Are you starting a new diet on Monday? Are you letting yourself of the hook and scoff down that bag of ‘pick-and-mix’ today because you’ve promised yourself you’ll “be good” tomorrow?
Well, let me ask you this: Why do you think that your ‘Tomorrow Self’ will be any better at “being good” than your ‘Today Self’? I see this a lot in people. But how come we believe the ‘Tomorrow Me’ will be any different from ‘Todays Me’?
It’s somehow as we expect our tomorrow (or next week, year or 10 years) self to be different from how we are today. We put our ‘Tomorrow Self’ on a pedestal as this super human who can resist all temptation, and then when we fail to do so, we see ourselves as weak and useless.
But think about it; if you can not stick to a diet today, what makes you think that you will be able to on Monday? If I couldn’t say No to that piece of cake today, why, oh why do I think I will have the willpower to do it next time a work colleague brings in cakes? If I didn’t feel like going to the gym today, why would my tomorrow self be any different?
We have to stop kidding ourselves and just accept that who we are today will be who we are tomorrow… unless we actively decide to work on ourselves!
We won’t change unless we actually want to. And no one or nothing else can do it for us! Sure, we can be inspired and feel empowered by other peoples stories, advice or support, but ultimately WE have to do the work. And if you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I’ve done a lot of work on my mindset. I’ve written a lot of posts about mindset for a healthy life.
Sometimes we hit ‘rock bottom’ and wake up one day, fed up with the person we’ve become, or what we see in the mirror and decide it’s time to take action and let that frustration propel us in to success. But isn’t it a shame though if we always have to reach that point before we decide to take action?
Taking action is hard, but don’t expect it to be any easier tomorrow, next week or year. The only thing stopping you is you and the choices you make today, not tomorrow.
A friend of mine, who I hadn’t seen in a few months, asked me the other day when we met up if I’d lost weight. I replied that ‘no, I don’t think so’ but in all honesty, I have no idea because I don’t weigh myself. I know roughly what I weigh, but I don’t use that as a measurement of progress, so no, I don’t know if my weight has gone up or down. I have to say though, that since I upped the amount of Crossfit classes I do each week, as well as training more on my own, and sleeping more, I have noticed that my body feels ‘firmer’. Not to mention that I have so much more energy!
So I asked my husband when I got home if he’s noticed a difference in me, and he said that he has. “But imagine how buff you’d look if you didn’t eat all that crap” he also blurted out jokingly.
I had to stop him there. “what ‘crap’ do I eat?”
“Well, you know, the Hotel Chocolate stuff you bought at the weekend, and all the popcorn”
Ok, so if you have followed me for a while you know I am all about moderation. Sometimes it’s harder, and I stuff myself with a bit more than I should have, but in general I feel that I have found a good balance. I eat well. I don’t count calories religiously, but I know roughly what I eat in a day and that varies between 1800 kcal and 2500 kcal depending on my activity levels. I eat protein with every meal and make sure I get 80-120g/day. I eat lots of veg and a moderate amount of fruit. I eat a balanced diet. I know that lots of carbs in the evening makes me bloated and sluggish the next morning so I try to avoid that. But, what I don’t do is to deprive myself. If I fancy a piece of dark chocolate after dinner or half a bag of popcorn (ok, ok, a whole bag) while watching “The Good Wife”, I do. No regrets. Ever. If I happen to eat a bit more than I ‘should’, I try to learn from it and just move on.
So when my husband suggested I cut out the ‘crap’, I shut him down quick, because even if I don’t believe in deprivation, nor do I believe in over- indulging. I believe in enjoying life.
My life is not about a “deprive-binge-regret” cycle. I lived that way for years.
I love Crossfit, I love moving my body, I love having loads of energy. But I also love relaxing with my husband after a long week, cuddling up on the couch watching Netflix and have a few pieces of chocolate (from Hotel Chocolate which is my favourite!) And I love going out for dinner with friends and be able to order a dessert. I am not going to deny myself any of these things.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to put your head down and go all-in once in a while if you have a goal in mind. Diet down, do more exercise or cut out chocolate if you feel that is right for you at that moment in time. The trick is to remember that once that diet is over, you have to know how sustainably live healthy so you don’t gain weight or end up in a deprive-binge cycle.
You have to find what is right for you. If you’re happy never eating ice-cream again and to bring tupperware with your own food to dinner parties, by all means. But if dieting depresses you and while you’re on holiday you might as well drink aaaall the wine because you know the holiday will be over soon and you will go on diet when you get home, well maybe it’s time to try something different. Life doesn’t have to be lived in extremes. It doesn’t have to be carrot stick OR cake. You can have both.
Precision Nutrition had a great inforgrafic on the trade offs for getting lean. Just click on this link.
So yes, the trade off is that I am a little less firm. But I can sustainably enjoy life every day.
Last weeks post made me think about other things I’m to old for now that I’m getting closer to 40. Ok, so I have another year to go, but I am finally starting to feel like an adult. Silly, I know, when technically I’ve been an adult for 20 years, but I think I’m not alone in wondering when I would feel like an adult. (I still to this day sometimes catch myself wondering how I ended up married with kids! What a grown-up thing to do!)
But through the years there have been instances that have made me think, “No, I’m not doing that anymore” So maybe now I am a grown up now after all. So here’s what I’ve come up with so far that I’m now to old for.
Drinking more than I can handle. And subsequently getting a hangover. Long gone are the days when I would strive to get drunk and almost brag about the hangover the next day. Nowadays I rarely drink more than a glass of wine or two, but if I do happen to drink more than I should have, I’m so embarrassed and I feel stupid for not knowing any better.
Clubbing. Seriously, You can not hear anyone else talk, it’s to crowded and loud. I would much rather be at home. ( My God, I sound old! even I hear it!)
Staying up late. I am a lark, I love early mornings, so why I would stay awake after midnight is beyond me. A late night for me is past 10pm. Late nights are just not worth it anymore.
FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. Something the youth worry far to much about. Social media plays a huge role in making people think that they are missing all the fun and everyone else are having such amazing lives and so much fun. Honestly, I don’t care. I’m probably missing something somewhere, but I’m happy with my choice and I don’t worry about what I might be missing.
Caring what other people think. Obviously that doesn’t mean I’m acting like an b**ch. I’m a nice person. I know this, the people close to me know this and everyone else, well, it doesn’t really matter what everyone else thinks. I do work a lot on this because I care more than I’d like to admit, what people think of me, but I really don’t want to, so it’s work in progress. I think I’m a nice person, but I’m not going to waste all my energy convincing everyone of this fact. At least not the people that don’t really matter to me. (writing this blog is a big part of me working on this. It’s hard to put stuff about myself out there in the blogosphere, but I do it anyway. I write because I want to and I work on myself not to worry what other people think of me and my writing.)
Being bitter. Nope. Again, I work on this, but it really, really is an energy waster and time suck which does no good, so I’m striving to just deal with it and move on.
Doing things I really don’t want to do. For example; I tried for years to watch horror films and be ok with it because my other half loves them. But I have now stopped because I really, really don’t like them. They give me nightmares and I don’t enjoy the film because they mess with my head. Another thing; I am never running a marathon. Nope, it’s not on my bucket list. Complete waste of time (in my opinion) There are much more fun ways to exercise than running for miles and miles and miles and miles….
Not liking myself. Look, I spent years disagreeing with myself, about who I should be, what I should look like, what I should do. But that’s no way to go through life. After depression and therapy and a with a lot of work on my mindset I’ve managed to find peace with myself and in my body. I like everything about me. I’m not saying I am perfect, I’ve said it before; I don’t believe in perfect, and I don’t strive to be perfect, I do strive to be a better me, though. Working on myself and simultaneously being happy with who I am are not opposites. I’m trying to be the best me I can be every day, physically and mentally. Being a better person, a better you is something we should all strive for but there’s no point in hating yourself or disliking yourself on the way there.
So that’s it. There are probably more things if I think long and hard. Do you have anything that you would like to add to the list? Let me know!
We rented our old house and the contract ended in the beginning of February. So we’ve had a months over lap which was great! It gave us time to get the place in order before moving in. I spent a week redecorating, and another three days building IKEA furniture. I build three beds in two days! Not bad, huh?
So we bought a few things in IKEA. This was tricky for me. Not because it’s IKEA, I love IKEA and it certainly has its place, but because I am so fed up with living ‘temporarily’. My husband and I have moved ten times in 15 years. We have moved country twice. We have rented three houses since moving to the UK the second time. All this is very expensive and complicated. Every move required some new furniture, but we didn’t want to buy nice things that might fit in a room in a house where we might only live for a year. We’ve stored things that haven’t fitted in to our then house. Things that have then been damaged. Things have been damaged by being taken apart and put together again several times.
When we lived in our apartment in Stockholm, which we bought after moving back there from the UK in 2004, we bought this lovely, huge, U-shaped sofa. It which fitted perfectly in our massive living room. Then a couple of years later we moved to a house with a slightly smaller living room and we had to take a section of the sofa of, to make it L-shaped. When we moved to England, the living room in the house was even smaller and we had to take another section off making it just a straight I-shape. We always joked about our poor sofa that got smaller and smaller with every move.
And it was like that with every piece furniture. A kitchen table that didn’t fit in in that house, a coffee table that was to big. Rooms to small for a double bed, and so on.
But we didn’t want to keep buying new, nice, expensive things when we didn’t know how long we would actually live in a place and if it was worth investing, both financially and emotionally. We were always aiming to buy our own house eventually, but as I’ve written about before, life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan and it took longer than we had anticipated. We did buy a flat shortly after moving back to the UK, but it was a step for us to get on the property ladder. We knew it was temporary and that we eventually would want and need to move to something bigger. But a couple of years after living there, the property prices had fallen and we couldn’t afford to sell. So we sub letted the flat, and then sold it a few years later. Again, it was not straight forward, took ages, and it put us off buying again!
Fast forward to last year and we felt ready. We wanted our own place and we were in a financial place where we could afford to buy.
So eight years (!!!) after moving back to the UK we finally have a place were we can not only call our own, but where we can stay until we’re old and grey.
So this is why I didn’t want to go to IKEA. At least not for all our furniture. Finally, we don’t have to buy things ‘temporarily’. We can buy things we actually want and can invest in because we are not going anywhere.
But unfortunately, money also plays a role, doesn’t it? And we had quite a lot of new furniture to buy; all of us needed new beds for example, and the house has almost no storage which meant buying wardrobes as well. Did I mention we needed a new fridge/freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and dining furniture?
So Richard and I planed and budgeted. I found a lovely kitchen table and chairs that I just fell in love with, but was out of our price range.
But here’s the thing, I also feel that I am to old now to only buy cheep, convenient stuff. I want nice things too. There’s just a certain point in life when I find myself to old for some things. Not that I’m that old, but just to old not to be entitled. Entitled to actually buy a piece of furniture that will last. Entitled not to feel that my life is ‘on hold’ because we’re only living someplace temporarily. I’ve had enough. I want to build on what we have, not feel like everything is on ‘pause’. We’re in this house now. And like I said, for the first time in close to a decade we can finally stop and enjoy our lives without worrying about where we’re going next.
So we compromised. We bought the beds and a few other things in IKEA, hence two days of bed building, and also bought the nice dining furniture. This table and I will grow old together.
In many ways 2016 has been a pretty crappy year globally, hasn’t it.
But at the end of a year I’d like to look back at all the great things that have happened in my life. So although it is easy to dwell on terror attacks, shootings, wars, election disappointments and celebrities we’ve lost, for me and my family, personally its been a pretty good year.
This was the year:
Joshua started high school, and is doing really well
He also joined scouts and loving it
And he made his first real friend!
We found out that Harry got a placement at the secondary school we wanted for next year.
Harry was approved a “Personal Budget” from county, which means we can hire personal assistants and pay for activities, which gives him access to things he otherwise wouldn’t because of his disability.
We bought a house! (we get the keys on 6 January )
I hope everyone is enjoying themselves and spending time with family and friends.
I just want to send out a friendly reminder to everyone out there:
You do not have to eat until you’re stuffed and can not move to have enjoyed the food.
You do not have to drink yourself stupid to enjoy the party.
You do not have to eat all the chocolate because ‘it’s Christmas’.
And you do not have to avoid the gym like the plague to be able to ‘relax for once’.
I endeavour to live moderately and mindfully year around, although I do eat more (less healthy) food this time of year.
So my plan is to;
*Eat plenty of delicious food, but as always put focus on the veg and protein (hello, turkey!).
*Drink a few glasses of wine and prosecco.
*Have some chocolate most days.
*Continue working out 3-4 times a week, and get my daily movement in in form of yoga and/or walks.
*Spend lots of quality time with my family
*Enjoy every moment.
I am not going to:
*Stuff myself silly to the point were I have a tummy ache.
*Feel guilty about anything I eat.
*Work out because I need to ‘earn my food’ or to ‘work anything off’
*Start the new year with a diet.
Wouldn’t it be nice to go in to the new year not feeling like you have to start new?
Without the impromptu New Year Resolution to diet and every day runs, because you’ve overdone it during the christmas period?
This doesn’t mean you can’t relax and enjoy yourself; enjoyment and moderation are not opposites. You won’t enjoy the food more because you stuff yourself.
It isabsolutely possible to enjoy Christmas without overindulging and starting the new year with regret and weight gain.
One of my rules is to get up at 5am every morning to, amongst other things, work on my blog.
Admittedly, lately I haven’t.
I’m up at 6am and even that’s a struggle some mornings.
My husband asked me the other day why I’m not getting up at 5 anymore.
“You used to bounce out of be every morning! What happened?” he asked.
Right here I could have started to beat myself up a bit:
Yes, indeed, what happened? I love getting up early to write, but I haven’t in the last couple of months. Instead I have been writing in the day whenever I can find a gap, which is, lets face it, is not that often. Hence, I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like.
My own fault.
Every one knows that to be successful at anything you have to commit!
Where is my commitment?
But I didn’t beat my self up.
I have known myself for a while now, and I know how I work. And I’m working on being patient with myself.
In the past I used to suffer from SAD (seasonal affective depression). I found the dark months really hard.
I don’t suffer as much anymore, but I do find that my energy withers in the winter months.
Every year, come October-November time I start to struggle to do anything productive. I have to do some things of course, the world doesn’t stop spinning just because I lack the energy, but I find that I won’t do anything but the bare essentials. I feel it in my body. I’m more tired and have less ‘go’. The fact that I still manage to workout and not eat my bodyweight in chocolate is an accomplishment in itself.
So I used to be really hard on myself. Push myself. Expect more from myself. Be disappointed in myself.
But now I’ve learned to ‘ride the wave’. Come the new year, I know I will have more energy and determination again and I will be able to accomplish more. It’s all good.
But lately, life has been even busier and more stressful than usual. Add that to my natural winter ‘low’, and it is really taking it’s toll on my body and mind.
Like I said, the fact that I had been able to any exercise at all is an accomplishment, but one I probably pushed to far. Last couple of weeks my body has been feeling more achy after a workout, I’ve had less energy and strength and my mind has felt foggy.
And so a couple of days ago at my crossfit box, my body had had enough.
I couldn’t perform and push myself like I normally would be able to.
It had quite literally had enough and I had to stop.
My body wouldn’t let me go on.
My heart was racing (sure, I was in a middle of a workout, but this felt different. Again, I know myself and my body and it didn’t feel normal at a all) I felt shaky and light headed. It took me a while to collect myself before I could drive home. My body had forced me to calm down.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was disappointed with my body for not letting me push through this. Disappointed with my ‘weak’ mind.
But, then I stopped my self and took a step back.
The signs were clear.
I have to stop.
I have to take my own advice and listen to my body and back down even further, even if it’s even further than usual.
It was obvious that my body was telling me to slow down.
I’m a work in progress, but I’m getting better at listening to my body and to respond appropriately. My body and mind are the only two things that I will keep with me for the rest of my life, and I have to look after the two. If they don’t function as they should, nothing else in my life will either.
I know myself quite well. I’m learning to be kind to myself. So I am not beating myself up for not living ‘perfectly’ every day. I’ll get there again, I just have to be patient and give myself a break every now and then.
I am back from my trip to Stockholm and I feel recharged! As I wrote about last week, I’ve been feeling homesick for a while and booked a last minute trip to Sweden. Only a short visit, but it was so lovely! It truly recharged me. I really loved it and tried to stay mindful of every minute I was there.
Being homesick is a horrible feeling. It slowly crept up on my until one day I felt like I really couldn’t take it any longer and I almost had a panic attack. I’m so thankful that my husband knows exactly how it feels and is very understanding.
I desperately needed to see my brother, his family and my best friend, who I’ve known for 28 (!!) years. I needed to walk the streets of my hometown, speak my native language and feel like a swede, if only for just a couple of days.
And I managed to cram it all in, and I am so grateful that I did.
I got to:
pick up my 4 year old nephew from pre-school and feel like a proper aunt. (when my other nephew and niece, who are now in their twenties, were little, I was around all the time. So not being able to see my little nephew as often as I’d like is really hard)
spend hours playing with him without distractions.
spend time with my brother and his family
see and catch up with my adult nephew and niece
spend quality time with my best friend
watch Swedish tv. ( I know I can watch some programmes here in the UK, but it’s not the same, and I would also not have anyone to share my “swedish-ness” with)
catch up with my step-mum
go for walks around Stockholm. Some might say that November is not be the best time of year to go there, and although I’m willing to agree, to me it was perfect. There was a hint of christmas in the air, and I got to see some christmas displays, drink the Swedish christmas drink “Glogg” (the nordic version of mulled wine) and eat gingerbread biscuits and saffron buns (which are christmas treats to us Swedes) But I’m also grateful that it wasn’t a more beautiful time of year because I would probably have had trouble leaving if that were the case. But it was still beautiful to me.
I am usually quite bad at remembering to take pictures, but this time I took lots. I wanted to remember every moment and be able to look back when ever I get homesick again.
I am grateful beyond words that I managed to go when I needed it the most.
Any one who knows me knows I like my wine.
I’m not a big drinker. (not the grown up me. I’m not talking about my twenty-something, partying self. Thats a whole other story)
I very rarely drink anything stronger than wine and I seldom have more than a glass or two a couple of times a week at the most.
Although at our christmas party last year I, for some reason, thought it might be a good idea to drink vodka (??!) I didn’t have much, but I got a little tipsy and had the worst hangover the day after! Never again!
I do however enjoy wine and am not willing to give that up. Not completely.
A few times a year I have a ‘white’ month when I don’t drink any alcohol.
I do it to give my body a break.
Even though I drink moderately and within a ‘healthy’ range, it is still good to give my body a chance to recover completely.
Not to mention the psychological effect of not having the option of a glass of wine at the end of the day to ‘relax’.
Alcohol is not slimming. It contains 7kcal/ gram, (compared to fat which has 9 kcal/gram, protein and carbohydrates have 4 kcal/gram each). But it’s not only the calories that are the problem. The body can not store alcohol, unlike fat, protein and carbohydrates, which means that the body prioritises getting rid of the alcohol first and puts everything else on hold, like absorbing nutrients and burning fat.
So, every few months I give my body a rest.
In the lead up to that ‘white’ month I do wonder how ever I will manage a whole month without my wine. The first weekend is always the hardest and I miss having a glass with dinner.
But then as time passes I don’t even consider it anymore.
It’s a ‘non-issue’. I stop thinking about it.
I don’t dream of the day when I can enjoy a glass again. But as the month comes to an end, I do look forward to that first sip, and I enjoy it immensely.
Richard and I decided to have a ‘white’ September this year. It’s easier when you can do it together with your partner.
Not only to give our bodies a break, but also to save a little bit of money now that we’ve bought a house. Not that we spend a huge amount on alcohol, but every penny counts…
It went really well. Like I’d predicted, the first weekend was the hardest, but then it ran smoothly. It’s almost easier to not have the option of alcohol, than to have to plan around it. Not to have to worry about who will be driving when we go out. And not have the option of a glass after a really stressful day.
Alcohol doesn’t exist.
But I don’t think I’d like to do it forever. There’s no reason a healthy person, such as myself, can’t enjoy a glass of wine every now and then.
September went so well for Richard and myself that we decided to stretch it through October as well. In total we went 63 days. But then, on Saturday we decided that we’d been very good but enough is enough. And even though technically we cheated by three days, we’d done good. 9 weeks isn’t bad.
So, wine and I are not on a break anymore. We have a very healthy relationship. Absence makes the heart and tastebuds grow fonder, and I can tell you that that first sip was delicious.
Could you take a break from alcohol? If you don’t think you could, then you absolutely should. Even if you drink within ‘moderation’.
If you think you could but don’t think you ‘need to’ because you don’t drink ‘that much’, try it anyway.
Prove to yourself that you can. Your body will thank you for it.
Health and fitness has become such an unnecessarily complicated subject.
I believe a lot of people are stuck and not taking actions towards a healthier life because of information overload.
There is so much advice out there and when some of it is also conflicting, it’s hard to figure out with path to follow.
Magazines, internet, tv – they’re all filled with recommendations, eating and exercising plans, the ”right” and “wrong” way to do it. No wonder some people find it easier to stay put and do nothing, because:
A- They don’t know where to start
B- They think that if they don’t do everything ‘right’ there’s no point,
C- They have tried a diet, lost some weight but gained it all back again
Well, fret not, I’m here to help.
Most of the diet plans or exercise plans out there work. That’s not the problem. The problem is that they aren’t sustainable or adaptable to our life and therefore we fail at following them, making us thing that we’re the problem. Or we follow a plan, loose weight but also mess up our metabolism along the way, which makes it harder to keep that new weight. Or, we follow a plan, challenge, juice detox, what ever it might be, but once the plan is up, day 30 is done, we go back to our old habits.
But here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to be complicated.
I just think a lot of people have lost sight of what a normal diet is and how your body is meant to move.
You don’t have to buy expensive meal replacements or Supplement X to loose weight. You don’t have to embark on an intense exercise regimen 7 days a week. You don’t have to go ‘all in’ and do everything “right”.
And why the rush? It took you years to create the less healthy habits your in right now, and probably years for the weight to creep up. So what makes you think it’s possible to change all that in just 30 days?
If you are new to health and fitness and simply just want to feel a bit better, maybe loose a bit of body fat and have more energy, please don’t think you have to go all in and overhaul your whole life. You can of course, if you’d like, but it’s not the only way.
Chances are, you are already doing a few things ‘right’.
Maybe you’re already taking your bike to work, or eating a substantial breakfast every day.
Health and fitness should enhance your life and make it better, not burden and exhaust you. Ok, it might not be easy every day, but in general, you should create routines and habits that benefit you and make you feel better.
You do not have to follow a diet plan, buy expensive supplements or embark on a 30 day (or 60 or 90) diet or exercise challenge. You do not have to live at the gym, cut out carbs or go on a juice detox to be healthy. That is not what a healthy lifestyle means. In fact, I’d argue that none of the above makes you healthy.
You need to find a way of living a healthier life as well as enjoying it. How fun is it to live of shakes and diet food? To say ‘No’ to your nephews birthday cake because you’re on a ‘diet’? If you don’t like cake sure, by all means, don’t eat it. But if you are constantly depriving yourself, sooner of later you will have a backlash. Maybe not today, but by Saturday, or next week or month. It will come. And surely you do not want to live just for the weekend because thats when you “can” eat cake or have a drink? I talk about all this here.
Same thing with moving and exercise. Again, you do not have to go ‘all-in’. It might be tempting to embark on a fitness journey and it feels so great; you are all high on endorphines and you want to keep the good feelings going. So if some of exercise is good, more must be better, right?
Many make the mistake of doing to much at once. They either:
A. Get injured or ill and the whole plan is derailed
B. Start missing workout days because of work, family, friends, and well…life
C. Feel stressed because their new regimen takes up too much time and stop completely because they think there’s no point if they can’t stick to the programme exactly as written.
So where do you start?
I know it is hard, but if you want to make a permanent change you need to start small.
Do something every day that makes you feel good, but make sure you allow for life to fit in to your every day. Like I said, exercise and nutrition should enhance your life, not make it harder.
Don’t dive in at the deep end with your biggest struggles. Start with the easier ones. The ones that don’t take to much effort to change in to a better habit. Or break down your ‘big’ struggles to smaller steps. Then work on them one step at the time. You want to get some ‘wins’ under your belt. Once you’ve established that one in to a habit, move on to the next.
Change a few things, maybe 2-3 and see how that makes you feel and if it is sustainable.
You need to create good, healthy habits. Habits are everything.
Habits makes you less reliant on willpower.
There are plenty of books out there about habits, but I would recommend Better Than Before. By Gretchen Rubin.
In it she also developed a tendency framework and there’s a quiz you can take to figure out which of the four tendencies you belong to. This is a tool to help you understand yourself better and to help on your journey to develop (healthy) habits. Utterly brilliant in my opinion. And fun!
To live a healthier life you need to find a balance in the following five areas. You will need to work on incorporate healthier habits, maybe not all at once, but eventually you should find a balance. You can not neglect one area, or simply focus on one, there need to be a balance.
* Nutrition. You need healthy food that will both give you nourishment and satisfaction. A few basic guidelines are to eat mostly whole, unprocessed food. Plenty of vegetables, and some fruit. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks. Your body need all the macro nutrients: Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates. Do not cut out any of them, but again, avoid the processed stuff. And if I am to guess, you probably lack protein. A good place to start is to make sure you incorporate protein with every meal (meat, fish, dairy, egg, pulses). I talk about my own journey to eating moderately and mindfully here.
* Sleep. How much sleep you need, I can not say, its very individual. Guidelines say between 7-9h of good quality sleep per night. Sleep deprivation can mess with your hormones and studies have linked lack of sleep to weight gain. If you know you don’t sleep enough, try to go to bed a bit earlier tonight. Sleep is vital!
* Stress. Stress management is a very important to a healthy life and a healthy weight. Make sure you fit self care in your life.
* Movement. Your body is designed to move. Every day. Everyday movement is more important than your twice a week gym sessions. If you have a desk job, try setting an alarm every hour or two to remind yourself to get up and move. Try to incorporate a daily walk, maybe at lunch, or try gardening, or dance around in the living room, or do some yoga before bed. Try to think of different ways to move every day.
* Exercise. Of course I love this one. A lot of people think of exercise with dread. But it doesn’t have to be, it really can be fun! Resistance training have a bunch of benefits, and I for one could not live without throwing something heavy around a few times a week. But you don’t have to join a gym or lift weights, body weight training in your own living room works just fine.
As for cardio, try to get your heart rate up and get sweaty a couple of times a week. Do something you like. If you don’t like running (for some reason that usually pops in to peoples heads when they think of exercise) Don’t! Do something you like: Cycle, zumba, swimming, jump rope, a class at the gym. What ever you like. The options are endless. My favourite is to simply lift weights faster!
You don’t need to be perfect in every area, every day, that’s simply not possible. You just do the best you can in the situation you’re in. And work on your habits.
Habits. I can not say that word enough.
So again, don’t try to do all of the above at once. Start slow and gradually build up habits.
Maybe your already pretty active, but you know you could improve on your sleep. Then start there. Focus on your sleep, nothing else. But to think that you will sleep 8 hours a night right away might be a bit ambitious. Think smaller. Maybe aim to go to bed at 10pm three nights this week. Next week it might be four.
Or you might exercise but you know you need to improve your diet. Start there. Again, no overhaul, just try to include 5 fruit and veg today. Or bring a packed lunch from home instead of going out for lunch four days this week.
Or maybe you generally eat well but you struggle to cut down on your biscuit consumption. Maybe set a goal to only eat a biscuit or two after a meal? Once you’ve nailed that, you can aim to only eating them after one meal per day. Baby steps. Don’t cut the biscuits out completely, because they will come back with a vengeance.
To be healthy you need to think long term, as in forever. Not the next 30 days, or just get down to a certain weight. You should find a way of living that enhances your life and health in a sustainable and still enjoyable way. If biscuits is something you need to enjoy your life, by all means, include them!
Remember, something is always better than nothing. Strive to make the best choices you can in the situation you’re in.
Note: I am not a doctor, and all the advice above are given as general recommendations for the general population. If you struggle with specific issues, please check with your doctor before making any changes.