You’ve decided it’s time to start getting healthy whether it’s exercising or just healthy eating. Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step on your way to a new and improved body and mind.
This doesn’t necessarily mean following a strict, time-consuming regime at the gym, or drinking protein shakes and consuming salad leaves, so let’s look at exercise first…
The truth is you can get rewards from many different types and levels of exercise. Your exercise options are numerous, including walking, dancing, gardening, biking, even doing household chores.
The important thing is to choose activities you enjoy, and this will increase your chances of making them a habit. If you decide to join a gym don’t force yourself into going daily or even into every class available, choose classes you enjoy and times to suit you.
And how much exercise should you do? For heart health the British Heart Foundation recommends 150 minutes of physical exercise a week. Wondering where the time is coming from? You could even break those 150 minutes up into 10 minute sessions.
Remember earlier I mentioned there are numerous options for exercise… using the stairs rather than the escalators or lift, take phone calls whilst walking rather than sat with a cup of coffee, walk to the local shop rather than taking the car, go for a walk during your lunch break and park further away from your workplace or the supermarket entrance.
You can always exercise in the comfort of your lounge just remember to move and don’t stay seated for any one time for more than an hour.
Make exercise fun and part of your day, you could make it a family activity like taking a walk or a bike ride together. Make it a good deed like taking a neighbours dog for regular walks and set reminders in your diary to encourage you in to your activities.
Everyone’s body is different so don’t overdo things
Listen to your body
Be realistic with your goals
Stretching is important
Moderation is better than completely giving up
And have fun!
Now let’s look at diet…
I personally hate the word diet, as it’s more of a collective word for your eating habits. I like to promote healthy eating.
Like a lot of things in life it’s the preparation that goes into something that determines the outcome, so how you prepare and cook most of your food determines how healthy it is.
Stay away from deep fat frying meals and processed foods and try to make your meals from scratch. If you’re making a bolognese stay away from the ready made pasta sauces that are full of salt and sugar… yes sugar! Buy a jar of passata and add your own herbs and garlic. It’s much healthier and tastier.
Plan your meals to prevent yourself from buying a take away on the way home. You could even make extra when you cook your favourite meals and freeze the extra portions so when you are working late or can’t be bothered to cook you know you have a ready made meal in the freezer.
Include protein in every meal it bulks your appetite and stabilises sugar levels in the body which can cause those cravings. Protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, lentils, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds.
Eat plenty of fibre, that means lots of fruit and vegetables. It keeps you regular and balances your energy levels.
Cooking with healthy fats like olive, avocado and coconut are more healthier than regular cooking oils.
Change from white to brown. Wholewheat foods are far healthier than processed white foods so change your white rice, flour, pasta and bread to wholewheat.
Eat in moderation! So if you like chocolate then eat it in moderation try and remember the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time you’re good, 20% of the time you’re naughty (with what you eat that is!).