5 Easy Lifestyle Changes

Are you ready to add healthful habits to your weekly regimen? A gradual metamorphosis may be easier than you think.

Lisa Druxman, a well-known fitness expert, author and founder of the nation's largest exercise program for new moms, Stroller Strides?, offers five easy lifestyle changes for the New Year.

1. Ditch Soda and Try Homemade Spa Water

Some people consume 20 percent of their calories from beverages, so be careful of empty calories found in drinks like soda and juices, which lack the nutrients and fiber of real food, Druxman says. If you're tired of "plain" water, try adding fruit and/or herbs with some ice in a large container, and keep it in your refrigerator for a refreshing treat throughout the day.

Some favorite flavorful combinations include: Cinnamon apple, lemon lime, cucumber melon, mint, rosemary, or lemon.

2. Add a Tablespoon of Flaxseed

This ancient staple is now a modern miracle, as flax seeds contain high levels of lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids, Druxman says. Lignans may benefit the heart and help prevent cancer—especially breast—and flaxseed has also been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol. Try sprinkling a tablespoon of ground flax seed on your cereal, salads, yogurt and more, and substitute flax seed oil for other oils. Flaxseed can easily go rancid, so be sure to buy it fresh and keep it in a cool and dark sealed container or in the refrigerator.

3. Meditate

Most people—moms especially—are always on a mission, crazy-busy from wake to sleep. Try meditation to recharge your brain, clear your mind and regenerate, says Druxman. Find five minutes each day to sit still. Focus on a candle, inspiring words or just repeatedly count to ten. Don't get frustrated if your mind wanders; just like you build endurance in exercise, you can also build it during meditation.

4. Don't Eat Everything That's Offered to You

You typically have the best intentions, evidenced by your commitment to cooking healthy meals and living a more active lifestyle. But what happens during your trip to Costco when ice cream sandwiches and chicken fingers are being handed out on what seems like every aisle? Bites here and there do add up, Druxman says. Office donuts and Starbucks scone samples will sabotage your will power and healthy routine, so next time you're offered "free" food, step back and reconsider.

5. Eat a Rainbow

Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, nutrients and fiber which may prevent disease and aid in metabolism, but chances are, you aren't eating enough, Druxman says. Do your best to eat a "rainbow" of colors during meals, as each has its own health benefits and ensures the variety that your body needs.

Some suggestions for adding color to:

  • Breakfast: Add spinach to your eggs, tomato and lettuce to your toast, or avocado on an English muffin.
  • Snacks: Dip any kind of veggie into dips like hummus, salsa or low-fat dressings.
  • Dinner: Beyond salads and typical vegetable sides, throw chopped veggies into sauces, meatloaf and casseroles.

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Lisa Druxman, M.A., the creator of Stroller Strides, is a nationally recognized speaker, author and highly regarded expert in the field of pre/postnatal fitness.

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