It’s a new year and many people set themselves new goals or shall we say “New Years resolutions” among the most popular of which is a healthier lifestyle.
Some may classify this resolution as “losing weight” or “dropping a few pounds” but what this should really come down to is making healthier choices and not promoting or engaging in bad dietary habits.
Taking the first steps can be difficult but it’s usually worth it, so if your goal this year is to get healthy here are a few tips to get you on your way.
1. Make simple food swaps
Believe it or not, eating healthy doesn’t mean cutting everything you love out of your diet. Start by making simple swaps, such as low-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and if you’re a fan of avocado you can use it in place of mayonnaise.
2. Make your workouts more comfortable
Some people tend to give up on exercise and workout regimes early because they go too hard too fast and battle to keep up with the challenge they’ve set themselves.
If you’re one of those people, try making you’re routine more comfortable for your fitness level, making sure it’s achievable day-to-day. As you become fitter and the workout becomes easier you’ll be able to gradually make it more challenging.
However, if you need the extra motivation think about booking in some time with a personal trainer — while many may be avoiding gyms due to COVID-19 enquire about online sessions over zoom where you can safely workout from home.
3. Pair old habits with new ones
When you’re trying to start new habits, incorporating them into something you already do can make the behaviour easier to pick up. For example, if you already do cardio try adding 10 minutes of weight or resistance training afterwards before bed instead of sitting on your phone take a few minutes for reflection and meditation to relax and wind-down.
4. Think about what you’re buying
Next time you’re grocery shopping think about what you’re buying. It’s always good to have versatile products in your fridge, for instance zucchini, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, and leafy greens.
These products can be used in many ways, and as substations for other kitchen staples, for example zucchini can be made into pasta or noodles plus carrots and bell peppers can be eaten raw and cooked making them great for day time snacking.
5. Follow healthy sleeping patterns
6. Eat from a smaller plate
Portion control can be a problem for many people, and you could be eating more than you need simply because your plates and bowls are on the larger side. Switching to smaller dinnerware will help you control your portion sizes without you really noticing.
7. Drink more water
Water keeps your body hydrated, which is good for your overall health. It can also help combat hunger by keeping your stomach full and therefore will reduce the amount you consume at meal times, which is why some experts suggest drinking a glass of water before a meal.
However, when you’re feeling peckish think about having a glass of water first because often when we’re dehydrated our bodies can misidentify that feeling as hunger, causing us to eat when we’re actually thirsty.
8. Don’t cut out carbs completely
A lot of diets recommend cutting out carbs if you want to lead a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. However, this approach is unsustainable long-term and our bodies need carbohydrates for energy.
The trick is to choose the right carbohydrates, opting for whole, unprocessed crabs such as brown rice, nuts, legumes and non-starchy vegetables.
9. Stock up on healthy snacks
In many diet circles snacking has a bad reputation. However, snacking is actually completely normal as long as you approach it the right way.
Healthy snacks can help keep your sugar levels stable, prevent you from binging on unhealthy treats and keep food cravings at bay. Try:
- Dried fruit (with no added sugar)
- Dark chocolate
- Rice and corn cakes
- Popcorn (made in an air fryer)
10. Remember: One step at a time
Keep in mind that change doesn’t happen over night, and that sometimes you might fall but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed — get back up and keep going, taking it one day at a time.