It’s that time of the year when we can so easily start to feel reckless and unmotivated. But we can’t stop now; we’ve come a long way to throw in the towel this far into the year.
And so to keep going it is essential for us to take in the right fuel to keep ourselves energized. This comes in the form of good food choices, and regular exercise.
Rituals are wonderful to have and often need to be changed and updated depending on what we might be going through. As humans, learning new ways of doing things is necessary to keep our bodies healthy and our whole being happy.
When it comes to considering the nutritional side of maintaining a level of wellness, Lisa Raleigh has some awesome pointers to help you factor in more healthy habits, as well as discern exactly what it takes to be healthy.
1. Scrap the idea that ‘healthy’ is boring
The notion of ‘healthy’ as restrictive, boring or unvaried as it has come to be more of an outdated perception that comes from the older generations, where dieters were eating for skinniness versus eating for health, strength and vibrancy, as we do today. Scrap the lettuce! There is an endless supply of delicious, fresh and fragrant produce available for you to choose from, it’s up to you to explore it. The internet has endless healthy and tasty recipes to choose from.
2. Update your knowledge constantly
We are creatures of habit and often see tradition as ‘right’, and anything that deviates from that is ‘alien’ or ‘wrong’. We need to accept that nutritional health is something we should be constantly updating our knowledge on, and it’s something that the individual is responsible for. Marketers aren’t truth tellers. It’s not ‘low fat’ or ‘sugar free’ that’s going to make you healthier, it’s fresher, less processed produce together with sound nutritional knowledge.
3. Remember your mind and your body are one
Our body functions as a whole, and our brain and emotions are a part of that whole. Finding the right exercise and diet for you needs to make you feel good as well as look good, and deprivation isn’t going to cut it. A happy brain needs B vitamins for mood and energy, vitamin D and exercise for release of ‘happy’ hormones – endorphins – and omega 3 fatty acids for improved cognitive brain functions, like improving memory and concentration.
4. No one’s perfect, so opt for the 80/20 rule with your eating and training
The all-or-nothing approach is dangerous when it comes to dieting. Many people can lose sight of their original goal and strive towards unrealistic aspirations, or they feel they have failed after not following a strict regime to the tee and fall right off the band wagon.
5. Set your non-negotiables
Whether this is 5 portions of fruit and veg daily, a minimum of 7 hours sleep or an hour of exercise 3 times a week, decide what you’re flexible on and what you’re not. Then stick to it.
6. Be disciplined (and strong!)
You’re just NOT going to get results if you cave in to every temptation or don’t make an effort to work out enough each week. There is no quick way around it.
7. Remember, small, consistent effort beats the odd big burst every time
Getting straight back on the bandwagon after a cheat meal or doubling up your efforts in the gym after a relaxed week is more valuable than the odd drastic measure.
8. Choose quality over quantity
Make your time in the gym count by upping your intensity, replacing long, medium intensity workouts for short bursts of hard training. 20-30 minutes can be all it takes to really change your body, and you’ll spend less time waiting for equipment.
9. Push the weights
Ladies, we can’t add much to our frames without supplementation. Building lean muscle takes up far less space than fat, and keeps our metabolism burning much higher. Build and maintain lean muscle by lifting heavy and aiming for failure by the end of your sets.
10. Eat breakfast
You’ve all heard this one before. It doesn’t have to be your biggest meal, but after a night’s sleep where the body has fasted and the metabolism has slowed, it needs a jumpstart. Forcing your body to metabolise food in the morning lets it know that the ‘fast’ is over, and provides the fuel you need to start an active day.
Strive to become a better you with some of these new rituals definitely worth trying for yourself. In my next article we hear Lisa Raleigh offer 10 more tips to help us factor in healthy habits for the New Year.4