There are no calories at Christmas, right?
So we ate and we drank. We sat around in the heat and watched kids and cricketers run around like lunatics. And all the while, we told ourselves that in the New Year, we’d get back on track… right?
Well, the festive season is over and the new year is here. You know that great quote by Karen Lamb, ‘A year from now you may wish you had started today’? It is absolutely true! And you can start today really easily and I promise, painlessly.
Before you dive into some kind of crazy and possibly ridiculous cleanse or fitness routine though, keep in mind that what your body is most likely ready for and will respond to is usually something much simpler. I’m going to share with you my mantra for health that you’ll be able to start using right now to get your health state moving back towards your ideal (or at least pre-christmas!) state.
It’s really simple. Drink enough water, move your body, and eat the rainbow.
I’m actually going to write blogs for you on each of these topics in the coming weeks so that you have tips and tools to achieve each part of this little health theory of mine. But for now, here’s a summary so you get the idea and can start today.
Drink enough water.
Water intake is surprisingly personal! It really varies from person to person depending on what you’re currently drinking (alcohol, water, soft drinks, coffee), how active you are, your current health state and your environment.
To improve your health state though, cut back on your alcohol, soft drink and caffeinated drinks and increase your plain water intake. Don’t do this in one day! Gradually cut back or you will really notice cracking headaches and even a whole range of random symptoms. Swapping is a great tool when it comes to positive health changes. Swap a coffee for a tea, a soft drink for a coconut water or a glass of wine for a soda water with a squeeze of lemon.
When it comes to water, a great aim is to grab yourself a 750ml drink bottle and make sure you’ve consumed the whole bottle before you have your lunch. Then refill it and again make sure you’ve consumed it before you have dinner. That way, you’ve easily consumed a minimum 1.5 liters of water which is a great start for everyone. You can drop a slice of lemon or lime into your drink bottle if the taste of plain water isn’t doing it for you. Keep in mind that in hot weather, you’ll need to drink more.
Move your body.
There’s no way around this one. Our bodies are designed to move and the result is never good when we become sedentary. The secret is to move often, everyday.
Start out doing less than you feel you can do so you don’t over do it and put yourself off doing it again. Instead of buying new joggers and running around the lake and being too sore and stiff for the next week to do anything else, aim instead for a little movement everyday. Get up in the morning and do three sun salutes, or take your dog for a short walk around the block or take the kids for a wander up the street and back: any increase in physical activity is hugely beneficial! And five minutes of walking is always better than thinking about doing 10 minutes of running.
Remember to check in with your health professional before you start on any kind of physical fitness regime so that blood pressure etc. can be checked.
Eat the Rainbow.
Next time you’re about to eat, have a look at your plate of food. You really want your food to be fresh, inviting and as colourful as a rainbow! If you can find the colours of the rainbow there, chances are you’re about to consume a beautifully nutritious meal. If you have dull colours, lots of white or strange processed colours, chances are you’re better off dumping it in the bin. My kids love playing this game. It also opens up lots of family conversations about the nutrition content of hot chips and other sometimes foods.
Why? Because different colours in food indicate different nutritional qualities. Our bodies love to have a wide range of different nutrients available to enable us to function optimally. The first thing to do when you’re feeling blah after festive eating and drinking is to look at the plate of food in front of you. Protein (like meat) only needs to be the size and thickness of your palm, white foods sadly don’t even need to be there and three good handfuls of rainbow representing salad or veg is ideal! You’ll be amazed how quickly you notice the difference in your energy.
Remember that when you’re making changes to your health state, you need to be kind to yourself. Don’t feel like moving today? That’s okay, go for a 5 minute walk instead of a 30 minute walk. Had three coffees today when you’re trying to cut back? That’s okay, just make sure you get your water in.
Small changes that you stick with are much more beneficial than planning something unrealistic that falls by the wayside next week.
And keep in mind that health changes can be tricky. If you’re finding it hard to make little changes or know that you should be feeling better than you are, make sure you make and appointment to see your health professional. We spend lots of time studying and reading all sorts of nerdy material about health so that you don’t have to.
After all, little changes all add up to big changes. And in a year you’ll be so glad you started today!