It’s that time of year when you’re still stuffed from all the food over the last few days but attention starts to turn to the New Year and possible resolutions or goals that you want to achieve.
Maybe you set one or two last year and achieved them (which if you did, then bravo!), or were you one of the 80% who failed? Or perhaps you’re a Monday morning detoxer … you regularly tell yourself on a Sunday that this week is the week you’re going to eat healthier/start losing weight/go to the gym regularly/all of the above?
Life is B-USY, and in my experience the busier we get the more diet and wellbeing tends to go out the window. So how do you make 2018 different?
One step at a time
Don’t rush out on the 1st January having given up alcohol for the month, start eating salads and drinking juices (coz actually January is not the best time to start a detox anyway), and hitting the gym … fine when you have time off work but it is not sustainable. Start with one thing, such as drinking 2 litres of water a day. Then when you’ve achieved that regularly for a few weeks, add in another goal such as 3 x 30-minutes exercise a week. It can take on average 66 days to make a habit so stick with it.
Be kind to yourself
Yes, it’s great to have goals and ambition, but be kind to yourself in the process of trying to achieve them. If you have a bad day, fall of the wagon or miss your spin class so what! Don’t spend the rest of the day/week berating yourself just be realistic, give yourself a hug and pick up where you left off.
So here are my top, easy, everyday tips that you can start using from 1st January (or maybe the 2nd once the hangover’s worn off) to make 2018 healthier, easier:
Drink 2 litres of water a day
If water is out of sight, it’s out of mind. Invest in a decent, glass/BPA-free portable bottle so there’s no excuse and get glugging. Herbal teas count, tea with milk, coffee, fruit juice and cordials (even the sugar-free ones) do not!
Get your greens in
Every lunch and dinner ask, ‘Where’s the green?’ Green leafy vegetables are vital for a healthier diet as they are rich in fibre, high in magnesium, and packed full of micronutrients making them good for gut health, immunity, moods and energy. Even if you’re going out for a pizza, ask for a side salad. No excuses!
Have a shot … of a kefir every morning
Kefir is essentially fermented milk. Doesn’t sound appetising but it is a great way to boost your gut health which is where all good health starts really. Just 170ml a day on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, even if you do nothing else all day.
Go dark (chocolate)
“I’m addicted to chocolate” is a phrase I hear often with clients … alas, this isn’t a true addiction and is probably more fuelled by either your energy levels or your emotions. Get those in check and you’ll find the cravings go with it. However, life is too short not to have some chocolate but start switching it up for dark chocolate instead (minimum 75%). Good dark chocolate is lower in sugar and high in antioxidants so you’ll be getting some health benefits at the same time.
Plan your exercise like your social life
You plan your social life so why not your exercise? Whether you have an ‘old-fashioned’ paper diary (like me), use your phone or your office calendar, every Sunday sit down and plan your exercise for that week. Write it in as an appointment to yourself and you’ll find you’re much more likely to stick with it rather than just thinking it.
Batch cook on a Sunday
Use Sunday as the day to prep a few things for the week. My favourites include:
- A roast chicken that can be eaten over the next three-four days
- Bircher museli for midweek breakfasts
- Homemade granola that can be used for breakfast or snack (I tend to leave out the honey)
- Roast butternut squash which can be used in salads, pasta, risotto or alongside some protein for dinner
- Energy bites that are great for on the go, as a snack or pre-exercise
I am a big fan of the app CALM. It's a meditation app with both guided and open meditations, ranging from 2 minutes to an hour, but I mainly use it to help me sleep some nights. It contains either music or sleep stories that help you to drift off, or fall back to sleep if you've woken in the night. Many of my clients now use it too. It's free to download (and then you can pay for additional contents either monthly or annually)