5 Ways to Add Value to Your Life in 2013

Just last week, I posted a blog on the importance of adding value to your life in the coming year (as opposed to chiding yourself for all the naughty things you’ve done in the previous 12 months). And I meant it. Be nice to yourself.

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(Yea, you!)

But if you’re not constantly reading up on the latest green juice fad or scheduling your evenings around trendy fitness classes from Soho to the Upper East Side (which, since my departure from the healthcare start-up world, is me too!), then how, pray tell, does one actually decide how to change their life for the better?

I’ll be honest with you. I wasn’t always a health nut. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I didn’t always care about vitamin B12-enriched, dairy-free sources of “milk” or (for the most part) maintaining a meat-free, legume-heavy diet.

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(What the hell is bulgar wheat?)

I didn’t always care about running and, until recently, I certainly looked past any form of exercise that required a gym membership, celebrity status, or particularly deep pockets. I can assure you, I have none of the above.

Launching Will Run for Glitter was life-changing in the sense that both writing and reading fellow blogger’s tales of health and wellness really, truly inspired me to amp up my own efforts. If you’ve been struggling to pinpoints ways in which you can add value to your own life in the coming year, then fear not. Perhaps one (or more!) of these five suggestions will help to spruce up your day-to-day efforts at living your most healthful life.

1. Try a new ingredient. And don’t think you need to be too creative here either. Because while, okay, I’ve been known to tout the benefits of things like nutritional yeast and kale, infusing your body with healthful nutrients can be as simple as stopping at your local fruit stand or adding spinach to your smoothie. Maybe you always eat green grapes, and it’s time to switch to red. Passionate about peanut butter? How about almond butter for 2013? Keep it simple, and start with one.

Like bulgar wheat – a healthful grain that serves as a great stand-in for cous-cous and rice. For instructions on how to cook it, check out this delicious recipe from yesterday for tomato and chickpea stew with bulgar.

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2. Nutrition matters. But stop counting calories. If you know me at all, and if you’re a reader of this blog, then you’re aware that you’re as likely to find me counting calories as on public transportation in New York City. I don’t like it; I don’t even like the thought of it. Counting calories is restrictive, oppressive, and in a lot of ways incredibly stressful (or so I imagine).

Rather than counting calories, I believe it’s important to simply think about the ingredients we’re putting in our bodies. Nutrition matters; I learned this from mom blogger extraordinaire Laura Cipullo, RD. Some foods are high in calories and some are low. Accept it, and move on. Use your common sense, and eat more of the ones with seemingly less calories and a higher nutritional value.

Example: I love donuts as much as the next person, but I also know that they are high in calories and low in nutrition, and so it’s not something I can nosh on every day of the week. When I do head out to Brooklyn to meet my dad for fresh donuts, it’s more satisfying and, yes, entirely guilt-free.

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When it’s all said and done, I know that this particularly lax tactic doesn’t work for everyone. I’ll admit, I have it easy; I was born into a family without any significant weight issues. I mean, this guy is a candymaker.

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But at the same time, as a runner with a penchant for all things health and wellness, I will always be conscious of such factors. If you’re not someone who needs to weigh your food or religiously count the number of calories being put into your body, then I really do tout the benefits of a moderate and, more importantly, realistic outlook on food and life in general.

3. Try a new workout method. You don’t even have to embrace it. Just try it. In an instance like this, I should probably take my own advice. But then again, I already tested my skills at TRX last Thursday. That’s, like, almost 50 percent of the number of new classes I checked out last year. See? I’m changing too.

Not to sound cheap here (disclaimer: I am incredibly cheap when it comes to purchases with personal intent), but one of the best ways to motivate yourself is to look up and check out free classes in your area. Maybe gyms offer trial sessions for you to try. No financial investment means no excuses. Forget funds. All you have to find now is time.

4. Invest in a new toy. Get yourself excited about fitness and health! Whether heavier (or lighter?) weights, a new yoga mat, or a sparkly headband, investing in a new piece of equipment can be a great way to add value — and sweet gear — to your collection. (No seriously, people, this year demoting myself from 8-pound weights. They’re killer. I’ve been dying for fivers forever.)

5. Flaunt a new outfit. While I’m all about working out because it helps you feel good, adhering to a regular fitness routine undoubtedly makes you look good too. Feel even better about your hard work and bolster your self-esteem by donning the threads to go with your (maybe new-found?) physique. After all, you’ve earned it. That, or you’re certainly on your way to earning it. And that counts for something too.

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(New race? Matching overpriced would-never-buy-these-otherwise cousin headbands!)

  • How will you add value to your life in 2013?
  • What new toys, classes, foods and gear will you look to treat yourself to?
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13 thoughts on “5 Ways to Add Value to Your Life in 2013

  1. Love, love, love these tips! I only just added nutritional yeast into my diet last year and I’m a huge fan now. I add it to salads to make them cheesy tasting. Also, I’m never as motivated to work out or run as when I’ve just gotten a cute new outfit. Only downside is that makes me count all exercise clothes purchases as “health investments”…

  2. “Nutrition matters. But stop counting calories.” AMEN
    When I first went to college, a lot of the people I hung out with were counting calories to avoid the freshmen 15. Peer pressure lead me to download Lose it!, to which I tried to get myself to track under 2100 calories everyday.
    It was miserable. I felt awful. Finally, one day it occurred to me that I didn’t have to do it (duh!).

    Life is SO much easier when you don’t sweat about the little stuff like that!

    • It’s not like we haven’t tried. I like to think we’ve made educated decisions to live our lives to the fullest. Counting calories is simply not part of that equation.

  3. I think portion control over counting calories. I am a big believer that you can be in great shape just by eating healthy and working out, without restricting your self. A long time ago I tried counting calories and other diets and I always went back to just eating well. I am able to keep very lean just by doing that.

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