in favor of homecooked meals (and by the way, that goes for us Amy’s-lovers too.) Still skeptical? Check out Pomroy’s irresistible (and all-vegan) recipe for creamy mac ‘n’ cheese. Now get eatin’!