Despite the best of intentions in the New Year, when mid-February arrives, any resolutions and commitments seem so far away that the call of the couch or an extra 30 minutes in bed can suddenly become stronger than the enticement of exercise. If that sounds familiar, then don’t panic! You’re not alone. I often come across friends and colleagues who find it difficult to maintain their positive mindset at this time of year, and as the cold and dark start to take their toll, and the fun of the festive break becomes a distant memory, it’s easy to see why. Don’t despair though – armed with the right tools, staying on the wellbeing wagon isn’t as hard as it looks!
1. Think inside out
In a selfie-driven world, the emphasis on outer appearance can sometimes override the importance of inner wellbeing. It’s therefore really important to remind yourself that the number on the scales isn’t everything, and that you should try to tap into how you actually feel within yourself. After you’ve finished a workout, why not write down how it made you feel. It’s doesn’t have to be an essay, just a few words, like ‘happy’, ‘energised’ or ‘revived’. Then, the next time you’re struggling to get the gym or go for a run, have a think back to what you wrote down and how you felt to remind yourself how good you felt post workout and get going!
2. Little changes make a big difference
It’s extremely hard to stick to a new routine if you completely overhaul it from day one. Instead, it’s far better to make small tweaks that are easy to maintain across a longer period of time. Try simple things like reducing your portion sizes, swapping white rice for brown rice, or switching sugary drinks for water with a slice of orange or lemon in. Stick to making two to three tweaks at a time until they become the norm, then aim to introduce more new changes as you go along. Before you know it, you will find you’ve switched out the majority of unhealthy habits from your diet!
3. Eat your way to energy
Eating food rich in nutrients will help provide your body with the energy it needs to recover after exercise. If you don’t provide your body with the required nutrients, it can leave you feeling drained and tired. As a result, a well-balanced diet will play a part in improving your energy levels. Some of my favourites foods are spinach (rich in iron), brown rice (a great source of magnesium) and sweet potatoes (rich in vitamin A and C) – all great ways to include more nutrients in your diet – and that’s before you get to the tasty, high-protein powerhouses of beans and fish.
4. Try the 80/20 rule
Often, if we don’t see results soon enough with one exercise routine or diet, we either give up completely, or launch ourselves into a new, more punishing one. The cycle can become never-ending and we quickly become drained and unmotivated, losing confidence along the way.
When it comes to wellbeing, consistence and sustainability is key. So, next time, instead of setting yourself up for disappointment with the latest fad, consider making a positive lifestyle change instead, and try the 80/20 rule. With a focus on balance and moderation, the breakdown of the 80/20 rule is simple. 80% of the time you focus on making sure you get in feel-good exercise and eat healthy nourishing foods, and the other 20% of the time you let yourself relax and have the freedom to indulge as you please. I love following this school of thought – after all, a lifestyle where nothing is off the menu? Yes, please!
I hope my tips help you to continue your new healthy journey in 2017.