Life

Nutrition with Jane McClenaghan: A healthy body isn't made of New Year resolutions

Use January as a celebration of what we already do to look after ourselves
Jane McClenaghan

IT'S almost time to say goodbye to 2018 and you might be starting to reflect on how you can make 2019 the year that you become a newer, faster, fitter, slimmer, better version of yourself.

However well-intentioned our New Year's Resolutions, often we set the bar too high. January is hard enough without the guilt and shame of letting yourself down. So how about thinking about it another way? Instead of beating ourselves up for what we should be giving up, cutting out or eating less of, why don't we use January as a celebration of what we already do to look after ourselves?

I know that we have all had a few weeks of overindulgence, but so what? Now is the time to pick up where you left off and get back to those healthy habits that are part of your regular lifestyle.

Be nice to yourself

If you are not managing to get to the gym every day, are riding the rollercoaster of sugar cravings and energy slumps, and are not managing to do that mindfulness relaxation you promised yourself every day it's not the end of the world.

Take a look at the bigger picture – you will probably eat better, take more exercise and look after yourself better in January than you did in December and that is a pretty good start, don't you think?

Healthy habits for the New Year

Let's get back to basics. I have a few simple, bite-sized resolutions that you may find easier to handle than the life-changing goals most of us set for ourselves on December 31.

These everyday ideas are habits that you might already be doing that all contribute to a strong, healthy, happy you, with maybe a few new ideas to inspire you.

:: Drink some water: Give your energy levels a jump-start with a glass of water first thing and drink a few glasses throughout the day, or carry a water bottle with you.

:: Move your body every day: Walk to work, take the stairs, dance around the kitchen, book an exercise class. Do whatever you like, as long as it is fun.

:: Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day: Get back to basics and focus on packing as much nutrition as you can into your three main meals.

:: Read the back of the pack: The front might look promising, with smashing claims to help you build that body beautiful you are after, but before you pop it in your trolley, take a look at the back of the back of the pack. Train your eye to look at the amount of sugar per 100g and always aim for 5g or less per 100g.

:: Double your vegetables, halve your carbs: If you have overindulged a little too much and are keen to lose a few pounds, then a few simple changes are likely to do the trick, rather than going on a crazy fad diet, or living a life of denial.

:: Eat something green and leafy every day: Brussels sprouts are not just for Christmas!

:: Use your freezer: Have a supply of frozen veg and berries, freeze leftovers and make soup once a week to freeze in portion sizes, That way you will always have a supply of healthy fast foods if the cupboards look bare.

:: Treat your treats as treats: If you do get a craving for something sweet, fried or salty, then a little of what you fancy will do no harm as long as it is an occasional treat rather than an every day indulgence.

Well done, you

Give yourself a high five for what you already do to take care of yourself and keep your body, mind and spirit happy and healthy.

A healthy body does not appear out of nowhere, as a result of a quick fix or one-week-wonder diet, but instead is a result of long-term healthy choices that make you feel good about yourself.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy New Year.

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