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How many of you have resolved to make a health-related change for 2012? Most of us resolve to lose weight or begin an exercise regime. How long does it take for you to lapse back into old habits? The beginning of a new year can be a great time to make changes, but I’ve included a list of wellness tips for you to work on all year. These tips will support health, weight loss, and overall balance. Strive to achieve as many as possible within the next month. Or, pick one and really focus on that before moving to the next goal.

1) Get moving! Exercise is key to good health. It keeps you feeling (and looking) young, burns off stress hormones, fosters better sleep, and keeps you looking good. You don’t have to get out there are pound the pavement for hours. 20 minutes of burst training at least 3 times weekly is all you need. Do yoga or strength training or pilates on the off days.

2) Get more (and better) sleep. Most of us feel guilty for sleeping more than 6 or 7 hours, but we need at least 8-9 hours for good health. Get in bed earlier, 11pm latest, and practice good sleep hygiene. Read my sleep hygiene tips here. Sleep in complete darkness so that melatonin production kicks in. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and keeps you looking young and vibrant. Get blackout curtains and keep excess electronics out of the bedroom.

3) Sit down on Sunday and plan out your meals for the week. We put so much time into thinking about how we’ll plan our weeks work-wise, but we rarely think ahead planning meals until it’s noon and your stomach is growling. Think about what you want to cook for the week ahead, make a list, go shopping, make a big batch of meat and veggies on Sunday, then adapt the leftovers into meals for the next few days until you can cook again.

4) If you buy only one food organic, make it meat. The antibiotics and hormones in conventional factory farmed meats are toxic and create hormonal imbalances (estrogen dominance) in both men and women. The conditions under which the animals are treated are deplorable.

5) Eat more leafy greens! Try some kale, chard, beet or turnip greens, collards, dandelion greens, and spinach. These are true superfoods that are rich in minerals and antioxidants. Make a big batch. They keep well.

6) Stop drinking diet soda for GOOD. Read why here.

7) Drink more water (instead of soda). It flushes toxins and regulates metabolism. Add cucumber, lemon, or lime slices to spice up your water if you get bored.

8) Sip bone broth. It’s mineral rich, helps cravings, and has restorative properties. Save the bones from roasted chicken; save egg shells; save other bones and keep in the freezer until ready to use. Recipe here.
9) Cut down on coffee and switch to green tea. Coffee is acidic, leaches minerals from the bones, leads to blood sugar disruption, and affects sleep. Green tea is antioxidant and mineral rich and contains less than half the caffeine of coffee.

10) Practice kindness and compassion. Smile more. Make a concerted effort to compliment someone every day. Think about your contributions to the world and how you’ll share your gifts. Avoid negativity. Do your best to be the best version of yourself.