It’s that time of year! Everywhere I turn, someone is talking about prioritizing wellness, establishing healthy habits, and shedding a few holiday pounds… and I’m here for it.
Like most of us, I allowed myself to indulge a little too much over the holidays, and so often busyness got the best of me.
Well, the social events are over, the hustle and bustle of the holidays is behind me, and I’m ready to make wellness my top priority once again.
My journey to wellness is a long and complicated one, and it has been well-documented over the years on this blog of mine. Let’s just say, I’ve come a long way!
Whenever I’ve taken the time to do the research and inform myself about health and wellness, I’ve made great strides towards improving my quality of life. There have been some detours along the way, but overall, I am so much healthier now than I was 10-15 years ago. And best of all, I’m medicine-free.
Unfortunately, I got lazy last year and started slipping back into old habits, but no more! I’ve been making some changes to my diet and workout regimen, and they’re working really well for me so far!
MY 5 STEPS TO EMBRACING WELLNESS IN 2020
#1. More Walking, Less Running
I’ve been gradually running less and less over the past year or so due to a myriad of reasons. I miss it, but I can’t seem to get my old mojo back, and now I’m struggling with a hip injury. It wasn’t caused by running, but running definitely exacerbates it.
At 47, I have different expectations for myself than I did 5 or 10 years ago — not lower, just more realistic.
I may never get back to the shape I was in when I ran that half marathon in 2013, and that’s okay.
I used to get depressed when I couldn’t run, so I just wouldn’t do anything. This time, I’m not letting circumstances beyond my control put me in a funk.
What I can do is walk, so walking is what I’m doing.
Hopefully I’ll build back up to more intense workouts once we get my hip issue sorted out, but for now, at least I’m getting fresh air and releasing those feel-good endorphins!
#2. Motivational Podcasts
Walking is b-o-r-i-n-g. While I need music when I run, it doesn’t motivate me to keep walking.
To keep myself distracted, I’ve started listening to podcasts on my new Airpods, and now I don’t mind walking alone for 30-45 minutes. In fact, sometimes I add another loop around the neighborhood so I can finish listening to the show!
Even more importantly, I’m listening to podcasts that encourage me to embrace a healthier lifestyle. So not only am I getting a walk in, I’m getting information and encouragement that helps move me along in my journey to wellness. (Get it Move along? Haha!)
Which leads me to #3…
#3. Intermittent Fasting
I’ve shared a few times about my new-found intermittent fasting lifestyle. It’s only been a month, but I’m already looking and feeling so much better.
The scale is down a few pounds, and I’ve lost an inch from each of the key areas (chest, waist, and hips.) I also have a crazy amount of energy.
I realize it sounds extreme, but I urge you to research it before making up your mind about IF. Besides the weight loss potential, there are some really amazing health benefits associated with an intermittent fasting lifestyle.
Also, it’s very flexible. Your IF life doesn’t have to look like mine. It’s worth looking into if you’re looking to make some changes.
#4. Regular Strength Training Workouts
This isn’t new to me, as I’ve been working out with a trainer for years, but we always get a little off-kilter during the holidays.
We are both busy moms with jobs that have a lot of moving parts, so we were rather inconsistent with our workout appointments over the past few months.
Now we’re back to our regular twice-a-week schedule, and I can definitely feel the difference.
I often get asked if you can work out while fasting, and you can. We’ve been taking it slowly while my body gets used to it, but it’s actually recommended that you work out in a fasted state.
#5. Stylish Workout Gear
New gear always helps me feel more motivated to work out… no shame in that game!
Nordstrom has been my go-to resource for quality activewear for years, but I recently tried out a few new-to-me brands. This Sweaty Betty merino hoodie was a splurge, but it’s both practical and stylish.
I like it for throwing on with my tank top and leggings to go to and from my workouts, and it’s so stylish and flattering, I don’t mind wearing it to run errands afterwards.
In fact, I’m going to start integrating some stylish athleisure outfits like this one into my daily looks so it’s easy to go for a walk during the day.
That’s another way I’m helping myself achieve my wellness goals — eliminate excuses!
Proper gear is as important as clothes, so I picked up this Sweaty Betty All Sport Backpack to carry my shoes and other workout gear to and from the gym.
I used to throw everything into my everyday tote, but I like having a dedicated workout bag. It takes less time to get out the door when I’m already packed up and ready to go.
This bag will also be nice to take with me when traveling.
And these Nike running shoes are great for my long walks around the neighborhood.
They’re super cushiony and soft inside with good arch support, plus they’re a stylish addition to my workout wardrobe.
My new Adidas baseball cap is the perfect accessory to finish off my stylish workout look, and don’t forget about socks!
One thing I’ve learned over years of running is good socks are as important as good shoes.
These Bombas ankle socks have a midfoot support system that cradles your foot, and they are super soft and thick.
I picked up a few other pieces for my outdoor walks in this cold weather — this seamless dip dye long sleeve tee with thumbholes is the perfect base layer for chilly days, and I’ll be able to wear it alone when the weather warms up. (Other good options are here and here.)
Then this cozy zip-up hoodie layers on top to keep me nice and warm. This one’s by Zella, one of the Nordstrom in-house brands. It’s priced well under $100, and it comes in two great neutral colors.
Lastly, hydration is key to health and wellness. I’ve gotten into the habit of bring a bottle of water with me whenever I leave the house.
This stainless steel Hydro Flask keeps my water cold all day, and because it’s so sturdy, it rarely gets dented or dinged up. It’s also BPA free and phthalate free! (My white is sold out, but the black is one is great too! I also like Swell water bottles; I have several of those as well.)
And that’s it! Those are the 5 steps I’m taking to embrace wellness in 2020.
Whenever you get down on yourself because you aren’t where you want to be, just remember this: Wellness isn’t the destination, it’s the journey.
Everyone is in a different place, and I don’t think there is some final wellness utopia one can reach. We all get busy or lazy sometimes and backslide a little bit, and that’s okay. Just pick it up where you left off, and keep pressing on!
How about you? Did you set any wellness goals for 2020? I’d love to hear about them.
For more activewear and fashion inspiration, you can follow my Nordstrom Looks page! I’ll be updating it regularly with lots of outfit ideas as we head into spring.
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photos: Alison Cornell
53 thoughts on “Embracing Wellness in 2020”
I was wondering what podcasts you listen to. I have been doing more walking than running and would love to have some great podcasts to listen to. I am also interested in IF. I love reading your updates.
Mostly Intermittent Fasting Stories — I’m addicted! I love hearing people’s stories. I’d like to find some others tho.
I also listen to podcasts while I walk. I would be interested in hearing about ones that people enjoy. In the meantime, I’ve been listening to Dolly Parton’s America, which is fascinating, and Food, We Need to Talk.
What podcasts do you listen to while walking? I have been walking but getting bored with the music so would be interested in something else. Thanks
Love your blog!
So far, usually Intermittent Fasting Stories. I’m looking for some others, if anyone has recommendations!
I have a favorite podcast I love, its called Best to the Nest. Covers a wide range of topics all about bringing your best self to your home and family. Check them out!
I might have to look into the Intermittent Fasting, it’s definitely working for you!
I would love to hear more about working out in a fasting state. I do all of my exercise (some days cardio/HIIT and some days strength training) and I find that I don’t have the endurance to get a good workout in a fasting state. Do you know of any resources that discuss fitness programs and IF? So far, all of the IF resources I have found don’t address strength training. I would love to know if they can be compatible.
I know that Faster Way To Fat Loss includes HIIT training and cardio, as well as strength training, and they recommend working out while fasting. They also do carb cycling and have a system where you coordinate what you eat with your workouts… it was too complex for me, but I know it’s possible.
From what I’ve read, a lot of it is trial and error and figuring out what foods you need to eat the day before to properly fuel your body, but also, when you’ve become adjusted to fasting, the workouts should get easier b/c your body will burn its own fat for energy, not sugar from the foods you eat. At least, this is my rudimentary understanding of it all. Truly, though, I am no expert. I’m sure if you ask in the Delay, Don’t Deny Facebook Group, you will get a lot of info – and they can probably point you to some resources.
I do all my workouts in a fasting state, including long runs (8-13 miles) and have been for years. For me, it was mostly a matter of getting used to doing it that way. The activity itself tends to suppress my appetite, so it was motivating myself to get out the door that way. I sometimes take a green tea capsule before I start, which is a small jolt of caffeine, but usually I just drink water. I suspect eating a low carb diet helps (and I eat next to no sugar), but I mostly think it’s getting over the mental hump.
An interesting person to listen to or read on exercising in a fasting state is Peter Attia. Sometimes he is too technical for me (I don’t have much of a science background), but I still find him interesting. He is a mega athlete and I think he has said he eats in a 2-3 hour window only.
Thanks for the feedback! I have requested the Delay, Don’t Deny book from my library and I downloaded the IF podcast that Peter Attia recently released.
In the picture of you wearing your athletic shoes, are you wearing the socks you mentioned? On another note…I also started IF about the same time you did. Yes it is much easier than I would have thought. I have read about half way the book “ The Obesity Code “. It is very enlightening. I just received the “ Science of Skinny”. Both are high,y recommended by the author if DDD. I am glad I am reading them as they help explain a lot!
I’m glad you’re liking the books!
I am not wearing the socks with the Nikes – I wish I’d ordered black. I didn’t like how this color looked with the sneakers, but they are sooo comfy. I wear them with my lighter shoes.
So much to comment on today haha! I received my order from Amazon with three of the workout items you linked to. I love them all, and I cannot wait to put on the 2 warmer items today to walk. I also walk for fitness. I have fallen off a bit on distance; I am doing a challenge to walk at least 1 mile every day outside in January! I have only missed a couple of days due to minor surgery. I am trying to get back to my 10,000 steps a day. I am on IF Day 8. I am still very hungry, but I have kept at it. I have lost a few pounds, and I will measure inches per week and see how that looks. I work with weights at home, and I had to take a break for a few weeks. I hope to get back soon. What podcasts do you listen to? I have been listening to music, which is nice, but I need something more interesting. I just downloaded the IF stories and will start to listen to those. (I received some great earbuds for Christmas!) My daughter and future grandson have been my inspiration to get in shape (she has been through cancer twice and is now 18 weeks pregnant and still working out and running.) Thank you for this great post today!
Inspiring, just when I needed it. Thank you! One question–which are your fasting hours? I’ve tried 8p-12p which wasn’t terrible but I’m curious if yours are different.
Usually 7PM – 2PM, but it varies.
Love, love the backpack ❗️
I am halfway thru Gin’s IF book and hope to start IF soon. Just trying to eat clean until then. I have the same feeling–holidays are over and I need to get back at it. I agree that sometimes you have to modify. I’ve been dealing with back issues (on top of peri-menopause:( and definitely not back to working out like I used to. I keep trying to tell myself–babysteps–and that I am at least doing something. Have you found any great fitness podcasts you can recommend? Great idea on how to multitask!
Wow great question. As I get older I’m reminded that it’s important to stay active and be fit. I will continue to exercise which during the cold winter months is my treadmill, weights, resistance bands) and back to outdoor walks with my good friend and walking buddy in the spring. I will maintain my chiropractor and massage therapy for overall health and wellness. I watch what I eat and how much. Just lost the last 5 pesky pounds ( coming off the pill) also helped. I find myself experiencing some pre menopausal symptoms so getting to bed earlier and continuing to be active will be key and even more important.. life is always changing at this stage lol…love your workout wear you’ve styled and you’re looking great:)
Great post! I’m curious about IF. Is that a forever thing? Or until you reach your goal?
It’s a lifestyle, not a diet. I don’t really even have a weight-loss goal. I’m pretty happy where I am right now, but if I lose more, I won’t cry about it. 😬
I love the backpack and this post! Anytime we can talk about fitness and IF, I’m all in…
Just one thing to mention, when fasting, a lot of people mention that they have trouble sleeping, waking up frequently. While I experience this, and I’ve chalked it up to peri-menopause, people also tend to cut calories, like a lot, and this can lead to frequent bouts of insomnia and waking up frequently. Cutting calories too much and too quickly is not what intermittent fasting is about…you had some readers say they or their spouses experienced this so I thought I would pass this on.
I also wanted to mention that I don’t run anymore because it’s so hard on my knees but I’ve switched to rebounding! Its fun, it cleans my lymphatic system and gentle on my joints.
I would love to hear which podcasts are your favorites for motivation! Thanks!
I walk every day and love listening to podcasts when I do. My favourites include This American Life, TED Radio Hour, How I Built This, Radio Lab, Freakonomics, Embedded, and a few others. I am entertained, inspired and learn some things along the way!
Thanks for the ideas!
Would love to know what podcasts you listen too. Looking for some new ones.
Great post! I have been practicing IF for about a year and a half now and have fully embraced the lifestyle and love it. I started my journey with FWTFL and after one round have continued on my own. I really enjoy mixing up my workouts and carb cycling. For me it keep things interesting. I do both HIIT and strength, in a fasted state (usually fast 7 p.m. to noon) and feel great both during and after workouts. Like you, I feel like I have so much energy. Your earlier post about using a fasting app made me giggle as I have never had to have an app to tell me when to eat. LOL? You mentioned switching from running to walking. I have never been much of a runner. I never got that “runner’s high” they mention. I do, however, really enjoy doing a run/walk (run a minute walk a minute) and do that about once a week.
Keep up the good work!
I love the app. I got tired of doing the math, and now I can glance at it and see just how long I’ve been fasting, or eating. Also I like having the record to look back on.
Changing up our workouts is definitely important. That’s one reason I love working out with a trainer – we never do the same workout twice. 🙂
Loved that post. I too use to run but fractured foot on pine cone. I know that’s crazy. Anyway after 6 weeks in a boot I started back walking. Loved it so much that it’s my new routine. Have you heard of the brand Inspire for workout tights. M ade from recycled plastic bottles. A girl at gym had some on. Cute but not cheap. Check them out. Sounds like you are doing great with your fast.
I started IF the second week of January. Having injured my knee I can’t work out until surgery so I’ve stretched my fasting time to 20:4. During that four hour period I have a handful of almonds until dinner is ready. So basically, I’m eating one meal a day. Is this an accepted practice of IF?
Please don’t take this critically because I am absolutely not an expert but I’ve read a lot about food and nutrition and depending on how much you eat at dinner, that doesn’t seem like enough food to sustain you for a day.
Thank you for the feedback Gina. I eat a Big salad followed by protein (chicken or fish) and a vegetable. I’m never hungry when I go to bed. I certainly don’t want my body to go into starvation mode though. I guess I need to do more research.
That’s great! I eat a lot so I know I would be hungry and as I said, I certainly am no expert. I do know that on the Faster Way to Fat Loss one of the topics they talk about a lot is not eating enough so definitely look into it more.
OMAD is one type of IF, but I can’t say if you’re getting enough food or not.
If you join this OMAD facebook group, you’ll get a lot of info on that method of IF: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2143753962535368/
I’m no longer on Facebook as trying to cut back my online time. I’ll delve a little deeper on OMAD though. I’m quite satisfied with the amount I’m eating – not dizzy or fatigued and I’m sleeping fine because I’m not going to bed on an empty stomach. Not being able to exercise makes losing weight difficult but necessary. But, if it’s bad for my health I’ll need to rethink my strategy.
I’ve also gotten serious about intermittent fasting since the beginning of January. I’m really loving the results so far and I think it’s something that I could actually maintain long-term. I am definitely inspired by the success stories on the podcast. It took hearing about fasting from many sources (you and Cindy were 2 of them) before I took the plunge. Thanks for helping get the word out. I think it could help many more people get healthy.
Jo-Lynne, I really love your posts. I am constantly impressed by your amazing energy and AMOUNT of energy! Thank you for the inspiration. I just turned 50 earlier this month and I understand about the need to reassess one’s physical / wellness goals as compared to 10-15 years ago. One thing I am increasingly interested in learning more about is IF; you have recommended a book or two that you loved; would you please forward those book titles/author names on again?
Thanks again, and keep it up in 2020 (and beyond!).
Can you suggest some of the Podcasts you enjoy? Thanks!!
I did set a wellness goal for this year. I had been exercising doing walking DVDs and trying to do portion control , more veggies , lots of water. but Im kind of in a holding pattern I lack consistency. Maybe a new workout and kicks will do the trick.
Great post! Congrats to you for all the steps you are taking, up to and including getting workout clothes you love. I have yet to try Sweaty Betty, but I’ll happily extol the virtues of wearing lululemon stuff to anyone who’ll listen! You asked for some podcasts – have you listened to anything by Peter Attia? He is technical (sometimes too technical for me), but interesting. He has his own stuff and has also been interviewed by others (I am in the middle of a Joe Rogan interview, as a matter of fact). Another expert on IF, in particular the medical side, is Jason Fung.
Thanks for the suggestions. I am currently reading Fung’s book, and I just searched and found his podcast.
Hello! I, like you, have gained a few pounds over the holiday. My Wellness Journey, is about start up. I have already changed my diet some. How did you change up your diet? I want to try the Intermittent Fasting. Was it difficult to start? I’ve had my yearly checkup so I’m good to go. Our Weather in NC is about like yours in Philly. We can have all four seasons in one week. So its really hard to get a walk in, on a regular basis. Anyway, Love your Blog. You look great in all of your workout clothes. Have a Great Day!!
I haven’t changed too much about my diet – but b/c I’m not eating as often, I’ve cut out a lot of superfluous snacking, which also cuts back on junk. I’m trying to eat more fiber too.
Hi, what podcasts do you listen to while walking? I need to do that too!!
Thanks Jo-Lynne for this positive post. I needed to hear this. When I can’t excercise often because of my migraines then I get discouraged and give up. But like you said do what you can and get back at it. Thanks for the encouragement. Great post.
What size did you get in the Zella top and Zella zip hoodie? I need both for my morning walks! Thank you!!
Both are mediums, but the hoodie is a bit big. I think I could have sized down.
These are great steps Jo Lynne! I can identify with all of them. I started weight training a few years ago when i was doing FWTFL and it was a game changer. I have to take it easy as I too have had hip and back issues so I’m trying to figure out why. Yoga has helped. I walk regularly with a friend (I highly suggest setting a regular walking date with a friend – we walk almost every Monday morning at the same time each week and it’s a great time to catch up and get some exercise, alleviates the boredom and the fact that’s it’s on our calendar makes sure that we do it and get some friend time) I bought some fun new exercise gear for my walking routine and it is fun! Also, since our oldest is now in college and we aren’t going to as many sports games, my husband & I have begun walking on the weekend. It’s been great “couple” time and good for both of us!
I’ve been intermittent fasting (also since FWTFL) but I was doing the under 50 calories fasting and was curious if I did a hard fast if it would make a difference. I tried the strict intermittent fasting since you’re written about it and don’t notice much of a difference but it’s only been two weeks. I’m going to have to check out the book. I will say, it’s A LOT harder!
I love podcasts – I like The Balanced Life by Robin Long, Happier by Gretchen Rubin (sometimes I need a break from them but I do get some good ideas) and love The Daily by the New York Times. I’ve stopped reading and watching the news as much as I used to and this helps me feel like I’m keeping up on important issues. I also love What Should I Read Next by Anne Bogel. My TBR list is getting huge.
Thanks for the podcast suggestions!
Health goals this year: Get to the doctor (at 50 almost 51). It’s time I had someone take a look at what is going on. Peri-menopause hot flashes have not been fun! Lose the weight: I need to lose 50 pounds. I am trying IF – being supportive of my husband, who started in January. So far it hasn’t been as hard as I thought, but I would like to do a lot more reading up on it. I will be switching up my gym routine, as the one by my work got too expensive, so I will be going to the one by my house. It means just walking at lunch and a workout after dinner. My goal is min 3-4 days per week with one day of yoga. Thanks for all the work you do with your blog! 🙂
I love exercising/walking to podcasts. Dolly Parton’s America is interesting and my all-time favorite is Gretchen Rubin’s Happier. A previous post mentioned that life is always changing at this stage……….isn’t that the truth. Injuries, trying to avoid injuries and peri-menopause add up to some days not recognizing your own body. It is helpful to know that we are not alone! Just when I think I’ve figured something out, something else acts up. Ha! Getting exercise of any kind is so important – thanks for helping us look good doing it.
Dr’s Farmacy is a wonderful podcast, The Drive and Bulletproof are all favorites of mine. I have been doing IF for a 1 1/2 years and love it. I have been alternating days the last 6 months or so as I am thin enough and do not want to lose anymore weight.
LOVE this post!!! Sorry about your hip!