Why is it that people make such a palava over starting a new diet plan or exercise regime? These 7 healthy tips are easy, free, and you can literally start them today, now!
Often when I speak to my Mum-clients for the first time they tell me they’re going to go shopping at the weekend so they’re raring to go the following week.
And while good planning and preparation are definitely important to success, there are tonnes of things you can do right away.
Often I start by simply asking them what’s in their fridge right now, and come up with a healthy dinner for that very evening, so shopping required!
And ironically often it’s the simple, fundamental basics that make the biggest impact on a person’s healthy anyway.
Here are some healthy tips you can start implementing today.
Stress increases hunger hormones and cravings for sugary and fatty foods, depletes nutrients in your body, and hinders exercise recovery. Increased cortisol (one of the stress hormones) is also associated with belly fat storage, and increased risks of heart disease, diabetes and mental health problems as well as digestive issues and IBS.
What’s relaxing will be different for everyone – some people like yoga and meditation, others find exercise and walking, while some people are happy with some telly or a good book. Whichever you go for, be present in the moment, enjoy it, and breathe deeply while you’re doing it.
Stop sitting around.
It sounds so simple but how often would you consider having a colleague meeting while walking rather than at a desk, or doing some stretches in front of the TV? It’s just not our normal habits to keep moving as much as possible. But that can be changed! Make a list of all the activities you can do standing or moving rather than sitting, be it making phone calls or filling out forms at a standing desk, and keep your list somewhere you can see it. After a while these will become second nature and you’ll do them automatically.
Make a 10 portion plan.
That it, write down all the ways you can fit in fresh vegetables, fruit and salad throughout the day so they add up to 10. It sounds like a lot, but with a green smoothie alongside your breakfast (plus fruit), a large salad at lunch, lots of vegetables with your evening meal plus fruit and vegetables to snack on, it adds up pretty quickly.
Either find an exercise you enjoy, or make it more fun.
The first is easier said than done – not everyone has a schedule that allows outings to their favourite exercise class, or has time or childcare available to spend evenings being part of a local sports team. If your options are limited, see how you can make it more enjoyable. Maybe listen to music or podcasts at the same time. Do bodyweight moves in front of your fave TV show, or arrange with a friend to do circuits together at each other’s house while your kids all play together and keep each other amused.
Not only write a shopping list but stick to it!
I can’t emphasize this enough; if you are strict and stick to your list not only will you get everything you need without unhealthy extras but you’ll save a tonne of money at the same time. The caveat is if you see a good deal on some really healthy food it makes sense to take advantage, but stick to long life or freezer friendly options so you don’t end up with a tonne of food going out of date in your fridge. Or batch cook meals with bulk bought ingredients when you get home so you’ve got a stash of healthy homemade ready meals in your freezer.
Stop criticising yourself.
I’ve coached hundreds of women and it’s very clear that hating your body and pointing out its’ flaws is not going to make you change. It only makes you more miserable and hopeless, and more likely to comfort eat on junk, which has the opposite effect to actually helping!
If you can eat well because your body deserves to be looked after, and because you know you have the potential to feel energised and confident every day, you’ll feel much more motivated to fuel your body well so that it treats you nicely in return.
- Drink more (but not necessarily water).
Personally I find water a bit boring. There I said it, a health professional dislikes water! Juice is high in sugar, as are non diet fizzy drinks, milky drinks and fruit smoothies so aren’t so helpful for people wanting to lose weight as your body won’t recognise that you’ve consumed calories so won’t fill you up. But fruit and herbal tea, coffee and tea in moderation, lemon, lime or cucumber infused water, sparkling water or sugar free squash and diet drinks all count. Some people find artificial sweeteners make their sugar cravings worse so if you know that’s you then probably better to avoid them, but a diet coke on a hot day is low on the list of dietary evils.
Drinking more isn’t about ‘flushing out toxins’ (the body’s way of metabolising waste is more complicated than that), but it will help curb hunger, give you more energy, make workouts easier (and recovery better) and you’ll have better digestion and improved concentration. Keep a tab on a notepad or in the notes section of your phone for a few days and keep counting your drinks until it becomes a natural habit.
None of these healthy tips are complicated, time consuming, expensive or require special equipment or food.
The best way to implement these? Choose one to work on and concentrate on it fully for a week. If my the end of the week it’s becoming easy and automatic, add a second one to add for the next week. If you’re still struggling, looks at what you’re doing and see if there is an easier way that suits you better, and repeat that tip for another week.
If you want to ask me for some advice on one of these then the best place is in my free Facebook Group which you can join here and I’ll get back to you asap.