Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year celebrations. I have to admit to feeling somewhat weary today but that's more to do with dancing the night away to some seriously cheesy music til the small hours than having a hangover!
Whether you're hungover or not, alot of us start the year not feeling our best. I know I'm carrying a few spare Christmas pounds and have a bit of a food hangover going on from eating too much rubbish - even I can't resist the chocolates when there's a box in every room!!
So hopefully you're now sick of the sight of chocolate and feeling pretty motivated to have a healthy start to the year. My first bit of advice to having a healthy 2013 is to not go crazy on the new years resolutions - if you weren't running everyday in 2012 you're going to find it really tough to suddenly do that in 2013 add onto that a calorie controlled diet and you're guaranteed to end up knackered and defeated in a couple of weeks.
If you want to make some more permanent changes you need to make them gradually. Here's my recipe for making some more long-lasting new years changes:
1. Hit the shops ... no not sale shopping ... it's time to stock up your pantry with lots of healthy foods. Clear out the cupboards of any sugary treats left over from christmas and stock the cupboards with healthy goodies like dried fruits, nut and seed mixes, non-sugar natural nut butters, tinned pulses, chopped tomatoes, healthy wholegrains - basmati and wholegrain rice, bulgar wheat, quinoa, rye or gluten free wholegrain breads and cereals. Keep a regular supply of salad veggies and hummous in the fridge and fruit in the fruit bowl so you have a fresh and instant healthy snack available anytime you're hungry. If you're not a water drinker buy some non-concentrated fresh fruit juices to drink with diluted water to stay hydrated and stock up on some herbal teas.
If you want to work on your exercise regime as well as your diet, then take advantage of the sales and get yourself some nice looking gym kit. When you've got some kit you feel good in you're more likely to get down the gym
2. Set yourself some realistic goals ... having some clear objectives will help guide your choices, but these need to be realistic and specific. Losing 6lbs in a week is not realistic and not healthy - I'm setting myself the goal of fitting into my snowboarding trousers by the end of the month! But these don't need to be weight specific, cleaning up your skin, getting rid of those bags under your eyes, being able to run for 30 minutes straight are all good objectives and should help focus the mind about what you need to do to achieve them.
3. Break it down, what are the baby steps to get you to your goal. For me it will be firstly a dietary clean-up so day to day staying away from sugar, dairy and gluten all of which bloat me and pile on the pounds, next up I'm going to commit to running for 30 minutes 3 times a week. For other objectives, this might involve cutting foods out that you know aren't good for you or keeping a food diary to identify your problem foods, committing to going to bed on time three nights a week, walking or running home from work a couple of nights a week or going to a yoga class once a week.
4. If it all gets too much and you find yourself faced with temptation, then just ask yourself what you can do in that moment that will make you healthy and happy - these are objectives we should all have for the new year.