Forget New Year’s Resolutions! Most of us start the year with great intentions of becoming a newer, faster, fitter, slimmer, better version of ourselves, which is great, but how many times have you made the same resolution, only to find yourself disappointed at your lack willpower, or feeling guilty about your love of chocolate.
I have a better idea, why don’t we use January as a celebration of what we already do to look after ourselves? I know we have had a few weeks of overindulgence, but so what? Now is the time to pick up where you left off and get back to those healthy habits that are part of your regular lifestyle.
Be nice to yourself
If you are not managing to get to the gym every day, have already succumbed to sugar cravings and are not managing to do that mindfulness relaxation you promised yourself every day it’s not the end of the world. Take a look at the bigger picture – you are probably eating better, taking more exercise and looking after yourself better than you did in December and that is a pretty good start don’t you think?
Here are some everyday habits that you might already be doing that all contribute to a strong, healthy, happy you, and maybe a few new ideas to inspire you.
- Drink some water – give your energy levels a jumpstart with a glass of water first thing and drink a few glasses throughout the day, or carry a water bottle with you.
- Move your body every day. Walk to work, take the stairs, dance around the kitchen, book an exercise class. Do whatever you like, as long as it is fun. If you are anything like me, that is the only way you will stick at it. I am not a fan of gyms, but I love running in the forest, outdoor bootcamps and being on my bike, so that is what I do to keep fit.
- Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Get back to basics and focus on packing as much nutrition as you can into your three main meals. Sometimes our hunger pangs, mid-afternoon cravings and need for sugar, are a sign that we haven’t eaten enough at breakfast, lunch or dinner. I find that packing a little extra protein into breakfast (more nuts and seeds on porridge, natural yoghurt with low-sugar granola, to having an egg or two a couple of times a week) really keep me feel fuller for longer, so I don’t need to snack mid-morning. On days when I eat a good lunch I can keep going until dinner, but the key is to pack in a palm size portion of protein, plenty of vegetables and a little slow release carbs to help sustain energy and regulate appetite.
- Read the back of the pack. The front might look promising with smashing claims to help you build that body beautiful you are after, but before you pop it in your trolley, take a look at the back of the back of the pack. Train your eye to look at the amount of sugar per 100g and always aim for 5g or less per 100g. Take a quick glance at the ingredients list too – do you recognise everything on the list, or does it look like a science experiment? The foods that goes into our trolley is your nutrition, so make good choices and your body with thank you for it.
- Double your vegetables, halve your carbs. If you have overindulged a little too much and are keen to lose a few lbs, then a few simple changes are likely to do the trick, rather than going on a crazy fad diet, or living a life of denial. Take a look at what’s usually on your plate, and take away half the spuds, rice, pasta, noodles or bread, and replace it with more vegetables. Do this for a few weeks and you are likely to lose weight as well as doing your bit to build a stronger, healthier body.
- Eat something green and leafy every day. Green leafy vegetables like rocket, watercress, kale, broccoli, Savoy cabbage, leeks and the humble brussel sprout are hard-hitters in terms of their health benefits. Aim to have at least one portion of greens every day. Brussel sprouts are not just for Christmas!
- Use your freezer – have a supply of frozen veg and berries, freeze leftovers and make soup once a week to freeze in portion sizes, That way you will always have a supply of healthy fast foods the the cupboards look bare. There are some great foods in the frozen food aisle these days. Vegetables for stir frying, roasting or steaming, frozen quinoa and cauliflower rice, and even frozen herbs. It is worth taking a look.
- Treat your treats as treats! If you do get a craving for something sweet, fried or salty, then a little of what you fancy will do no harm as long as it is an occasional treat rather than an every day indulgence. Here’s what works for me.
Giving yourself a high 5 for what you already do to take care of yourself and keep your body, mind and spirit happy and healthy. A healthy body does not appear out of nowhere, but instead is a result of long term healthy choices that make you feel good about yourself.