Forget the ‘new year, new you’ nonsense – you’re already awesome – but if you really want to improve your health in 2016 and beyond try implementing these 10 healthy habits….
Ditch The Diet Mentality
Have you ever been on a diet? I bet it went a little like this…
January spoiler alert!! Diets don’t work.
Sorry to be a Debbie Downer about it, but despite short term weight loss, most people that go on a diet regain the weight they have lost and many end up regaining even more than they lost in the first place.
So, if you are trapped in this cycle of eating, ditch the diet mentality and make 2016 the year that you take back control. By listening to your body and eating intuitively you can honour your hunger and create a healthy relationship with your plate. Moderation is key!
You can learn more about intuitive eating and thriving with moderation here.
Eat Your Vegetables
Forget the diet wars – people can shout the benefits of Paleo/Vegan/Gluten Free or whatever diet du jour takes their fancy, but the truth is that there are many roads to good health. The best ‘diet’ is one that you can stick to, but whatever your dietary choices, there is one thing that all nutrition experts agree on and that is vegetables are king. So eat up!
You can boost your veggie intake in 2016 by trying to eat meatless at least once a week. Check out the Meatless Mondays website here for some great veggie recipes, or check out these great veggie ideas from Jamie Oliver here.
Don’t Vilify Single Nutrients
Is sugar toxic? Is gluten the devil? Should we ban fatty fast foods and fizzy drinks?!
Focusing on single nutrients as the cause of disease isn’t useful for anyone. It’s much more helpful to think of your diet as a whole e.g. in terms of what it looks like over a week or a month. Occasionally eating thing things you love for no other reason than you enjoy them, is perfectly ok.
It’s great to be conscious about your diet, to eat your vegetables, cut back on refined, energy dense sugary and fatty foods. No one nutrient will make you sick. The devil is in the dose!
Exercise For Fun (Not Punishment)
Moving your body doesn’t have to be a chore. If you are excising purely to lose weight or because you have to ‘work off’ whatever food you have deemed a sin, you’re unlikely to stick with it, or make it a permeant part of your life. So choose something you love – whether it be a walk in the park or a game of football – do it for the love of it and how it makes you feel – not how many calories it burns.
Focus on Health (Not Weight)
The mantra that our weight dictates our health status is ingrained deeply in us. In a society where thinness is viewed as a symbol of health and fitness, we have lost sight of the truth, which is that health looks different on different people. You can’t ‘see’ an individuals health or measure it with a single equation or number (I’m looking at you, BMI scale). So if you have tried every diet in the book, feel frustrated at what you think is your own ‘failure’ to lose weight or hit a number you have picked on the scale, maybe its time for a change in approach.
If you want to be healthy then focus on practising healthy behaviours like eating more vegetables and moving more.
Clear Out Your Social Media Stream
I don’t know if you have noticed, but with the rise of social media there has been a huge increase in the number of self proclaimed ‘wellness experts’. They are usually young, skinny, beautiful and hold the unwavering belief that they must be doing it ‘right’ and so ‘live like me look like me’ is their mantra.
Except, genes. age. money…I could go on.
Social media is not real. It’s an edited reel of peoples ‘best bits’ and the reality behind the perfectly framed photo is anyones guess. SO if you find yourself falling into the comparison trap, stop! Unfollow! You don’t need photos steeling your joy or self esteem. Surround yourself with images and messages that make you feel great about you.
For body positive social media look to some of my fav’s:
If you enjoy a bit of sarcasm please check out my snarky post on ’10 Steps To Wellness’
Practise Compassion and Kindness – To Yourself and Others
I’ve said it before – I’ll say it again. Judging someones health against a stereotype is wrong. Fat doesn’t mean unhealthy and thin doesn’t mean good health. On top of that, negative body image and shaming others for their body is actually bad for you. If you feel shame, inadequacy or a failure because of the way your body looks, this can prevent you from participating in healthy behaviours and lead to unhealthy patterns. Be kind to yourself, celebrate all the amazing things your body does for you every day!
Don’t Try and ‘Perfect’ Health
If you can’t afford chia pudding or don’t have the time to knock up a perfectly formed Acai bowl to Instagram in-between organising your work and the kids or if you feel like a walking zombie on the low-carb high-fat diet your mates are shouting about – you don’t have to ‘give up’ or forget about striving for healthy behaviours. You don’t need to eat a certain way to be healthy. There are many roads to good health, it’s fine to eat those things if you want to, but if you don’t or you can’t – find your own path.
Watch your language
It’s not “guilt free” or “clean” or a “superfood”.
All this language has a sub-context that makes food a moral issue . It implies that you should feel ‘guilty’ for your crime of eating the ‘wrong’ type of food. That food that isn’t ‘clean’ is somehow ‘dirty’ and unhealthy. That a single food or nutrient is superior to others and that health is an expensive commodity that only those that can afford super foods can have.
Live in The Now (Not 10lbs From Now)
So many people feel that weight loss is the key to happiness. Don’t wait until you have reached your ‘perfect weight’ to start living. Live now. Be kind to your body. Embrace healthy behaviours and don’t let numbers on the scale make you feel unworthy of living the life you want.
Wishing you a healthy, happy and fabulous 2016!