By the time the festive season is over, many of us will be feeling like we’ve overindulged and gained weight. It’s hard not to celebrate with good food and drink over the Christmas and New Year period, but January is a great time to start thinking about a whole new, healthier you for 2014. Here are 5 steps you can take to ensure that you’ll be fitter, healthier and happier next year!
1. Stop snacking
Ok, so you don’t have to quit your snacking habit completely, but it does help if you cut out sugary, salty and fatty snacks altogether (with maybe the occasional treat). Swap crisps for unsalted nuts and chocolate bars for raw fruit and grain bars or fresh fruit and vegetables. Hummus and crackers or granola and yogurt with fresh fruit are two incredibly satisfying snacks that will leave you feeling sated. There are even companies online such as Graze who specialize in the art of healthy snacking – they create customized snack boxes based on your preferences which include a range of healthy snacks including dried fruit, nuts, savory crackers and more!
2. Get off the sofa
When it’s cold and grey outside, the last thing you feel like doing is getting off the sofa and exercising after a long day at work. The trick is to exercise before you heed the tempting call of the sofa. Pack your Pilates gear and head straight to a session from work, or bundle your trainers in your bag and run home instead of taking the bus. Even half an hour of exercise after work each day will leave you feeling more energetic, and if you don’t want to do anything more strenuous than a brisk walk, that’s fine – leave the car at home and walk to and from the office! Regular exercise will soon boost your energy levels and leave you feeling revitalized.
3. Set goals
Setting yourself goals for 2014 is a great idea – whether its exercise and health goals or other things that you would like to achieve. For instance, perhaps you’ve always wanted to go to Thailand? Work out how much money you’ll need to save to achieve your goal and then put a plan for saving into action. Keep inspirational pictures of your destination to hand to remind you of the end result of all that hard work. Perhaps you’re looking to have a fresh start in 2014, and begin a whole new healthy eating and exercise regime? A 3 day juice cleanse can be the perfect way to kick-start a whole new you, as you’ll spend 3 days consuming nothing but water and fresh, raw juice filled with enzymes and phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals which will boost your immune system and detoxify your system, leaving you well and truly ready for a fresh start!
4. Banish negative thoughts
We’re all guilty of being harsh on ourselves and listening to our negative inner voice more than we should. Research shows that if you write down your negative thoughts on a piece of paper and then throw it away, you’ll mentally discard those thoughts. But you can also work on replacing your negativity with positive thinking. Treat your inner self as you would a friend – you wouldn’t give such harsh, negative advice to a friend who had made a mistake and was upset. Instead of beating yourself up and making yourself feel bad when things go wrong, bolster your self-confidence with positive affirmations such as ‘you did your best’ and reassure yourself that next time will be better. Banishing negativity not only helps you to feel more confident, it also lifts your mood and can help you to feel more energetic and full of life!
5. Lose Weight
If you need to drop a few pounds, the first few months of the New Year are the perfect time to do it, but don’t be tempted by crash diets – they can severely damage your health. Restricting calories and nutrients can cause irreversible organ damage and leave you with serious health issues, not to mention weakening your heart and your immune system. It’s far healthier to adopt a sensible, calorie controlled diet which includes plenty of naturally detoxifying foods. Limit your calories to between 1,500 – 1,600 a day (but seek the advice of your medical professional first) and ensure that you’re including enough protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals to fuel your body. With a diet such as this, you’ll lose up to 3lbs a week, which is a slow and steady amount of weight which will actually stay off! With crash diets, you may lose a lot of weight fast, but it can slow down your body’s metabolism and lead to even more weight gain.
So there you have it, 5 easy steps to creating a whole new you for 2014 – nobody is saying they will be easy, but even implementing one or two of them for next year will help you to feel like a different person!
Lena Lewis is a fitness and lifestyle coach who spends her free time writing for a range of online blogs and publications. Helping people to turn their lives around through a combination of positive mental attitude, healthy eating and exercise is what she does best and she believes that we all have the tools to live happier, healthier lives – we just need to know how to use them!