Press pause before body shaming yourself or anyone else — Adele included — during a pandemic.
If you’re thinking “I can never do that,” and Adele’s story is bringing you more frustration than inspiration, hear this: It’s OK to have had that ice cream or wine. And now it’s OK to want to move more and feel better during a pandemic.
There are small things that you can start doing right now that don’t require chef-prepared food, expensive trainers or fancy fitness equipment. They do require a small commitment to yourself each day, and you’re worth it.
Here are seven achievable things you can do to get moving — and I love that these are incremental goals that can give you a sense of empowerment and lift your mood. Pick one to try each week. You’ll find yourself feeling better and more in control of your life, and perhaps even celebrating yourself.
Open the door and take a walk
Opening the door is the first step. Even if you are superfit, you might find it hard to get moving these days. There’s a lot of resistance even among people I know who are very committed to living a healthy life. You know you should, you know you can, but your body resists. I’m telling you, just DO IT. It will not only get your blood circulating; it will also help to clear your mind. Listening to your favorite music while walking can really elevate your mood and lift your spirits, too.
Make a walk a daily activity, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. If you wish, you can increase it by five minutes each week. If you live in a busy city, try to do it when the streets are less crowded. And if you are living in an apartment and don’t wish to go outside, try walking the halls or stairwells.
Find a fitness class that inspires you
Upgrade your breakfast
Eating a nutrient-rich breakfast gives you the energy you need to start your day, and it sets the stage for making other healthful choices throughout the day. I’ve been loving oatmeal with low-fat milk and berries lately, though Greek yogurt with berries is my typical go-to.
Enjoy a vegetable with each meal
Vegetables are loaded with healthful antioxidants and fiber, which keeps you feeling full without contributing calories. They can also take the place of unhealthy carbs like french fries or creamy pasta.
Vegetables don’t have to be boring. In my house, we enjoy roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts, roasted spaghetti squash (a fun substitute for pasta) and roasted radishes when they’re in season. My daughters also enjoy broccoli sautéed in a little bit of olive oil, and asparagus tossed with Parmesan.
Once you get used to eating vegetables, you can slowly transition to giving them more real estate on your plate. I typically recommend filling half of your plate with veggies.
Pick two fun fruits to enjoy each day
Find your fiber fix
I’ve talked about fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, but for other fiber-boosting strategies, try sprinkling fiber-rich chia seeds or Fiber One on top of your favorite cereal or yogurt. You can also opt for Wasa multigrain crackers or whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself
This is something I always recommend to anyone looking to achieve personal health goals. Knowing you’ll get a small reward after achieving mini goals can go a long way in helping you stay motivated. (Yes, you can decide what your reward will be.)
Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, an author and a CNN health and nutrition contributor.