I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and that you're not suffering excessively from being being back at work today.
The New Year is time for new starts and kicking off healthy habits which means the gym will be annoyingly full for the next few weeks. But I'm all in favour of using some New Year resolutionitis to kick off some healthy habits.
Last year I started off the New Year with my bootcamp which I'd definitely recommend to anyone wanting a quick post Christmas weight loss and tone up. However this year I'm taking a more zen approach .. perhaps because I'm mellowing in my old age, or perhaps it's that I know I have a busy couple of weeks ahead and don't want to put too much pressure on myself to stick to a strict programme.
But even if you don't fancy going all out at the gym, or can't be bothered with inflicting a strict new diet on yourself that you'll just abandon after a few days, there are easier less regimented ways to get yourself fit and healthy this January.
So what does the zen diet involve?
Well rather than listing a million foods that are bad for you and trying your best to avoid them it's about focussing on eating what's good for you.
So before you sit down to your next meal you just need to ask yourself these three questions:
1) Am I genuinely hungry? No? Have a cup of tea and distract yourself with a task or some tv, and wait til you are.
Not sure? Just have a glass of water, wait 15 minutes and then see, remember hunger is in your stomach and not up in your throat or chest.
2) Is what you're about to eat actively good for you?
Facing a big bowl of pasta with cheese sauce, think again ... that is not going to be good for you. You're looking to maximize nutrients - so fruit + veg (antioxidants and fibre), pulses (fibre, minerals, protein), fish + nuts/seeds (essential fats) and other lean proteins (skinless poultry, tofu, pulses) should be the basis for your meals. Base your meal choices on what would be positively good for you ... this will keep you in good health over the colder months and any spare weight will come off naturally. But at the same time make sure you choose food that tastes good to you, eating should always be pleasurable.
3) Is there anything you can add to what you're about to eat that will make it healthier?
Add some veggies to your pasta dish, sprinkle some nuts and seeds over your breakfast cereal and add some berries. Are you in a restaurant facing a plate of steak? Make sure you order a side of vegetables or a salad to start to add in some greens.
4) Finally, and importantly, have a day off, or just a meal off a week for quicker results. Eat whatever you like without worrying about how healthy it is, just pure foodie enjoyment.
and that's it ... in the words of the Meerkats ... simples!
I'm going to be similarly zen on my approach to exercise, but more on that tomorrow.