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Five simple yet life-changing habits and tips for a healthy, happy new year
Is losing weight and getting healthy one of your New Years’ resolutions? And, was it last year’s resolution, and the year before that, and the year before that?
Below I have summarized 5 simple yet life-changing habits that will help you cultivate a healthy lifestyle, rather than yet another resolution that doesn’t last beyond Easter.
Ditch the diets!
That might sound surprising coming from a dietician, but the truth is... I don’t believe in diets! A lot of the time, diets end up doing more harm than good. Besides, there is no ‘secret diet’ that will change your life: no pills, potions or shakes; no diet clubs, juice fasts or LCHF/‘Banting’ diets. Those crazes may produce results in the short term but are extreme, expensive and not sustainable in the long-term. As soon as people stop the diet,they put all the weight back on plus extra. More importantly, chronic dieting can produce a diet mentality whereby you see yourself as either ‘on a diet’ or ‘not on a diet’. This ‘all or nothing’ thinking around food results in periods of restriction and deprivation followed by periods of intense gorging. This is clearly an unhealthy pattern. Instead, don’t think of starting and stopping a diet. Rather aim to cultivate simple and sustainable healthy habits.
Eat a protein-rich breakfast daily, within 1 hour of waking
Eating breakfast daily is a habit that has been linked to good weight management, lower cholesterol levels, fewer heart attacks, and many other health benefits. And yet SO many people skip breakfast. Make it a non-negotiable habit to eat a breakfast that includes some whole-food carb (e.g. fruit, veggies, oats etc); with protein (e.g. plain yogurt, egg, fish); and a little healthy fat (e.g. avo, nuts, olive oil etc) daily. You’ll be amazed at the positive effects: improved energy levels, better concentration, fewer cravings for junk foods ...to name just a few.
Make sustainable, enjoyable exercise a part of your lifestyle.
How many times have you embarked on an intense or extreme exercise program that leaves you feeling like death and never wanting to set foot in a gym again? Isn’t it time to make exercise something that you ENJOY, rather than a swear-word? If you hate the gym, then don’t go to the gym; rather try alternatives such as walking, hiking, yoga, pilates, surfing, etc. There are so many options. Find one that works for you and suddenly exercise will be something that you look forward to, rather than another dreaded chore. Before you know it you will be reaping rewards such as healthy weight loss, better quality sleep, and increased confidence.
Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can result in increased cravings for salty, fatty and sweet foods. Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night will help to decrease cravings for junk food, and will do wonders for your waist line.
Take a techno-break
Do you scroll through your facebook newsfeed first thing in the morning as you gobble down your breakfast? Or watch Youtube clips and check your mail on your tablet in bed before turning in for the night? Technology can very easily become boundryless and steal from other areas of your life such as exercise time, focused time spent with family, quality sleep, and focused enjoyment of food at meal times. People tend to eat more when they eat mindlessly, and being too engrossed with technology can steal from the beauty of mindfully living in the moment. People tend to eat more when they eat mindlessly. So set some boundaries with your technology usage. For starters you could try no screens at meals times and no screens 30 minutes before going to sleep.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015! If you want more guidance on how to cultivate a healthy lifestyle, contact me to set up a consultation.