Eat your greens, avoid gluten and dairy. Eat less red meat, drink more water. Floss, moisturise, stretch, meditate. Stress less, sleep more. Add green tea to your diet, cut out refined sugar. Exercise every day, take your multi-vitamins, don’t slouch… Woah, woah, woah – slow down. How on earth can I do all of that? We are constantly reading and hearing about what we should and shouldn’t do and going into the new year places even more pressure on us to reassess our lives, our habits, our diet and our routines. It’s easy to get overwhelmed though and think, "if I can’t do it all, then there’s no point doing any of it." Before you know it, you find yourself on the couch chowing through a whole packet of Kettle crisps. It’s important to remember though, that Rome wasn’t built in a day the same way that the abs on that girl on Instagram didn’t just happen overnight. We must work for what we want. We need to set goals and practice self-affirmation along the way. Baby steps, weekly changes. I’m no fan of fad diets and believe that health is a lifestyle choice and a journey. Setting a goal for yourself at the beginning of the week is a great way of making small, realistic and attainable changes in your life. It may be as simple as going for one run a week. This may be a big step for you, but once you’ve overcome that challenge, you could say to yourself that the following week you will go for one run and get to bed 20 minutes earlier than usual each night. Week three could see you cutting out red meat for one day, and week four you may set the goal of drinking 2L of water a day. Eventually, by the end of one month you could look back and see that you have been on 4 runs, slept 10 hours more, reduced your intake of red meat and have clearer skin and fewer headaches due to increasing your intake of H2O – wouldn’t that be nice? Keeping a daily journal is an important step in attaining your goals by being more mindful and organised. It keeps you accountable to yourself, helps you to track your progress and when you have those days when your mood is lower than usual, you can flick through the pages and see all the little wins you’ve had along the way. Remember – a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. In fact, the biggest mistake of all would be to decide to do nothing – you can only benefit from trying to live a healthier, more active lifestyle. Here are some simple ideas of small changes you can incorporate into your weekly routine. Make sure to plan it all out in your wellness journal:
- Start your day with a warm glass of lemon water. This aids digestion, boosts immunity and helps flush out toxins. You'll even see clearer skin.
- ‘Meatless Mondays’ – have one day a week where you opt for the vegetarian option. Eating less meat will help you consume less fat and lower your risk of heart disease.
- Pack your lunch (even if it’s only once a week) - you’ve been sitting at your desk all morning, have a to-do list as long as the Great Wall of China and the fastest lunch option is ducking down to Pret and grabbing a baguette. Why not prepare your lunch the night before or on the weekend before your work week even starts? Steam some vegetables, pack some tuna and quinoa and prepare your lunches way before hunger sets in when you’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices.
- Add chia seeds– This is a superfood of note! They are loaded with anitoxidants and minerals such as manganese, iron, magnesium and calcium. They are proven to reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control. Add chia seeds to your porridge, smoothies, salads, just about everything! And the best thing is that 2-3 tablespoons is all you need to fulfill your daily requirement of omega-3s.