A Healthy New Year!

I have been participating in the 6 Weeks of Bliss challenge through Bliss Connect, and this post was written for the week four challenge.  The question this week is, “What diet and fitness tweaks will help make 2012 your healthiest year yet?”  I’ve already mentioned some of my goals for the new year, but I will take a moment to consider my goals through the lens of this particular question.  Who wouldn’t want to achieve her healthiest year yet?  🙂

First of all, let me share what “healthy” means to me.  I do not define health by a number on a scale.  I do not define health as perfectly adhering to a particular diet or rigidly following an exercise program.  That being said, I do believe that wholesome foods and exercise contribute to my healthy lifestyle.  Likewise, I do acknowledge that keeping to a healthy weight range for my height and frame will help stave off a number of health concerns.  But there is an important concept that I think needs to be added to the mix.  Balance.  Feelings of deprivation or burnout will not help me maintain a healthy lifestyle in the long run, and that’s why I think it is important to find a good balance.

I should also note that health, to me, pertains to more than my physical health.  Health in body, mind and spirit are all important goals to me.

So how will I make 2012 a healthy year in body, mind and spirit?

Consistent exercise.

I am currently following a marathon training plan.  As I did last year for my first half-marathon, I am following a Jeff Galloway plan, which takes a pretty conservative approach.  One of my biggest goals in my marathon training is to avoid injury, and the Jeff Galloway approach, which calls for a slower training pace and includes some walking, worked very well for me last year.

Although it can be tempting for me to stick to running alone, I will be making a point to include strength training in my exercise routine.  I will give special emphasis to core strength, due to my history of back problems.  A strong core is my back’s best friend!

I have also had the tendency in years past to drift away from exercise at certain points in the year, usually in the fall.  It is my goal to stick with it through my busiest seasons.

Don’t get derailed by an off day (or week).

This could be considered a sub-goal to the above.  Yes, I intend to workout consistently in 2012.  And… life happens.  Illness happens.  Crazy days get the better of us sometimes.  Injuries happen (knock on wood).  If I find that I’ve gotten off track during sickness, travel, etc., I will not let that become my new habit.  I will not beat myself up about it, but I will get back on track as soon as possible.  I know I feel better when I do work out, so why wouldn’t I get back at it as soon as possible, right?

Food.

Eating food should go without saying, but I specifically mean that most of what I eat will be recognizable as food.  I will include lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and try to avoid eating items with ingredients that I do not recognize.  Since I am not a big meat-eater, I will take care to eat enough protein.

Reading.

Nourishment for my brain.  I will read at least one book per month.

Feed my Spirit.

Some of my preferred methods are worshiping with our church family, reading my Bible, and praying.  Time well spent with friends and family certainly nourish my spirit, as well, and I intend to use all these activities to keep my spirit refreshed in 2012.

Rest.

So important, and sometimes so hard for me to do.  I will try to make time for the rest I need to restore myself in body, mind and spirit.

These are some of the things that I plan to do to make 2012 a healthy year.  What about you?

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