Happy New Year!! There's no better time than now to throw away some of your bad habits, lose those extra kilos you may have gained over the holidays and start living a healthier life.
We are a product of what we consistently do, and health cannot be achieved overnight. This is something that I am very passionate about. We are not going to get fat after one bad day, or skinny after one "healthy" day. We are not going to transform our health in 2 weeks either or heal our health ailments in a month. Health is about doing all the right things day after day for years.
I have compiled my top 10 tips that I always follow and would recommend to every single one of my clients. They may seem general but they are all VERY important.
Narrowing this down to 10 simplified tips was very challenging! But I believe these to definitely be the most important for weight loss and general health… Backed by science... of course.
1. Eat whole foods as much as possible
This means try to avoid as many foods that come in a package! Did you know that roughly 80% of packaged food contains added sugar?! Avoid processed food and save yourself calories, chemicals, preservatives and toxins. Our bodies were not made to digest and process these nasty things. The more "real" our food is the healthier and leaner we become. Simple as that. If you do eat something out of a package, the shorter the ingredients list the better!
2. Eat some sort of protein and a source of good fats with every meal.
This is so important. By doing this, it will fill you up and keep you sustained for a long time (meaning little desire to snack) and therefore reduce the total amount of calories that you consume. Our bodies are primarily made of protein and fat, so we need to eat them to survive. We have constantly been told that 'fat' is the enemy when in actual fact it is your friend. If I could tell you to make one change this year, it would be to make friends with good fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil and coconut oil are some).
3. Avoid added sugar as much as possible!
Trust me on this one, you will not lose weight and have healthy insides if you don’t cut sugar out. You are already pretty much there if you have cut out processed foods, as added sugar is in nearly everything. Weight gain, foggy brain, blood sugar problems, fatty liver, yeast overgrowth and constant food cravings are just some of the effects of added sugars. Please refer to my blog post on sugar to read more about the dangers of this toxic white substance (click image below to take you there).
4. Eat as many (and as many colours) of vegetables as you can.
At lunch and dinner vegetables should take up should take up 3/4 of your plate. Veggies are very low in calories, meaning you can pretty much eat them freely without any guilt. They provide you with huge amounts of fibre, nutrients and minerals that will (among many things) keep your gut happy, support weight loss, keep your energy levels high and your immune system strong.
5. Stay hydrated!
Drink around 8 glasses of water per day. Drinking water throughout the day helps you naturally eat less as it decreases your hunger levels (especially before meals). It helps your complexion glow, prevents constipation and reduces water retention. Yes… The more water you drink the less water your body holds!
Try to get a good 7 – 8 hours per night. Sleep is the time where our bodies are in REPAIR mode. Poor sleep can increase hunger, halt weight loss and disrupt our hormonal balance. Proper sleep is vital and I know it can be hard, but try to make it one of your number one priority's this year. You may want to try meditation, ditch screens for 2 hours before bed or stop having your afternoon coffee... whatever it is, address it and get better sleep this year!
7. Exercise whenever you can... and LIFT!
Find time in your day to do what ever exercise it is that you ENJOY doing. For me it is walking. Not only does exercise help you in your weight loss or maintenance goals... it clears your mind and makes you feel energised and happy (along with countless other health benefits!).
You can start small, any movement is better than nothing. Or if you are a regular exerciser, change things up every week and keep challenging yourself. If it doesn't challenge you it wont change you!
While we are on the topic of exercise, I need to squeeze in a very important point… LIFT WEIGHTS, and lift them at least twice a week. I won’t go into detail but this is so essential for weight loss, bone health, an increased metabolism and life longevity. I have definitely noticed changes in myself since I have made it a priority to do some sort of resistance / weight exercises twice a week.
The more stressed we are the higher our cortisol levels; which promotes the storage of fat and wrecks havock on a whole lot of our other hormones. If we don't manage stress, the entire body can be negatively impacted in so many ways.
This year, think about what the stressors are in your life and come up with ways to reduce them. If you can't avoid them, make a plan of action to help deal with that stress. Take breaks, listen to music, go for walks outdoors or take up meditation.
9. Reduce alcohol consumption (at least more than you are now).
Alcohol provides empty calories and stops our bodies from burning fat. It also puts huge amount of stress on our liver, destroys our friendly gut bacteria and disrupts deep sleep. This is something that is hard to totally avoid though of course, so maybe limit to one night a week, or have one glass every second night instead of every night. Just make a change this year and try to cut down on it more than you did in the past.
10. Do what you love doing every single day.
Once you find this it will make every day enjoyable. For me it is calling or meeting a friend, going for long walks, researching, sharing my knowledge and eating good food. Health is not just about eating and exercise, it is about your mental health too. Find what you love and do it consistently.
There is no better feeling than feeling healthy, and too many of us don't know how it feels. But it really is so simple! It just takes the right knowledge, attitude and consistency to achieve.
Remember, a healthy mind, body and life is a lifestyle - not a fad. Become healthier now! It's a new year :) Implement these tips into your life for good!
Make this year a year of change and put your health as your number one priority.
If you need guidance, that is what I am here for. I can teach how you simple it is to live a healthier life, lose weight and feel amazing. Check out the rest of my website to see how I can help you. After all, what makes me happy is making you healthy and happy.