Expert Tips to Achieve Your Health Resolutions

We spoke with chef and health coach Jennifer Helene Popken-Leeds about her January 14th workshop (details at right), and she offered this insight for starting and staying on a healthy path in 2015.

When the New Year rolls around, lots of people vow to eat healthier or work out more often. What does it take to succeed?

Jennifer: It is so important to be clear on what you want for yourself. There has to be a degree of tenaciousness and commitment from the heart. When you are making a commitment from your heart, the chances of its sustainability are much higher than "white knuckling" your way toward your health goals.

Why don’t you think “white knuckling” it works?

Jennifer: If you are forcing yourself to accomplish your goals from a place of willpower and the only reward is the destination, it will not usually be a very positive experience. Studies have shown that goals are held only for a short term when force is used rather than power.

The real work is in confronting yourself to see where you get off-track so as to expand your boundaries and step into areas that may be uncomfortable. This is how we increase our mindfulness, self-awareness and personal evolution.

What recipes will you demonstrate at the January 14 workshop to help us lighten up our diets?

Jennifer: Fat Burning Green Soup, chia pudding, raw hummus, sprout salad, raw fennel soup, and arame with carrots.

How do our bodies benefit when we give them a break from heavy foods?

Jennifer: Our bodies can release the excess toxins from the fat cells. We tend to feel lighter. Many people find they have increased mental clarity, deeper sleep, clear skin, more energy and less cravings.

Why do some people feel more sluggish at this time of year?

Jennifer: We are often not moving as much because of the colder weather. There isn't as much light at this time of year, and that can be a source of sadness, depression, and low motivation.

Do you have any suggestions for getting the body going when motivation is low?

Jennifer: When motivation is low, it is essential that we look at ourselves and our lives and the actions we are taking each day of our lives, and then come from a place of choice and responsibility. From this place, we can choose. This shifting context is incredibly powerful.

Are there other tips you want to share?

Jennifer: Reduce or eliminate stimulants, such as caffeine, to see what it has to offer you in terms of mental clarity. Eat plenty of green and colorful foods. Increase oxygen and blood flow through movement, doing whatever it is you love to do.