I know you all have your lists of resolutions, but I invite you all to begin my 10-Day New Year challenge. The New Year is a great time to cultivate new habits and start with a clean slate. For many of us, the weeks of holiday parties and festivities have also meant lots of unhealthy eating. Take my 10-Day Health Challenge to start your year on the right foot. Encourage your family, even your children to join.
DAY 1: DISCONNECT
Try a digital detox. Turn off phones, computers, Ipad and TV’s for a day. We are too connected and often cannot be present for our loved ones with the constant interference from our gadgets. Take a walk outdoors, play a board game, read or find a new hobby or passion. Our brains crave diversity in activity, just as our guts require diversity in food.
DAY 2: REMOVE SUGAR
This may sound like an easy step, but remember, sugar is everywhere. Remove sweetened drinks, yogurts and packaged foods, especially those loaded with sugar. Look at labels to determine sugar content. For many of us, most of the sugar is in the form of creamers for tea/coffee, chocolate, and processed foods.
DAY 3: TRY JUICING
Juicing is always a great method of getting a powerhouse of antioxidants. Create a family favorite juice by combining favorite fruits and vegetables. For adults, skip one day of eating and just juice. For children, have them drink at least 2 cups of this juice per day.
DAY 4: MOVE
Try moving for 10 minutes continuously at least 3 times per day. Fun activities include racing up and down stairs, walking, dance parties or just old-fashioned exercises like jumping jacks and jump rope.
DAY 5: REMOVE DAIRY
We already tackled sugar, next is dairy. Most Americans over consume dairy products. Go dairy free for a day to give your body a break.
DAY 6: REMOVE MEAT
As a country, we often eat a lot of meat. Take one day to remove meat completely from your diet. Focus on eating fruits and vegetables instead, encouraging your kids to do the same.
DAY 7: GET A MASSAGE
Massage aids in detoxification by stimulating lymph flow. It also lowers cortisol, shifting the body into a more healing mode. Massage, acupuncture, and yoga are all wonderful modalities to help your body naturally detoxify and revive. Try acupressure on your children or use a small amount of warmed sesame or coconut oil to massage them before bed.
DAY 8: FEED YOUR SOUL
New Year’s resolutions are often about losing weight or changing addictive habits. These obstacles are often the result of a spiritual disconnect that we all then try to refuel with food, bad habits or destructive behaviors. Feed your soul instead. A short, daily meditation practice, regular prayer and journaling can help you regulate your behaviors better. Set aside 10 min to begin this practice, finding the best fit for you.
DAY 9: SLEEP
Are you used to 5 hours of sleep per night? We have all become warriors, used to skimping sleep. Have you tried sleeping 8-9 hours consistently? It feels great!!! Take one day (night) to really sleep and watch your energy soar! Children need 10 hrs. per night (minimum).
DAY 10: DON’T EAT/BUY ANY PREPARED FOOD
Very few Americans cook consistently and often find themselves buying lunch or a snack outside of the home. Eat in for at least 1 full day. Wake up less bloated, more energized, and healthier!
This 10-day health challenge will hopefully force you to cultivate new habits in the New Year and find some of the obstacles that may be in your way. Involve your family and make 2014 your best year ever.
Happy New Year!