At the start of every year, we promise ourselves that we will ditch the diet sodas, cut calories, save more money and spend extra time with our families. And then by Feburary, we've fallen back into our same old routine. You can't expect an old habit to die overnight, just like you can't quit smoking by the weekend or lose 25 pounds before MLK day. With small changes come big results, so try out these little tips for a big impact on your life, no matter the time of year.
1. Commit. Whatever goals you may have set, you need to make a commitment. Write it out, tell your spouse, share on social media. Do whatever it takes to make you stick with it. Once you've made up your mind, it'll be easier to get started and stay on track.
2. Eat more spinach. Spinach is a leafy green that has VERY low calories but is filled with vitamins, fiber and protein. Adding spinach to your meals will help you to get healthier and fill up faster. You can easily cut it up and add it to an omelet, use it in place of lettuce on your sandwich or sauté it and add it to any sauce at dinner time. It's also a great base for a salad or smoothie.
3. Turn off your TV. The TV always seems to be on, even if you aren't paying attention. Instead of using your very small amounts of free time to watch reruns of Law and Order, use it to fit in some extra play time with the kids, read a book or try out some relaxing yoga.
4. Start waking up earlier. If you wake up 20 minutes earlier, you've got 20 more minutes of alone time, 20 minutes to make a nice breakfast, 20 minutes to prepare for your day. You can even do this quick early morning workout routine before you hop in the shower.
5. Start parking farther away. You have probably read this tip before, but have you actually started doing it? Park further away from work, at the other end of the supermarket parking lot or, if you don't have a driveway, park a block away from home. Walking more means burning more calories and that's what will help you lose weight.
6. Pack your lunch. Stop eating out when you go into the office! You are wasting money and calories. Even a healthy option at a restaurant is over sized and is probably packing extra calories. Make your own lunch or pack leftovers from the night before.
7. Check your condiments. First off, try using less ketchup, BBQ or whatever condiment you are using. Many condiments are packed with sodium and sugar so read the labels carefully and consider making your own.
8. Drink more water. Water is an essentially part of our body. It's necessary for everyday function and vital to a successful workout. It may also help you to lose weight!
9. Ditch bad carbs. Say bye-bye to your white bread and replace it with whole grains. A complex carb is much healthier for you and will still give you the same tasty results. There are whole-wheat breads, pastas, flour and more for you to pick form.
10. Add more protein to your diet. Protein in your meals will keep you full to avoid snacking. It's also what fuels and builds your muscles so it should be a big part of a pre- or post-workout snack. If you have a hard time getting in protein, try making the tasty smoothie below!
11. Cook one more night. Plan for one more night of cooking a week. This will mean you will save money and calories if you aren't eating out, plus you'll get to spend more family time together.
12. Do more squats. We love squats, and there are tons of variations you can try so you won't get bored. Your booty and legs will thank you!
13. Skip the fruit juice and eat real fruit. There are many added ingredients (like sugar) in fruit juices, so instead of a glass of OJ, drink water and enjoy an actual orange.
14. Take evening walks with the family. Enlist the kids to help clean up after dinner, and then get outside. Take a short walk around your neighborhood. Not only will it help to tire out the kids, but you'll get in more family time and more steps. The more active you are, they healthier you become.
15. Make your coffee skinny. If you can't kick your coffee, you can certainly make it skinnier. Say goodbye to creamers and try sweetening with stevia. You may think you can't drink it without cream, but give it a try. You might be surprised by how much you like it.
16. Go meat-free for one day. Many people participate in meatless Monday. Even if you love your steaks, a day of going meatless is a good way to fill up on veggies! Check out these delicious meat-free meals.
17. Work out in the morning. You may not want to get up and exercise in the morning but your body will thank you. If you put it off until the evening, you may be too tired, get a headache, run out of time — the list of excuses goes on and on. Start early and get it out of the way. You'll feel great all day!
18. Before sitting down to eat dinner, pack away leftovers and portion out what you'll take for lunch the next day. By doing this, you're eliminating the chances of going back for seconds that you do not need. Plus, cleanup will go by a lot faster!
19. Keep a water bottle at your desk. If you have one that lives at work, you won't forget to tote it back and forth from home, and with water only an arm's length away, you'll drink a lot more water.
20. Swap out one unhealthy snack for a fruit or vegetable. Instead of that bag of chips, grab an apple. You're saving yourself calories and giving yourself nutrients. Once you're comfortable with this change, start swapping out any and all snacks until you've rid yourself of junk food habits.
21. Swap noodles for zoodles. If you have spaghetti or somme other pasta on a regular basis, swap it out for zucchini noodles at least once a week. You're cutting carbs and gaining tons of health benefits. There are some seriously tasty zoodle recipes and they aren't hard to make!
22. Say goodbye to soda. You know that soda is bad for you. We aren't saying to throw it all away right now, but try to cut down. If you drink two a day, only allow yourself one. Then slowly ween yourself off of it from there and replace it with more water. You're saving yourself a lot of sugar and calories.
23. Measure everything for a day. When you decide to start watching what you eat, go about a normal day but measure everything with measuring cups, spoons etc. That will help you to realize just how much you're eating, especially when you compare it to a suggested serving size.
24. Eat kale. Kale may not have the greatest taste, but it's great for you. It's a superfood and will deliver tons of healthy goodies. Sauté it, use it instead of lettuce or blend it into a smoothie like our Jiggle-Reducing Smoothie. Not convinced? These kale chips are an office favorite at Skinny Mom HQ.
25. Do calf raises. Calf raises are a great way to get sexy legs. When you wear skinny jeans or heels, your calves will shine if you've been doing your calf raises! Do them while you brush your teeth, look in the fridge or wait in line. Click here to learn more about calf raises.
26. Start journaling. Get a small journal that you can easily carry around with you. Take notes of how your workouts went, how you felt, and keep progress reports. Write down healthy snacks and recipes you want to remember. Copy down motivational quotes and make lists of what inspires you.
27. When you eat out, order a side salad with dressing on the side. It's a good way to start off your meal in a healthy way, and it'll help fill you up. When your food comes, don't over-eat. Save the rest for tomorrow.
28. When you order at a restaurant, ask for a box as soon as the meal comes. You can box up half of it and set it aside. Chances are, half will be plenty to fill you up. You won't over-eat this way or have to pack tomorrow's lunch.
29. Swap out milk chocolate for dark. Dark chocolate is good for your heart and has a lot of other benefits, which you can read about here.
30. Find small time increments to work out. Do burpees until your microwave has finished, lunge your way into another room of the house or do squats when picking up after the kids.
31. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. If you have everything out and ready to go, you'll have less excuses to work out, especially if you pack your workout clothes in the evening. There's no excuse of forgetting your shoes at home.
32. Write down what you eat. If you keep an ongoing list of all the food you eat in a day. You can keep it to yourself or have a friend do the same and share your lists each night. It'll keep you from grabbing that donut in the break room because you won't want to add it to your list.
For the rest of our life-changing tips, go on the the next page.
33. Try quinoa instead of rice. Brown rice is better than a lot of other options, but quinoa is a whole other story. It's a protein-packed superfood that you and your family need to try out. Learn more about quinoa here and try our our Quinoa Vegetable Stir-Fry.
34. Put down your fork in between bites. When you do this, you're giving yourself a bit more time to chew and allow your brain to catch up to how full your stomach is.
35. Work out during commercial breaks. Drop some squats during commercial breaks or challenge yourself to do burpees for one entire commercial segment. It's a great way to sneak in a workout while getting in some relaxing time. Check out our Couch Potato Workout here!
36. Start each meal with a glass of water. It'll help to keep you full and prevent over-eating. Oftentimes, thirst can present itself as a hungry feeling, so be sure you are well hydrated.
37. Check your protein bars. Not all "health" bars are actually healthy. In fact, the sugar in some outweighs the protein or health benefits that they broadcast. Which should you avoid? We've got a list.
39. Start sleeping naked. Sleeping naked has some surprising benefits! Not only is it good for your lady bits, but it can increase confidence and more! Read about it here.
40. Don't sit all day. If you work at a desk, you probably sit down all day. Try going to the bathroom on a another floor, take a walk around the building before lunch or do some lunges in the hallway.
41. Start visualizing. Stop thinking of the negatives and get positive. Visualize the way you want to look or feel without looking down on yourself.
42. Stretch more. Like many people, you may need to work on your flexibility. Try stretching as you watch TV or before bed so you can get a little more bendy.
43. Stop sitting, start standing. If you have the chance to stand instead of sit, go ahead and do it. You'll use some more energy this way and improve your posture.
44. Do some pushups. Pushups are a workout essential and yet they aren't easy to do. Start with a modified pushup if you need to, but start soon!
45. Go to sleep earlier. Previously, we suggested waking up a bit earlier. Pair that with going to bed earlier and you'll feel great. You'll wake up feeling far more refreshed and have more energy. Our bodies naturally follow the sun, so your sleeping pattern should too.
46. Pump up your water. You can change up your water by adding fruit to it and it can have some great health benefits. You can se some tasty combinations here.
47. Eat a good breakfast. If you start with a protein-packed breakfast, you'll be more full throughout the morning and avoid snacking. Here are some suggestions of good breakfasts to keep you full.
48. Use an exercise ball at your desk. By sitting on a stability ball you can keep engaged abs and good posture as you work. You'll also improve your balance!
49. Start riding your bike. Walking to the store may not be an option, but biking is! You can stay active without over-exerting yourself. It's also a great way to go green!
50. Start meal prepping. If you can plan out your week's worth of meals, you can easily get ahead. Pack your snacks for work ahead of time so you can easily grab and go with a healthy option. Click here to learn about Skinny Mom creator Brooke Griffin's secret weight loss weapon — Power Planning Sundays.