Laura Thompson is a local Nutritional Therapist, Acupuncturist and creator of the Healthy Gut Plan, offering advice on a range of health issues
A new year and indeed a new decade is fast approaching and for many it is the perfect opportunity to make some important lifestyle changes. However, sticking to those new year resolutions can be challenging to say the least. So what can we do to make achieving our goals easier?
It is important to keep things simple. Set realistic goals; small changes can make a huge difference. Remember slow and steady wins the race!
The most popular resolution at this time of the year is weight loss. We have all overindulged during the festive season and the waistbands are stretched!
The trick to losing weight is consistency; forget about crash and fad diets as they are usually short-lived.
1. Think long term: Reduce your portion sizes but increase your intake of vegetables. Adding an extra cup of green veg to your plate will help to fill you up but will also provide valuable nutrition.
2. Aim to cut out the rubbish and up your fruit intake.
3. You shouldn’t be hungry if you’re eating the right foods; try taking more fibre in your diet.
4. When I’m trying to lose a few pounds I take a tablespoon of flaxseed mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a small glass of kefir. This stops all cravings and gets me over the hunger pangs.
5. Reduce your consumption of processed foods which are high in saturated fats and preservatives.
6. Make an effort to cook from scratch; it is much tastier and you know what you’re eating. A lot of jars and packets are high in sugar and salt, not to mention artificial flavourings. Once you get used to making your own sauces, you will do it quicker and won’t believe the difference it makes to both taste and calorie content. Some jars of sauce can have as much as 14 teaspoons of sugar in them.
7. Aim to loose a couple of pound a week by changing old lifestyle habits this will lead to long term sustained weight loss.
Getting fit is the next most popular resolution and, again, this should be done slowly. Exercise has so many health benefits and is not just about losing weight. Exercise increases your serotonin levels, making you feel more relaxed and happier. It not only improves your physical health but your mental health too.
1. Start slowly and increase the intensity as you get fitter.
2. We all have a spare 30 minutes, so no excuse about time limits! Get up 30 minutes earlier , miss an episode of fair city or do a brisk walk at lunchtime.
3. Meet new people – we all get stuck in a rut sometimes, especially as we get older. Meeting new people is a great way of changing that, we are meant to be sociable beings and isolating yourself is not good for your mental health. Join a club or maybe do a little bit of volunteering. Check out your local library; they are amazing for information about various clubs and organisations.
4. Spend more time enjoying nature; walk in the woods or by the canal and just enjoy the natural wildlife. Fill your soul with the beauty around you.
New Year’s Resolutions to consider:
1. Think about the impact you are having on your surroundings; pick up your litter and reduce your use of plastics so that nature stays beautiful.
2. Think positive! Before you start and end your day, practice feeling grateful. Studies show that this can make you happier by 25%. Simply take time to count your blessings and think of all the good things in your life.
3. Learn a new skill. What have you always wanted to learn to do? It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive; maybe take up knitting, painting or learn to play an instrument. Research shows that learning new skills helps to maintain a healthy brain, reducing your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.
4. Be kinder to yourself; we can’t change how others treat us, but by being good to ourselves we can gain more confidence and boost our self esteem.
Finally remember no one is perfect and sometimes your resolutions won’t be either. But even if you have a stumble, the important thing is to get back on track. Keep trying and you will get there.
Next week, I'll be giving some tips to help with the post-Christmas detox so you can start getting rid of some of the toxins from the past few weeks.
Happy New Year to you all and lets make 2020 a healthier and happier one.