If there’s one thing we all know about New Year’s resolutions, it’s that they’re easy to make, but hard to maintain. Aiming for small versus sweeping changes is key to ensure success beyond the one-month (or one-week?) mark. So we turned to Dr. Frank Lipman, integrative and functional medicine expert, author of The New Health Rules, and founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, to get his take on realistic tweaks we can make to ensure that 2016 is our healthiest year yet. Here are Lipman’s recommendations.
(Bonus: These tips will also make keeping beach bodies on point through the winter just a little bit easier.)
Do a cleanse
The 2-week Be Well Cleanse provides targeted nutrients to energize the detox organs, boosting your body’s natural ability to heal and creating a heightened sense of well-being. Sometimes, being disciplined for a short period of time can help you find the middle way. If you want to create a lifestyle that is healthy but also leaves room for the occasional indulgence, a cleanse is a great way to start. You’ll change your habits, learn new healthy ideas, and reset your “norm” to be more health-supportive.
Get at least eight hours of sleep every night. A good night’s sleep is fundamental to good health because your cells repair themselves more rapidly at nighttime. During your hours of deep sleep, the body produces higher levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which promotes cellular renewal. Furthermore, since you are not eating during the six to eight hours that you sleep, your digestive system gets a break and your elimination processes can catch up.
Supercharge your breakfast
Sugary and/or high starch foods are ubiquitous breakfast foods in our culture but that doesn’t make them good choices. It may seem difficult to give up our favorite foods, but, ultimately, making changes to your diet simply means creating new habits. Protein and fat are essential for energy, so make sure your morning breakfast includes both. Try a protein smoothie, a chia seed pudding, or eggs scrambled with your favorite vegetable or topped with avocado.
Breathing is your primary source of life-sustaining oxygen, but most of us are shallow, chest breathers. Doing some deep breathing keeps your lungs flexible and enables them to expel any trapped particles or pollutants that you have inhaled. The ideal breath engages not just the chest but the abdominal muscles as well.
Sweat it out in a sauna
Sweating is a great way to release and expel toxins through your skin. A sauna is also relaxing for your body and mind, which is a good way to start the new year. Sweating in the sauna promotes healthy, glowing skin. Make sure to stay super hydrated with fresh water!
Rest your mind
In addition to resting your body, it is important to rest your mind. In other words, take a break from TV, newspapers, movies, internet, too many parties etc. Make some quiet time for yourself. Use this deep revitalization period as an opportunity to consciously choose to relax or meditate for at least twenty minutes every day. Even five minutes is better than nothing.
Get a massage
It is always a good idea to get a massage to promote the circulation of your blood and lymphatic fluids. Massage speeds up the removal of your metabolic waste products and can help alleviate muscular tension. It also stimulates the brain to release endorphins, or natural painkillers, thus boosting your overall sense of well-being. Drink plenty of water afterwards to help flush the toxins from your system.
Relax with restorative yoga
Yoga is our favorite detoxifying exercise, and restorative yoga is perfect for relaxing after a long day because it’s soothing and supportive. Restorative Yoga is particularly helpful when you feel rundown, burned out, stressed or just tired. It’s a powerful tool that supports the healing process during and after an illness or injury. Try one of my favorite poses, legs up the wall, when you need to wind down.
Epsom salt bath
An epsom salt bath can help your body in eliminating toxins and leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Epsom salts contain magnesium, as well as other minerals and nutrients that are absorbed into your skin during the bath and can help with the detoxification process. Dissolve about 2 cups of epsom salt in your bath tub, stir with your hands to make sure it’s dissolved and soak for about 20 minutes.
Add a morning mini meditation
Sitting for even just 5 minutes of meditation first thing in the morning and focusing on your breath will leave you feeling more calm, clear, centered and ready to take on the day.