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    How to Motivate Yourself to Work Out In The Morning

    In my experience, there are two types of people: those who wake up early, and those who do not, under any circumstance, wake up early. For most of my life, I was the latter.If you too are someone who abuses the snooze button and has 15 alarms set every morning, the last thing on Earth you probably want to wake up for is a workout. When you’re snug as a bug wrapped up in your sheets with the shades drawn, getting out to move your body can sound laughable. But as a morning workout convert, I’m here to tell you that getting in the habit of waking up early to exercise is possible—and it’s even possible to enjoy it.
    Since I started working out in the morning, my mind feels clearer throughout the day, I’m less stressed all overall, and quite frankly, I feel like I have my shit together just a little bit more than I used to. I know that 2021 is the year of the anti-resolution, but if you make one change this year, becoming a morning workout person can be one of the most transformative things you can do. Want to start? Here’s how:

    1. Find a workout that holds you accountable
    In our former lives, the #1 way I would hold myself accountable to exercise in the morning was by signing up for fitness classes that I couldn’t cancel last minute. And while that isn’t exactly possible right now, we found the next best thing: Obé fitness.
    If you thought that getting a boutique-workout feel while at home was impossible, we’re here to tell you you’re wrong. My saving grace throughout quarantine? Obé’s live class schedule. From my living room, I can participate in classes with a live instructor and trick myself into feeling the exact same that I used to when I’d wake up and run to a live barre or yoga class. At the beginning of every week, I look at Obé’s live class calendar, then write down which ones I want to participate in and add them to my Google Calendar. Rather than pulling up a YouTube video I can pause or convince myself to skip, the live classes require physically being ready and on time to start a class, both of which are huge motivators when debating hitting “snooze” one more time.
    The best part? They’re actually fun and something I look forward to doing every single morning. After a few weeks, you’ll also get a feel for which instructors and classes you love and want to keep doing. For example, if I see Michelle B. is teaching a morning sculpt class, I know I don’t want to miss it under any circumstances—exactly how I used to feel at my boutique fitness classes.

    2. Set yourself up for success the night before
    As small of a deal as pulling a pair of leggings and a T-shirt out of your closet sounds, having them in a pile along with a sports bra and some socks can completely change your mindset when you’re having an internal debate of whether or not to actually get out of bed. Having your workout gear ready to go eliminates any groggy fuss and can streamline any hiccups when you’re trying to get yourself prepared to actually exercise. If I’m taking a class in the morning, I also love laying out my yoga mat where I’ll be taking the class and putting a bottle of water next to it too. Not only does it hold me accountable (there’s no walk of shame quite like putting my yoga mat away after oversleeping), but it puts me in a no-excuses mindset before I fall asleep the night before.

    3. Make your workouts something you love
    Hate running with all your heart? Don’t run. It’s easy to fall into a habit of doing exercises that are trendy or promise quick results, but if they’re not something you love or that give you satisfaction when you’re done, you’re less likely to keep up with them—let alone wake up early to do them.
    One of the things I used to struggle with was spending money to take classes I might end up hating. Most boutique fitness single-class passes are astronomical, so I would buy a month’s pass just to try it out and might end up hating it and not wanting to keep up with it after all. That’s one of my favorite things about Obé’s classes: from HIIT workouts to dance classes to barre, you can try everything they offer without risking losing a ton of money for a workout you hate. Take some time to figure out which ones you love and that leave you feeling your best, and then keep up with it. It’s natural to dread working out occasionally, but a workout of choice shouldn’t be something you despise.

    4. Write down your workouts
    Just like you might write down a meeting or date, at the beginning of the week, take the time to write down the times you want to work out, along with what kind of workouts you want to do. I find that seeing all of my workouts planned out for the week not only takes out the guesswork of trying to figure out what I’ll do last-minute but actually makes me look forward to them more. If I’m doing a hard class one day, I’ll make sure the following day is something I can recover with, “Yes, I’m doing HIIT this morning, but tomorrow morning I’m doing a relaxing yoga flow.” It’s a small, simple way to hold yourself accountable—there’s nothing like checking that workout off your to-do list before your workday even begins.

    5. Take note of how you feel afterward
    It’s true what they say: you rarely ever regret a workout. The way both my body and mind feel after a morning workout are what keep me wanting to do it day after day. Not only do I not need to worry about when I’ll fit in a workout during or after my workday, I feel more energized and less stressed all day long, and when all I want to do is go back to sleep in the morning, I remind myself of this. It isn’t easy to get into the habit of waking up earlier than you need to every day, but nothing is a better motivator than a guaranteed day of less stress and a clearer mind.

    What motivates you to work out in the morning? Let us know in the comments below!

    This post includes a sponsored mention of obé, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    12 Hacks to Hold Yourself Accountable with Your Resolutions

    It’s that time of year again: we’re putting away Christmas decorations, coming back from holiday break, and setting New Year’s resolutions. But will 2021 be any different than 2020, 2019, or any other resolutions of New Years’ past? If you’ve never even remembered your goals by the end of most years (much less reached them), you’re not alone. According to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of resolutions fail (depressing, right?).So what does it take to be in the 20 percent that succeeds? We all say #newyearnewme every January 1st, so how do we make sure that 2021 will really be “our year;” the year where we become happier, achieve our healthiest body, and get that dream career? The answer: change your approach. Here are 12 hacks to keep you accountable and help you be in the 20 percent of resolutions that succeed. Look out, 2022! 

    1. Get in the right mindset
    You probably already have your 2021 resolutions, but do you know why you set those resolutions? The first step to holding yourself accountable is to put meaning behind the goals you set. For example, “going to the gym every day” or “getting a raise” are fine resolutions, but you need to look at the bigger picture goal as well. Why do you want to go to the gym every day? Is it to be stronger, feel more confident, or live longer? What about getting a raise: do you want to be more financially independent or feel valued by your company? If you’re not looking at the “why” goal, the surface-level goal will never feel motivating enough to last until 2022. 
    Bottom line: set your resolutions, but make sure you’re also reminding yourself why you care about achieving them in the first place. Take some time to reflect or journal about why accomplishing this goal is important to you and how it will make a difference in your life. Months from now, when the newness of resolutions wears off, you won’t be thinking, “I have to wake up at 7 a.m. to exercise.” You’ll be thinking, “I want to wake up at 7 a.m. to exercise because it makes me feel so much happier and healthier throughout the day.” 

    2. Set smaller goals that are easy to reach
    Trust me, “losing weight,” “running a marathon,” or “reading 100 books” are far off goals that will leave you disappointed and unmotivated, no matter what. Instead, break down big resolutions into smaller, more specific goals throughout each week. On Sundays, think about what you want to achieve just that week: fit in four workouts, run three miles instead of your usual two, lift 10 extra pounds, or add greens to two meals a day. By the time the week is over, you’ll feel accomplished, proud of yourself, and more motivated to set harder goals for the next week. If week-by-week is not your thing, start in small increments to get to where you want. For example, start with two push-ups a day. Once push-ups feel like a habit, increase a couple more reps or exercises each day until you get to your fitness goal.

    3. Prepare what you need in advance
    If you prefer morning workouts, lay out all your clothes next to your bed, untie your sneakers, and fill up a water bottle. If you work out in the afternoon, change into your workout clothes first thing in the morning so you’ll be ready to go whenever you can fit it in. Having everything ready will not only make it easier to work out, but will put you in the mindset that this workout will happen. Preparation works for nutrition goals, too: meal prep makes it much less likely for you to resort to takeout after a busy workday or snack on unhealthy choices like chips and cookies. Likewise, if you want to have a better morning routine, lay out your clothes, fill up a bottle of water, set out your skincare lineup, and get out the meditation pillow. Bottom line: set yourself up for success to reach your resolutions by preparing in advance. 

    Source: @kateogata

    4. Get a buddy
    Do you have a friend, significant other, roommate, or work wife who also wants to stick to their resolutions? Make them your accountability buddy and motivate each other by exchanging healthy recipes, sending motivational quotes, and checking in to see how the other is feeling or keeping up with their goal. You don’t have to have the same resolutions to motivate each other, but it certainly helps if you plan to hop on a Zoom yoga class with a friend or set up weekly meetings with your work wife to see how your career resolutions are coming along. You’ll be much more motivated feeling like you’re in this together.

    5. Schedule resolutions into your calendar
    When appointments, meetings, or tasks are on your calendar, you know they’re going to get done. And you’ll probably show up on time, be fully prepared, and never skip. Just because a workout, meal prep session, or personal budget check-in are not work meetings does not mean you shouldn’t prioritize them as such. Honor your resolutions like you would any other appointment on your schedule. For example, either sign up for an online workout class in advance (the cancellation fee in itself will be enough to hold you accountable) or put “going on a jog” in your calendar. Not only will scheduling resolutions make it more likely you’ll do them, but you’re also more likely to prioritize them. Treat a workout, check-in, reading session, meditation time, grocery shopping, etc., like you would anything else on your calendar: show up on time, be prepared, and don’t cancel.
    6. Set up your environment for success
    Maybe you are what you eat, but you are where you live too. Surround yourself with motivating images and rearrange your home environment to help you with your resolutions. If mantras are your thing, come up with your own, write it down, and post it on your mirror, computer screen, and fridge. Start a vision board filled with motivating images like a picture of yourself from when you felt healthy and happy, or a magazine cut-out of someone achieving your goal (like crow pose or running a 5k). You can also post healthy recipes or pictures of women you admire. Visually seeing your goals as often as possible will keep you motivated. Beyond vision boards and mantras, make sure your home is setting you up for success. Keep your blender in an accessible spot, display healthier cookbooks on the shelves, leave your yoga mat out, and turn your bedroom into a relaxing oasis if you want to get more sleep this year. 
    7. Journal your progress
    Journaling creates a space for mindfulness, thoughtfulness, and purpose, and can help you achieve all of your goals (powerful stuff, right?). Use a blank notebook for morning pages, record your daily goals in your planner (shoutout to The Everygirl planners at Target!!), or use the Notes app on your phone. Not only will journaling about your resolutions keep you motivated, but knowing you’re tracking your progress will hold you accountable. It’s a lot less tempting to skip the workout or order takeout when you know that you’ll be writing about it later. More importantly, journaling will keep the resolution in the front of your mind, so you’ll prioritize it.

    Source: @devyn.p.miller

    8. Have a plan B
    So you slept through your alarm and missed your morning workout? Or you’re extra hungry and aren’t in the mood for your usual smoothie? Have an easy and flexible backup plan, so that you don’t completely give up when your plan doesn’t work out. Going on a 30-minute walk after dinner or doing a yoga YouTube video before hopping in the shower are great ways to fit in movement and keep you feeling motivated. Likewise, have a few different healthy meal options so that when you’re not in the mood for your typical go-to’s, you don’t opt for fast food takeout. Having a backup for when your plan falls through is crucial to staying on track.
    9. Fit resolutions into your routine
    Your resolutions can be lofty, but they have to fit into your life. For example, if you hate salad, don’t force yourself to eat salads. If you want to get fit but can’t run a mile to save your life, don’t try to run five miles. Instead, find healthy foods you like and exercises that are fun or make you feel good. Learning how to enjoy achieving your goals will help them stick. Experiment with healthy recipes like plant-based versions of your favorite foods, and test out workouts to find one that you’ll not only enjoy, but will look forward to.
    Also, don’t vow to wake up at 6 a.m. for meditation and a workout if your alarm clock typically rings five minutes before you have to be on Slack. Start with a meditation while your coffee brews, some calf raises while brushing your teeth, and going on a walk while you’re on a conference call. There are dozens of ways to fit your resolutions into your likes and routines, and those ways are the key to reaching goals by 2022.

    10. Read, listen to, or watch something positive
    I love Real Housewives as much as the next girl, but let’s be real: bingeing it every night before bed and on my lunch break certainly does not help with motivation (been there, done that). Instead, take a break from your usual Netflix binges to listen to a motivating podcast, read a chapter from a self-improvement book before bed, or (if reality shows really are your cup of tea) stream a show like Queer Eye that will inspire you to be your best self. Filling your time with inspiration and motivation will make you excited to reach your goals. Don’t worry, there will always be time for Real Housewives or The Bachelor, but remember that nutrition isn’t just what you eat; it’s what you read, watch, and listen to as well. 

    Source: @twentysomethingplus

    11. Look for one small victory every day 
    The key to resolution success is not to look at what you have yet to accomplish. Instead, the key is to focus on what you’ve already done. Looking at how far you’ve come (even if it is just baby steps) will boost confidence and motivation to inspire you to keep going. Every single day, look for a victory you made towards your final end goal. It could be doing an extra 10 crunches, having a smoothie for breakfast instead of getting an Egg McMuffin, or going on a walk during your lunch break instead of bingeing Hulu. Taking steps towards your final goal (no matter how small) will feel much more motivating than a distant goal that’s out of reach. Let each small step be its own victory, and get excited for whatever victories you’ll accomplish tomorrow. You’ll reach your end goal in no time–2022 will be so impressed.

    12. Be flexible and trust your gut
    Remember those aforementioned “why” goals? Maybe your resolution is to work out more, but the reason for that is to feel more confident, or perhaps you want a raise, but you want a raise because you want to take a step in your career. The secret to achieving your resolutions (instead of forgetting about them by February) is to focus on the “why goals” and be flexible with resolutions. From now until 2022, there will times when you’re too tired to work out, need to take a mental health day from work, or want to enjoy a glass of wine and an entire Dominos pizza on a Friday night. And those times don’t mean you’re failing at your resolutions; they mean you’re listening to what your body needs.
    Reality check: if you’re not flexible with your resolutions, you’ll never be able to keep them. To hold yourself accountable, stay focused on the overarching goals like feeling more confident, progressing in your career, or treating your body well. It will help you stay motivated to keep your goals, but most importantly, you’ll be listening to your body instead of external expectations. Even resolutions need balance, not perfection.

    How are you holding yourself accountable with your resolutions this year? More

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    Every Hack I’m Actually Trying to Get Healthier in 2021

    I started 2020 pretty strong. I went to my gym about four days a week. I was trying new recipes. I started a bullet journal. I felt very prepared to take on the next decade of my life. And yada yada, one thing led to another, and here I was, July 2020, and I, like many others, had fallen off. For the record, there was a global pandemic, but I wasn’t doing so hot. I reignited myself, made some updated goals that fit the times, and went on my merry way. I’m here to say: I feel 100 times better now than I did then, and I’m carrying that same fervor into the new year. But I’ll be the first to admit: health “trends” are not my jam. I need something that’s going to stick. I don’t want to completely overhaul my life and routine, and I’ll never dare give up socializing over food and alcohol. So, what’s a girl to do? Here are the health hacks I’m actually planning to implement into my life in 2021. 

    1. “32 Before Brew”
    I saw this on Instagram a while ago, and it has changed my life; however, after the holiday season, I’m sure I’ll need to reassign this goal to myself. Basically, it’s the idea that you drink 32 ounces of water before you drink your cup of coffee in the morning, which I found genius. It’s an easy, pretty straightforward concept, but I love that it gets me drinking water first thing, and it reminds me to keep drinking water after I’ve had my coffee. If I don’t drink water during the workday, it’s so hard to catch up and drink enough later, and this keeps me accountable all day, starting with the morning.

    Source: @lolaomonaija

    2. Controlling volume instead of portions
    I will never be someone who eats like a bird. If I’m eating a meal, I’m eating a meal; that’s all I’m going to say. But adjusting portion sizes is often a recommended hack for being able to still enjoy all the foods you love without eating in excess. Instead, I’m opting to try focusing on the volume of food I’m consuming versus how much. I can eat an entire plate of pasta, but I also want to bulk up the meal with protein, a side salad, and a big glass of water. I feel fuller, faster, and it builds my meals upon nutrients rather than going into it controlling how much I’m eating, which can often lead me to disordered eating. If I want to go get McDonald’s, I’ll drink a lot of water and add extra veggies or protein to my cheeseburger (highly recommend—one of the best hacks I’ve ever seen is asking for double meat and splitting the sandwich in half to eat two open-faced sandwiches!). 

    3. Finding alternatives to the foods I crave
    If I tell myself that I can’t have pizza or pasta or chips, it’s all I’ll want, and it’ll lead to a binge. Always. No foods are “bad,” so I can easily find or make alternatives to my favorites that feel better (and sometimes taste better too!). Currently, I’m loving MyBizzyKitchen’s healthier pizza dough recipe, I’ve swapped regular chips for baked versions (Peetos are my current favorite spicy chip alternative!), and I’m using the above hack to enjoy pasta and other foods that are easy to overindulge in. 

    Source: @gabbywhiten

    4. Creating “ceremony” in the evenings
    Mental health is important as well, and it’s especially necessary to create goals around this too. A therapist once recommended creating “ceremony” around normal day-to-day routines as a way to reorient your brain into a specific task and make these feel like an event more than another thing to tick off your to-do list. 
    One way I want to practice this is through working from home and separating my workday from my evening. When the clock strikes 6 p.m., I’m closing the computer, lighting a candle, drinking something other than water (see the next tip!), and reading 30 pages of a book, or maybe I’ll watch a YouTube video or an episode of a show. (As long as it’s not work or scrolling on my phone, I’m game!) I want to create a ceremony, or a ritual, around ending the workday. When I light the candle next to my bedside, it’s time to finish work for the night. 

    5. Swapping to a different drink in the evening
    Drinking water is not my strong suit. I have to really force myself to stay hydrated, especially working from home because it’s easy to sit at my desk and not fill up my water bottle all day. So, I’m taking a slightly different approach to fixing that problem this year, and it’s allowing myself to drink anything but water in the evenings. Don’t get me wrong, I will still drink water with dinner, to take my medicine before bed, or just simply to sip throughout the night. But right after work ends, whether I’m hankering for a bubbly soda, sparkling water, or an adult libation, I’m letting myself have it instead of forcing myself to stick to water only. It encourages me to stick to water as much of the day as I can, but I know I can “indulge” with something else to change it up.

    Source: @theplussizedprep

    6. Create challenges for workouts
    Motivating yourself to workout at home when the gym isn’t an option is hard. Why would I push hard if no one can see me? Why would I create or follow a routine if I don’t have to? There’s nothing holding me back from stopping in the middle of a workout just because I don’t feel like it. So to keep myself motivated and inspired, I’m creating challenges for myself. I’ll tell myself to work out three times a week, and then after I do that for four weeks straight, I push it to four days a week. Maybe I’ll try to do yoga every day for seven days straight, and then the next week I focus on doing 20 minutes of cardio a day. Making these small, reachable goals every week rather than some overarching goal of “work out more” is much easier to follow and accomplish.

    7. Keep your phone in another room while sleeping 
    I can’t be the only one who wakes up in the middle of the night, checks their phone, and ends up staying awake for way too long because I end up scrolling for no reason at all. I really try to limit how much I use my phone before bed, but if I keep it next to me, I’ll inevitably use it any time I wake up (including first thing in the morning). By keeping it away from my bed, I’d have to get up to grab my phone if I want to use it, and when I’m half-asleep at 4 a.m., that’s unlikely to happen. Prioritizing better sleep is a major goal of mine in 2021, and I’m trying this first!
    This hack also might help me hit snooze less because I’ll have to get up to turn the alarm off. Win-win!

    Source: @crystalinmarie

    8. Add movement into every part of your routine
    If starting from no workouts to five a week feels daunting (for one, it is!), try just adding different forms of movement into every part of your day. Turn on some music (maybe a glass of wine!), and dance around the kitchen while you cook dinner. Maybe you do some stretches from the couch while watching your favorite show. You could try setting a timer during the day to get up and get more water and move around for 10 minutes. You don’t have to follow an eight-week intense HIIT program to feel the benefits of moving your body more, and finding small ways to add that in (especially while working from home) is beneficial too. More

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    Can’t Afford A Peloton? Try This Inexpensive Workout Equipment

    I think it’s safe to say that we’re all starting to see the appeal of having a home gym. Depending on where you live, it may be a while before your local gyms are back up and running at full capacity, so it’s time to find some at home fitness solutions that don’t involve breaking the bank.As lovely as it would be to have a Peloton at home so you can pedal all your worries away, many of us are looking for more affordable solutions. We rounded up nine inexpensive workout equipment options for you so you can step up your home fitness game without ruining that budget you created for the new year.

    Kettlebells are a great addition to your workout routine, especially if you don’t want to invest in a full set of weights. However, they are heavy and a bit of a pain to lug around if you need to build up your strength. To avoid needing to walk home from Target with a kettlebell in hand, I order mine from Amazon, so even if they are super heavy, they’ll be delivered to your door for free. A kettlebell is an ideal tool for enhancing squats and lunges, which can keep your workout session simple, yet effective. This set of three smaller kettlebells is a great place to start if you’re new to strength training.

    3-Piece Kettlebell Set

    This set of three smaller kettlebells is a great place to start if you’re new to strength training.

    Jump Rope
    Are you ready to make your workout a bit more fun? We thought so. Jump ropes are a really fun way to squeeze in some cardio while stuck inside.

    Exercise Bike
    If you’re majorly missing the gym, you might want to invest in some larger workout equipment. Just because a Peloton isn’t in your budget, doesn’t mean you can’t replicate a similar workout.

    Fitness Sliders
    This is one of the smallest pieces of workout equipment on this list, which makes it ideal for apartment dwellers like me who are beginning to feel a bit claustrophobic thanks to their lack of square footage. For the days that you want to amp up your usual workout, see if you can incorporate fitness sliders.

    Obé Sliders

    These flat discs go beneath your hands and feet and create resistance and tension during floor exercises like lunges.

    Source: Amanda Shapin Michelson

    Resistance Bands
    There are a few reasons to love resistance bands. Not only does this tiny-but-mighty strength-building tool help build tension in your muscles (that’s a good thing), but they are inexpensive and really compact. When you’re ready to start traveling again, a resistance band is the perfect addition to your suitcase if you’re looking to squeeze in a quick-but-effective workout at your hotel.

    Mini Trampoline
    For even more fun than a jump rope, why not bounce off a hard day? I first discovered mini trampolines during studio pilates classes. I came for the reformer machines, but stayed for the trampolines. Not only is it really fun to jump on a trampoline, but I’ve found they give a great cardio workout and can build up core strength. There are tons of benefits of using a trampoline in your workout. They can improve endurance and develop better balance, coordination, and motor skills. Not to mention, they’re a great way to relieve stress and tension.

    If you’re short on storage, dumbbells can be a major space saver compared to some workout equipment. You can add these little weights to your existing exercises, or you can start a routine that really focuses on toning your arms.

    Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Pair

    This adjustable dumbbell set comes with removable weight bars that allow you to set your desired weight. That way, you don’t have to keep repurchasing weights as your strength begins to build.

    Stability Ball
    Remember that episode of The Office, where Dwight sat on a stability ball in lieu of a desk chair? Now that most of us are working from home, we can work on our core strength and balance just like Dwight did. Of course, you won’t want to sit on a stability ball all day, but it’s an easy way to make your next Netflix binge session feel more productive, and is a peaceful way to end a high-intensity workout.

    Stability Ball

    This stability ball includes a pump for easy inflation.

    Under Desk Elliptical
    A what? An under-desk elliptical is a compact piece of workout equipment that allows you to get your fitness on under your desk. 

    Under Desk Elliptical

    This device is a multitasker’s dream and will make those unnecessary Zoom meetings feel a lot more productive.

    Source: Colorjoy Stock

    Elliptical Machine
    If you want the real deal when it comes to an elliptical machine, the price isn’t as bad as you would think. You won’t be able to sneak this workout in during conference calls, but you will be able to turn your nightly Netflix session into a solid workout. 

    Yoga Mat
    If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate any workout that allows you to lay down on the floor. Certain elements of barre, pilates, and yoga occur laying or sitting down. Score. Make the experience a lot more enjoyable by investing in a high-quality yoga mat (which will still be cheaper than one month at most gyms).

    Running Shoes
    Running is a great workout and an ideal way to get some fresh air and sunshine after being cooped up inside all day. One way to help support your body during a run is to invest in a pair of high-quality running shoes. No, your basic tennis shoes won’t do the trick. The right running shoe for you will depend a lot on your body and your personal preferences, so there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation.

    Rowing Machine
    Rowing isn’t just for arm strength. With proper technique, a rowing machine can give you an exhaustive full-body workout that will leave your core burning. When you’re ready to get started, try this 30-minute drill workout. 

    Magnetic Rower

    Row all your problems away on this surprisingly sleek rowing machine that has thousands more five-star reviews than you’ll probably ever want to read. More

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    11 Health Hacks to Get You Through the Holidays Enjoyably

    The holidays are a time for celebration, family, and an excessive amount of eggnog. For many people, they’re also a time of dread because busy days, holiday meals, and lots and lots of sugar are not necessarily a recipe for health. Maybe you get food-guilt and anxiety about over-indulging, or maybe you feel sick, lethargic, and all-around worse in your body because healthy habits go out the window with the Thanksgiving leftovers. Because the holidays should be merry and bright (not guilt-ridden or lethargic), here are 11 health hacks that will help you feel your very best through every turkey dinner and cup of hot chocolate.PSA: the following list is not intended to be used to “earn” indulgences, “make up for” extra Christmas cookies, or prevent “holiday weight gain.” The holidays should be enjoyed to the fullest, and that includes the foods and traditions you love. You don’t need to earn or make up for; instead, just enjoy. These health hacks are intended to be used in addition to savoring all the wonderful traditions that come this time of year. Instead of resisting, stopping, or shaming, the goal is to help you feel your very best so you can optimally enjoy the most wonderful time of year with the people you love most. Read on for hacks that do exactly that:

    Source: Wait, You Need This

    1. Set intentions based on what makes you feel good
    New routines or a crazy season might mean we forego our regular healthy habits. It’s absolutely OK to pause some of your rituals, workouts, or routines as your daily schedule changes and you’re trying to enjoy the holidays. However, to feel as good as possible, plan ahead by identifying a couple of things that make you feel your very best. Whether it’s getting in a meditation every morning or going for a jog three times a week, identify your non-negotiables and then prioritize them, no matter what. Keeping up with only a couple of crucial rituals and routines will be much more manageable than hoping to keep every habit. More importantly, it will help you feel better throughout the season.
    Also, set limits based on how you feel, not what you think you’re supposed to do. For example, limiting yourself to “no dessert” can lead to a deprivation mentality, binge eating, and a negative relationship with food. But if you know that you start feeling nauseous around the second or third Christmas cookie, or eating the entire wheel of brie on the cheese board makes you feel uncomfortably sluggish (I’ve been there), set intentions by enjoying one or two cookies and only as much brie as you’re actually enjoying until you start mindlessly devouring (again, I’ve been there). Know your limits based on how they make your body feel, and set intentions to keep up healthy habits that are important to you.

    2. Load up on veggies first
    There’s a good reason restaurants offer the salad course first: sure, it’s a lighter course, but it’s also typically the most nutritious (whether or not that is the restaurant’s reasoning, IDK). Even though we’re not eating out, stick to the salad-first mentality to make sure you get the nutrients that make you feel good. If your meal is more buffet-style (or you’re cooking for one and a salad feels excessive), eat the Brussels sprouts side or the sautéed carrots first before diving into the rest of the meal.
    It’s actually not better for you to show up to a holiday meal super hungry with your turkey pants on. When we’re starving, we eat quicker, enjoy less mindfully, and over-stuff ourselves, so eat some veggies as a pre-dinner snack. Eating veggies first ensures you can enjoy any foods you want, but you’re still getting in the nutrients your body needs. Plus, you’ll eat less of the stuff that doesn’t make you feel good (because you’ll be filled up by the good-for-you veggies, not from a place of deprivation). 

    Source: Not Your Standard

    3. Get up and move in the morning
    It’s all too easy to lay around in pajamas, sip on hot chocolate, and binge Christmas movies until nightfall every day from now until January 1. While that does sound like an ideal day, getting in a little bit of movement can boost energy, motivation, and mental health. Fitting it in first thing in the morning means you won’t have to interrupt your Christmas movie binge to go on a jog or do a yoga flow (and let’s be honest: after a few movies in, the chance of stopping goes way down). 
    FYI, I do not mean attempting a two-hour HIIT class as a means to make up for what you ate the night before or plan to indulge in that day. That’s not how the body works, and it’s also unnecessary. Go on a run or a do full workout if it makes you feel better and your body is craving movement, but if you’re feeling sluggish and lethargic like the rest of us during holiday break (especially following big meals), a walk or some stretches does the trick. The goal is to prioritize movement to make you feel like your best, happiest self, not as a means for calorie burn.

    4. Try healthier versions of your favorite holiday foods
    PSA: you don’t have to stick to the exact mashed potatoes recipe you make every year or buy frozen pie crusts instead of DIYing your own. When planning holiday meals, opt for homemade over processed foods (yes, buying from a local bakery or takeout from a healthier restaurant counts for you non-chefs), but also identify where you can add more nutrients into the foods you love. Start by trying these plant-based recipes for every comfort food craving or healthier versions of holiday go-to’s like pumpkin pie and green bean casserole. If you’re not ready to try a new recipe, small swaps will make a difference. For example, replacing conventional butter with organic butter reduces some of the added chemicals and toxins, and adding chopped spinach to a pasta sauce can boost nutrients. Healthy cooking doesn’t have to sacrifice taste, and eating healthier does not have to mean you forego your favorite foods.

    Source: Love and Lemons

    5. Eat healthy fats
    Dry skin woes, rejoice! The perpetual battle between your beauty goals and dry winter climate (read: endless sheet masks, intense oils, and every serum on your skincare shelf) doesn’t have to be so difficult. The one factor in seasonal cracked skin that you may have been missing is what you can be eating to help. Both dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe and nutritionist Kimberly Snyder told Coveteur that healthy fats like avocado, omega-3 fatty acids, and coconut oil are essential for skin health and increasing hydration. Brianne Thornton, a registered dietitian, agreed, explaining to U.S. News & World Report that omega-3 fatty acids keep water from escaping the skin. Eat foods like walnuts, chia seeds, flax, and salmon to get your omega-3s and load up on other healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nuts and seeds to get a variety of health benefits. Helping dry winter skin will just be a much-welcomed bonus. 

    6. Drink more water
    Speaking of hydration, drinking water seems to be the cure-all for everything, and with good reason. Staying hydrated can improve energy levels, relieve digestive discomfort like constipation, and overall help you feel your best. Just because it’s not hot outside doesn’t mean we need less water, but we often forget to stay hydrated it’s cold out. I get it–you’d rather drink hot chocolate than a glass of good old fashioned water, but your body needs proper hydration to operate at its best. Especially if you’re feeling hungover (whether it’s a food hangover or a real hangover, because they both happen often during this time of year), drink lots of water to ensure your body is hydrated at all times. Try drinking a big glass before your first cup of coffee in the morning and sipping on tea or warm lemon water throughout the day for a hydrating refreshment that will also keep you warm. 

    Source: @trulyjamie

    7. Stick to your regular sleep schedule
    I don’t know about you, but a lot of sleep is a given for my holiday breaks. I’m back in my childhood room, I’m wearing cozy AF pajamas, and I don’t have to wake up at 6:30 a.m. for work–the odds of good sleep are very much in my favor. Luckily for my health goals, that extra sleep is not just a perk of a national holiday; it can also help me stay healthy. Getting enough quality sleep is beneficial for many reasons, like improving mood and energy. Plus, sleep can help you make better food decisions. Cravings (especially sugar cravings) can be worsened by lack of sleep, so if you’re not getting a good 7-9 hours, that gingerbread cookie or pumpkin pie could sound a lot more appetizing. 
    However, during past holiday breaks, those nine hours edge more towards the 1-10 a.m. range as opposed to my typical 10:30 p.m. bedtime. Getting enough quality sleep and sticking to a normal sleep schedule are both important for keeping you healthy. Going to bed and waking up around the same time will improve sleep quality, both now and after the holidays. Some studies have shown that irregular sleep schedules can lead to poor sleep quality, fatigue, poor eating habits, and lack of energy that can take time to reverse. Go to bed and waking up as close to the same time as you usually do and get 7-9 hours every night for peak health. Bottom line: the holidays are a time of laughter and family, but also use them as a time to rest and restore.

    Source: @mylittlebooktique

    8. Find balance with alone time and socializing
    I know I sound like a broken Andy Williams record saying that this year is different (you get it: 2020 is weird), but you probably don’t have the same overbooked season of holiday parties, family gatherings, and gift exchanges you typically do. If you are spending the holidays with family, make sure you’re still fitting in alone time to prioritize yourself. Go on a jog in the morning, take a bath at night, or find any time you can to recharge.
    If you’re spending the holidays alone, try to schedule a socially-distanced gathering outdoors or a virtual holiday party with your closest friends. Having social events on the calendar will give you something to look forward to, but scheduling it will also ensure you’re spending time with people you love, even if it is virtual or socially distanced. Alone time to prioritize ourselves and time with loved ones to laugh and connect are equally important, so focus this year on finding the balance of both, depending on what you need more of.

    9. Make new (outdoor) traditions
    2020 is the year of new traditions. While we’re foregoing traditions like holiday parties or in-person shopping this year, it also allows us to start new traditions that are not only good for the soul, but good for the body too. As the temperatures drop, you may be less inclined to spend your time in the great outdoors, but there’s a reason that so many holiday classics mention “snow,” right? (Let it Snow, Baby It’s Cold Outside, White Christmas… need I say more?). Taking advantage of the winter weather can not only bring fun new traditions, but can be good for your health. For example, bundle up and take a socially-distanced walk with friends or family, go ice skating at your local rink, or grab snow boots and play in the snow with your younger cousins or siblings. You’ll get your body moving without even thinking about it (and isn’t that the best kind of hack!?). 

    Source: @theyusufs

    10. Listen to your body during meals
    Frequently check in with yourself during meals to identify what your body wants and needs. Maybe you’re not hungry, but you would enjoy every bite of a slice of pumpkin pie because it’s your favorite holiday dessert, or maybe you realize your digestion is feeling off and you haven’t had enough veggies that day. Notice when you start feeling satisfied and are no longer enjoying each bite to know when to stop, rather than mindlessly eating until you’re uncomfortably stuffed. Aim for a balance of favorite holiday foods and nutrients that will make your body its best; yes, it is that simple. When we’re in-tune with our bodies’ needs, we eat until we’re satisfied (not stuffed) and crave a mixture of energizing nutrients and less nutritious foods we’ll enjoy every bite of (rather than mindlessly gobble down).

    11. Know that health is more than diet and exercise
    If you’re still under the impression that one meal (or a few holidays) can drastically affect your body long-term, you should also know that health is not a two-part formula of diet plus exercise. The podcasts we listen to, the people we spend our time with, the shows we binge on Netflix, the accounts we follow on Instagram, the way we speak to ourselves (and others) are all things that feed us too. If you’re not as focused on the ways you’re being fed and nourished besides the food on your plate or the ways you’re burning energy besides exercise, you’re missing key pieces of the puzzle. Bottom line: you could eat whatever you wanted and not work out once, and still have lots of opportunities to nourish yourself. Focus on how your relationships nourish you, the compassion you’re giving yourself, and how you’re spending your free time to truly become your healthiest self.

    Let us know–what healthy habits do you take into the holidays? More

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    25 Gifts to Ask For to Kickstart Your New Year’s Resolutions

    Just because the holiday season isn’t exactly normal this year doesn’t mean you can throw out every goal and idea you have for 2021. Actually, I predict 2021 will be a huge year for setting new goals and resolutions—I mean if we’ll be inside, what else is there to do but crush your goals? As the holidays roll around, your parents, in-laws, significant others, and friends might be bugging you about what gifts you’re hoping to find under the tree this year. And somehow the age-old proverb exists: when someone asks what you want, every single thing you’ve even seen or heard of flies out of your head like magic. Instead of worrying about how you’ll reach all of those health and fitness goals the second the clock strikes midnight on January 1, make it a point to ask for those essential items 2021 you will need early. When it comes to fitness and health, there’s one brand that immediately comes to mind, and you’re probably picturing that iconic swoosh in your head right now too: Nike. They have everything you need for the best workouts, online yoga classes, and lounging days—and they’re perfect to add to your holiday wishlist. Most items are available up to a size 2XL (equaling a 20-22), but they also have a wide range of plus-size options available to choose from. They have tons of items available this year, so we did the hard work for you to find the best pieces. No matter what your resolutions are this year, we’ve rounded up the best items to add to your list for Santa. 

    Make outdoor winter workouts a breeze: 

    Run that 5K in no time: 

    Make self-care an everyday event:

    This post was sponsored by Nike, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More