It's both exciting yet daunting when you embark on making healthy changes to your lifestyle. On the one hand there are so many inspiring people online and hopefully in your 'real' life who are motivational models for healthier lifestyles. However on the other hand, it's pretty overwhelming and you can think 'where do I even start?!'. Regardless of your goal or motivation to live a healthier life, there are healthy habits you can easily adopt today.
- Start the day with a huge glass of water before you eat or drink anything else. It's easy to fall into the default of making a warming cup of coffee for a big boost of energy through half open eyes, first thing in the morning. Whether you drink a warm glass of water with lemon to 'alkalise' the system, or just a simple glass of water, this will just give your body a big welcoming boost of hydration. This is so key first thing in the morning too as your brain functions best when it's fed well and is hydrated, so whilst a steamy cup of coffee may make you feel a bit more alert, this is only temporary so before anything, hydrate!
- In order to prevent sudden blood sugar spikes, snack smarter. Keep a little tub of nuts/seeds/dried fruit (if that's your thing) in your handbag or desk drawer or chuck in a snack bar or two such as some Nutri-Bombz*, which you can even have sent to your office to have snacks ready to hand all the time. Best flavour? Cappuccino or Salted Caramel - that wasn't a surprise was it? You guys know me so well...
- Go one step further and begin your mission to food prep. If you've got a spare hour or so this evening, or even whilst you're waiting for your dinner to cook, why not prepare some healthy snacks for the week - my Cacao & Maca Balls are basically like healthy Malteser truffles and take minutes to make. Other wise, roast up some sweet potato/butternut squash/peppers, sauté some veg, cook some chicken thighs or even roast a whole chicken and cook some quinoa up (or if time really is a luxury, just pick up a couple of the Jamie Oliver grain pouches during your next food shop). Bung everything into some tupperware and then before you go to bed each night, or first thing in the morning whilst you're waiting for your porridge to cook, stick everything into a lunchbox and hey, healthy lunches for the week are sorted!
- Why not make up some grab and go smoothie bags? Grab the ingredients for your favourite smoothie(s), minus any superfoods, bung them all into a sandwich bag and stick them in the freezer. Whenever you fancy a refreshing smoothie, stick the contents of the smoothie bag into a blender and whizz it all together. Easy peasy!
- Do some at home workouts. There are so many great YouTube channels dedicated to short but intense workouts - my favourite being the PopSugar Fitness channel. Pick any are of the body you want to focus on, or give a full body workout a go. Mix and match the videos and do as many as you wish. Sometimes when you don't fancy going to an overcrowded gym first thing in the morning, or you're simply not in the mood to go, get yourself up, clear some space aside and just do a few at home workouts. I've been returning to the Yoga With Adriene channel lately and doing a few yoga videos to clear my head and stretch my body when time has been limited lately, and they've worked a treat.
- Keep a big bottle of water with you at all times. Go and buy a re-fillable water bottle and stick it in your bag or have it on your desk at all times as a reminder you need to stay hydrated. Often when you feel hungry too, it's actually your body reminding you that you're dehydrated, so drink up and stop mindless snacking!
- Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. Often when we say we're going to bed, we're actually spending a good 30 minutes or so 'catching up' on Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook which is keeping our mind busy and awake, rather than settling it down for rest. It's easy to say 'put you're phone in the other room' or 'technology blackout' after 9pm etc, but actually GO to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal and if this social media catch up 'needs' to happen, at least you'll most likely go to sleep earlier than you would if you went to bed when you normally do. Over time though, it's best you do avoid technology before bed time so why not pick up a few books and spend the time you would on your phone, reading something that will relax your brain and send you off to a blissful slumber.
- Swap sugary treats for a sweet cup of peppermint tea. I swear by this, and this is coming from someone who was blessed with a sweet tooth. Usually late at night I fall at this hurdle so a big old cup of sweet peppermint tea is a total treat, PLUS it's an added boost of hydration, and dehydration can sometimes be mistaken for hunger.
- Stop beating yourself down if you slip up! One not-so-healthy meal is not worth feeling guilty about. If you crack and eat a few biscuits or have already wolfed down an entire bar of Dairy Milk, fine, whatever. It's done, it's in the past, move on and ensure the rest of the day you're eating nutritious, healthy meals. And even if you can't do that, hey, there's always tomorrow...!
- Cook at least one meal completely from scratch today. It's easier than you think and there are so many recipes online that require as little ingredients as possible, and those meals can be made in minutes. When you realise how quick it is to prepare and make these meals, you'll realise how great it is to know exactly what you're putting into your body, and before you know it, processed food will be out the window. A few of my favourite recipes are my Rainbow, Tahini Stir Fry & Paprika Salmon, Chilli, Garlic and Crab Courgettine, Salted Almond Butter Cups and Curly Matchstick Sweet Potato Fries.
What healthy habits do you swear by?