Chlorophyll, fruitarianism, turmeric lattes – Savoir Flair covered all of the best health and wellness trends in 2016, but a new crop is already emerging for 2017. However, not everything that gets recommended by the online health community will be right for you, which is why we suggest a deep dive into your personal goals for the year ahead before deciding what your New Year’s resolutions should be.
With self-scrutiny at an all-time high at the beginning of every new year, now is the perfect time to investigate the dos and don’ts of health and wellness. But instead of making a rigid list of resolutions, we suggest trying a different approach – embracing health and wellness tips that will help you year-round as opposed to just that first (sometimes unrealistically) ambitious month. Read on for seven dos and don’ts to live by in 2017.
Do: Revisit Your Eating Schedule
All our lives, we’ve had it hammered into our heads that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” – but what if that isn’t true? You might be shocked to learn the slogan actually derives from a 1944 marketing campaign by Grape-Nuts cereal in order to – you guessed it – sell more cereal.
Throughout human history, breakfast was not a standard or routine meal. In fact, Romans usually only ate once a day, while medieval Europe regarded breakfast as a luxury for the rich elite. Instead of focusing all of your attention on eating a healthy breakfast, try the Japanese eating schedule that calls for a small breakfast, medium lunch, and large dinner, thereby reversing the old adage “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”. Your main nutrition goal should be reasonable and well-balanced portions that culminate in a protein- and nutrient-dense supper that will carry your body through into the next day.
Don't: Body Shame
Between Hollywood, television, and social media, an onslaught of beautiful bodies can cause internal shame. Human beings are comparative creatures by nature, which means when we see Bella Hadid strutting the Victoria’s Secret catwalk, even the fittest among us will be tempted to compare physiques. However, body shaming is a complete waste of time and can lead to mental anguish by (falsely) convincing us that our ideal self and real self are not in alignment. Instead of body shaming yourself – or others – focus on your positive attributes and make realistic goals about what you would like to change. Everyone’s abilities, metabolism, and genetic makeup are different, so ditch the idea that there’s a one-size-fits-all weight for everyone, and take pride in your natural beauty.
Don't: Juice Cleanse
Don’t get us wrong, we love juice! Juicing is a great way to extract nutrients from fruits and vegetables, which have proven health benefits like aiding digestion and improving your complexion. We can’t argue with those results! However, juice cleansing is a form of fad dieting that has been quite popular in the past two years. Unfortunately, it does not yield lasting results, and nutritionists argue that juice cleanses are neither effective nor safe because of their lack of proteins and other necessary nutrients. Juice also puts your blood sugar into overdrive – similar to soda – and can cause “sugar crashes” that result in headaches and overall lethargy. We completely advocate replacing a small meal or snack with a delicious juice, but ditch the seven-day cleanses. They’re just plain bad for you.
One of the single best things you can do for your mind and body is meditation. Make mindfulness and serenity your highest priorities in 2017, and reap mental, physical, and emotional rewards in return. Studies show that meditation is an amazing practice that can decrease blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve skin disorders. Additionally, meditation can aid with memory retention, mental focus, mental acuity, creative thinking, and problem solving. If you don’t know where to start, there is a terrific app called Headspace that guides you through ten-minute sessions every day, so replace the morning social-media scroll with mindful meditation.
Don't: Avoid Fats
For decades, fat has gotten a bad rap, especially since many assume that the ingestion of fat leads to weight gain. While there is absolutely such a thing as “bad fat” found in artery-clogging trans fats, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes, there is also such a thing as “good fat” found in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Good fats are found in nut-based oils like peanut, coconut, and sunflower oils, as well as avocados and most nuts. Not only are these types of fats good for you, but they also have preventive properties – they can help prevent heart disease, strokes, arthritis, and other illnesses.
Intermittent fasting (IF) goes back to the idea that breakfast really isn’t the most important meal of the day, as most intermittent fasters see the best results when they forego breakfast, aiming to eat a healthy lunch and dinner instead. IF is exactly what it sounds like: small fasting intervals that last from 12 to 18 hours, often performed every other day as opposed to every day. This means that even while you are on an IF schedule, you are still eating every day. Not only does IF speed up the weight-loss process, but it also helps build lean muscle mass and decrease body fat because your body is depleting fat stores throughout the duration of the fast. IF is not a starvation diet – in fact, it’s not a diet at all, but rather a pattern of eating. In order to conduct an intermittent fast, simply have your dinner no later than 8 p.m. and then don’t eat again until noon or later the next day. Many people do this by accident anyway, but with intent and healthy-meal planning, IF can be an effective tool in battling weight-loss plateaus. It can also increase your metabolism and fat-burning mechanisms.
Don't: Give Up
Even the best-laid plans can go awry. You could develop the best health and fitness plan ever, sticking to it for months before a sudden case of the flu strikes or you find yourself in the middle of a horrible break-up – there will always be setbacks that could get in the way of your wellness goals. Humans are excuse machines and, if you find your goals difficult to reach, you may give yourself permission to cheat on your diet or skip the gym for a week. If your cheat day turns into a cheat week, your ankle gets sprained at the gym, or you have a rough day at the office, you will:
1) not beat yourself up over it.
2) make it a priority to get back on track.
When in doubt, meditate and bring mindfulness to your issues, and you will find it much easier to right the ship and get back on course. The most disciplined person you know still has bad days so, if that happens, be gracious with yourself and choose to persevere despite the odds.