Healthy habits sound a bit boring don’t they? I mean wouldn’t it be good if we could all lie in bed until noon, eat as much fried chicken/chocolate/chips as we liked and party non stop?! Well we can’t so that’s the bad news out of the way.
Perhaps the more surprising news is that actually, I don’t really want to anymore either. Bad skin, excessive exhaustion and wobbly belly rolls saw me crash landing into my thirties recently and I just knew I had to make a change.
I’ve literally tried everything bar sensible healthy eating and moderate exercise because I really am a quick “I need to wear a bikini in six weeks” fix kinda girl. You want some more bad news? Yeah, it doesn’t work but you knew that already didn’t you? Crash diets are just that – crash and burn. Whatever you lose in pounds you will regain plus more once normal service resumes.
So, slow and steady it has to be for your mind and your body, which can feel like a frustrating place to be when you want to see results.
I’ve had to wrap my head around it – I want to change slowly so that I can maintain it. I’ve set myself a challenge to adopt 8 healthy habits each month.
- Get up earlier to fit in exercise. Ok, I’ll admit it, I still flinch, roll over and whack hopelessly at my snooze button when I see a 5am wake up call but once I’ve forced myself out of bed and into my workout gear, I’m ok. Getting up is the tough bit – just do it in a zombie like fashion and don’t think about it. Just do it. Ahem.
- Exercise – for me that means going to the gym a few times a week and walking the dogs daily. For you it can mean anything at all – a walk around the block, taking on the 30 day plank challenge (ouch!) or running a marathon. It’s not so much what you do, it’s just the fact that you are doing something more than you were doing previously and that is the best place to start. I like to exercise first thing in the morning so that it sets me up for the day and I get a real sense of achievement from it.
- Swap coffee for hot water and lemon as your first drink of the day. You will get used to the taste I promise. It’s gentle, it’s natural and it’s a great way to kick start your body in the morning. I don’t recommend giving up caffeine however – just swap that first cup of the day. Coffee is my life source after all.
- Swap your milk around. I’m lactose intolerant so I usually have soya milk. I’ve now swapped it for the far healthier almond milk (half the calories and full of good protein). Considering how much I love milk in my smoothies and coffee this has made a significant dent in my calorie intake without compromising on taste too much.
- Up your water intake – boring but true. Two litres a day minimum, three if you have worked out. Word of warning though – you will pee ALL the time as a result. Worth it though as you shed water weight and hydrate. There are a million benefits to every bit of your body in doing this.
- Allow yourself one meal a week where you can eat and drink as much of whatever you like. I think this is so important. After all, we aren’t machines and everyone needs to indulge. Just having the one meal though will make you appreciate it more than if you eat crap all week.
- Do not cut out carbohydrates. They are amazing and your bodies primary source of fuel and energy. Just swap them for the good ones – sweet potato instead of white potato. Rolled oats instead of instant ones. Wholemeal or rye bread instead of white. Repeat after me – WE DO NOT CUT OUT CARBS. If you cut them out then you will end up bingeing and ruining your efforts.
- Smoothie’s for breakfast. The ones I make fill me up until lunch and are packed full of good and tasty ingredients. Let me know if you want recipes in the comment box and I will do a post with some recipes.
So they are the 8 healthy habits that I have been following this month to set me on the path to a healthier body and mind. My goals are not predominantly based around weight loss but I have lost ten pounds this month as a side effect of living, exercising and eating in a more balanced way and I feel way more energised and motivated already.
If you are starting off and want to make some changes then hopefully this will give you some healthy habits to adopt. Let me know how you are feeling and how you get on if you do decide to give them a whirl?
Lots of love