Archive for January, 2013

January 1, 2013

Healthy Resolutions

by lrmetcalfe

New YearsHappy New Year everyone!

I hope you have had a lovely (and over indulgent) Christmas (I have!). Now that the festivities are over it is the time for looking forward and deciding on a new year’s resolution, and then deciding how we are going to keep it! Many of us set unattainable goals and give up by January 5th, however let’s look at some healthy steps we can take to break down those scary resolutions we all make.

“I must drink two litres of water a day!”

We all know we need to drink between 1.5-2 litres of water a day, to keep our bodies in tip top condition. We have all tried buying the litre bottle of Evian on January 2nd and resolving to drink and refill it at least twice a day, but let’s be realistic! It is very hard to keep this up; I usually lose my litre bottle or get fed up of carrying this extra weight around with me.  So let’s take little easy steps.

Have a look at what you drink in a normal day. Are you a tea or coffee drinker? Or is squash or coke more your tipple. Start by swapping two of your naughtier daily drinks for a glass of water and increase gradually, before you know it you will have included more water into your diet- no huge plastic bottle in sight.

Also try making water more interesting. Add ice and a slice of lemon or lime, and water becomes more refreshing and tasty. Or for a hot drink option, try herbal teas. There are so many varieties available now that there is a tea for every taste. I like buying loose green tea, and using just a pinch of leaves- I find it settles my stomach and is easier to drink than the more concentrated green tea bags.

So get exploring, if you don’t want to waste money on a whole box of tea bags that you may not enjoy log on to http://twinnings.co.uk and select your two free sample tea bags.

“I must do more exercise!”

Another resolution that many of us shudder at the thought of! Every January many of us trudge to the local gym and purchase a years gym membership which we only use until February. This is not applicable to everyone, many people love going to the gym and follow structured routines. However it’s not so easy for others and is not the cheapest way to get fit:

Do something you enjoy! Whichever form of exercise you opt for, make sure you enjoy it, otherwise it will be hard to commit to. If you’re not sporty then exercise may not seem like an enjoyable past time, but you could dance around your living room to your favourite music for 15 minutes a day and get a great workout. Think outside the box, keep mixing it up and changing your routines and make sure you are having fun whilst you burn calories!

Buy a pedometer. You can get a decent pedometer for around £5 now. Record how many steps you do on a normal day.  Gradually try and increase this, setting yourself attainable goals. Easy ways to increase your step count are:

  • Taking the stairs instead of lifts or escalators.
  • Park your car a little further away from your destination.
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier.

Exercise doesn’t have to be all about blood sweat and tears! Slogging away at a sweaty workout and leaving the gym like a red faced buffoon, seems to many of us the best way to get fit. However, gentle exercise can be much more effective, especially if you suffer from a medical condition which restricts the amount of strain your body can take. Swimming, yoga, tai chi and walking are all gentle forms of exercise which are great for your body and mind.

Do it with a friend. Making a pact with a friend to exercise together, often makes us stick to exercise. The obligation to our friend pulls us off the sofa much better than the thought of losing a stone. Nattering away to a friend whilst exercising often makes the time pass quicker, as well as making the exercise more enjoyable.

“I will lose 2 stone”

Before vowing to lose massive amounts of weight and buying a faddy diet book, set yourself an attainable goal to be met within an attainable time frame. Focus on one goal at a time and achieve this before you start another. Try focusing on making your diet healthier and weight loss will soon come if it is neccesary. Many diets will make you lose weight in the short term but aren’t nutritionally beneficial. Lose weight for yourself and for your health!

Try making these easy changes and see what happens on the scales:

1. Firstly, don’t use the word diet, personally if I tell myself I am on a diet I become suddenly ravenous and want to eat everything I see! ‘I am trying to eat healthier’, is a much better mantra.

2. Swap naughty snacks for healthy (yummy) ones! There is nothing worse than snacking on boring pumpkin seeds and rice cakes and watching your friends shovel down biscuits. Look for yummy, yet healthy snacks. Try exotic fruits and buy supermarket pre-packs if slicing and dicing will put you off. There are some lovely dried fruit mixes available now, dried pineapple or cherries are my favourites. Munchy Seeds are also a great choice, they are seeds which have been roasted and sprinkled with natural flavouring- a great option for savoury fans. Low fat yoghurts and smoothies are another tasty choice.

3. Don’t skip meals and always eat breakfast! Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day you are literally ‘breaking a fast’ and your body needs that kick start of energy from breakfast to start all of its natural processes- including switching on your metabolism, which controls the rate your body burns off calories!  Just the thought of breakfast can turn the stomach for many, but it is important to just have something if you can’t stand a large meal in the morning. Try a banana, a piece of wholemeal toast or a healthy cereal bar (Eat Natural of Nakd bars are great options) if you can’t stand one of the below healthy breakfast options:

  •  Porridge. Many of us don’t like porridge so don’t force yourself if you can’t stand it, if you can porridge is one of the best ways to start the day, full of B vitamins and slow releasing energy it will help you cope with a hectic stressful morning.
  • A healthy ‘fry’ up- grill everything! Try this: a poached egg, grilled bacon with the rind removed, beans, wholemeal toast and a grilled tomato. A great protein filled start – keeping you full up for longer.
  • Wholemeal Granary Toast & Peanut Butter
  • Natural Yoghurt and fruit, sprinkled with muesli or oats

4. Sit up to the table and make each meal time an event. Don’t eat on the go or eat sat in front of the TV or computer, research shows that our brain doesn’t register that we have eaten if we are distracted or eat too quickly and could lead to snacking later. Sitting up to the table and enjoying your meal will keep you fuller for longer and improve digestion. As well as providing you with extra time to sit and be sociable with your family and friends.

I hope that has helped to make a few of your resolutions seem less scary.

My new year’s resolution is to write more articles- I am doing rather well at the minute…. however it is the 1st January!

Happy New Year!