How many resolutions have you made, only to ditch them a few weeks later when they become unsustainable? I've done it so many times. But in 2013, one resolution did stick: to clean up my diet. I stopped buying crisps, then I stopped buying margarine, chocolate and bread soon followed. Instead, I started to make my own versions from scratch or replace them with healthier alternatives. So why did it work? I started small. I'm talking baby steps.
Pick up just a few healthy habits from the list below and slowly introduce it into your routine. You might find some just don't suit your lifestyle, so leave it alone and pick a different one. 2015 is not about setting yourself up to fail, it's about celebrating your achievements.
1. TRAIN OUTSIDE ONE DAY A WEEK
Try swapping one of your gym sessions for an open-air workout. The combination of fresh air and endorphins can make an extraordinary difference to your health, increasing your energy levels and overall feelings of happiness! Check out other reasons to train outdoors here.
2. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
We all make progress at different rates and what works for one person may not work for another. Take note of how your body reacts to certain foods and exercises, then focus on the ones that make you feel good.
3. ENJOY GREEN TEA AFTER BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER
It’s high in antioxidants and can help increase your metabolic rate. If you've tried it and hate it, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice and brew for a shorter time, or swap for white tea. For more tasty options you can also check out my chat with 'tea nerd' Reece Carter here.
4. DRY BODY BRUSH
Your skin is our largest organ and plays an important role in elimination of toxins. Body brushing assists in stimulating and increasing blood circulation, as well as promoting better muscle tone. Use a natural bristle brush on dry skin, working in circular upward motions, starting from the ankles and then working upwards to the heart. Shower afterwards to wash away dead skin cells and toxins.
5. ALWAYS CARRY A HIGH PROTEIN SNACK
Think nuts, hard boiled eggs or homemade protein balls. They will stop you from reaching for unhealthier alternatives while you’re on the run.
6. DITCH THE SCALES
Obsessing over the number on the scales can be detrimental to your mental health. I've been there - believe me. Instead, go by how your clothes feel. Are they more loose or tight than normal? Don't forget, if you're lifting weights, muscle can pop up new areas and can make your clothes feel different. You can always check yourself over in the mirror from time to time, but try to make health and wellbeing your focus.
7. USE HERBS AND SPICES TO FLAVOUR FOOD
Make dishes more tasty with the addition of your favourite fresh and dried herbs and spices. Chilli, cinnamon, turmeric, basil, garlic and ginger are some of my personal loves. Many of them have amazing medicinal properties too, so skip the salt get spicy!
8. SKIP THE JUICE
I love the occasional orange juice as much as the next person, but steer clear from 'cleanses'. You will get much more fibre and undoubtedly less sugar by eat the whole fruit or veg. It will also fill you up for longer! Bonus. Try eating your daily juice ingredients just one day a week with a glass of water and notice the difference.
9. REPLACE SUGAR WITH STEVIA
The average Australian consumes about 27 teaspoons per day. Poor tummy. A high sugar intake can lead to lots of health issues including heart disease, osteoporosis, headaches, and depression. Swap the refined stuff for stevia (made naturally from the stevia leaf) to satisfy your sweet tooth, without feeling deprived.
10. WRITE A HEALTHY SHOPPING LIST
It's too tempting to eat takeaway if there's nothing in the fridge. Make life easier on yourself - stock your fridge and pantry with healthy options you'll be able to make better choices when you're hungry. The secret to healthy shopping is to plan ahead (tips on that here).
Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2015.