5 Ways To Start 2016 On A Healthy High
5 sure-fire ways to stick to those new years resolutions...
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Guest writer and keen healthy lifestyle advocate, Jessica Gatfield, gives us pro tips on breaking bad habits and how to pick and stick to your New Year's resolutions!
1. Don't feel like joining the gym? Take a walk!
Walking just 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart disease, strokes and has been proven to lower cholesterol. For many, it can help you lose weight, tone up your legs, bums and tums and increase circulation which boosts energy levels throughout the day. Simply parking your car a little further away from the supermarket, taking the stairs instead of the lift or getting off the bus a few stops early will all makes a difference to your overall health. And, furthermore, walking makes you happy! Exercise releases feel-good endorphins that in turn tackles depression and reduces stress.
2. Can't ditch the chips? Find healthier alternatives!
If you're a lover of fast food, take aways or microwave meals, try switching to homemade. Whether you're a culinary genius or can't tell a fork from a spoon, there are so many recipes that can be easily made and are a lot healthier for you. If you are a devout chip worshipper, how about making your own? Better still, swap ordinary potatoes for sweet potatoes. Throw on some paprika and sea salt, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven: tasty and easy. If you are a sugar monster and cannot beat the cravings, try swapping milk chocolate for dark chocolate or haribo for some fresh fruit and yoghurt. And by all means, don't deprive yourself. If you want that slice of cake so badly, have it. Just have a slither, not the whole thing! Try eating sweet treats and junk food in moderation and begin to introduce more wholesome alternatives.
3. Feel a cold brewing? Up your Vitamin C!
Before you turn to the cold and flu tablets, up your intake of Vitamin C. Whether it is in the form of supplements or consuming an unholy amount of oranges, do it. Try drinking hot water with a slice of lemon and add honey if it is too bitter. Snack on satsumas and other vitamin C rich foods such as strawberries, kiwis or add broccoli and dark greens to your dinner. Nothing beats resting too. Make sure you get enough sleep when you are feeling a little under the weather by going to bed earlier. Preferably with no distractions: turn off the TV, put your smartphone on 'do not disturb' and sleep in as much darkness as possible.
4. Love meat but don't want to go Veggie? Try Meatless Monday!
Not only does going meat-free one day a week reap health benefits for yourself and your family but it is also great for the environment and easier on your wallet! The Meatless Monday website is packed full of wholesome recipes and allows you to browse by ingredients. That way, if you have a particular veggie or grain in mind, you can tailor your meal towards that. And, if you feel a little adventurous on other weekdays, try swapping sausages or burgers for the vegetarian alternative. Not only are they packed full of protein and fibre but are lower in saturated fat and contain little to no processed ingredients.
5. Want to break your bad habits? Try one thing at a time!
Statistics say that it takes between 21-30 days to break a bad habit or to form a new one. As the New Year rolls in, many of us tend to try and change many aspects of our lifestyle and try to alter too many things at once. Trying to lose weight, taking up a new fad diet, trying to quit smoking... the list goes on. Many of us try to cut out something without finding a replacement. This is prevalent in dieting, for example, those cutting out bread do not think to replace it with a healthier alternative and swap it for say rice crackers or wholemeal wraps. Their body then lacks complex carbohydrates and the carb cravings come back with a vengeance and the cycle begins again. That is the same with smoking, going cold turkey may work for some individuals, but for many it has awful side effects and causes them to smoke more. Cutting down gradually therefore is the key, tackling one task at a time, beginning slowly and gradually building up or cutting down. With determination, sheer willpower and being accepting of the mistakes that you are likely to make on your journey, you will be on the way to breaking that bad habit for good.
Want to read more on Jess' Vegan lifestyle? Check out her blog here.