HOW TO START THE NEW YEAR OFF RIGHT
A new year, a fresh start. There can be a lot of pressure throughout January to go on a quick-fix diet to lose those extra pounds gained over Christmas, or to slave away at the gym twice a day, every day. This is unrealistic and unachievable – but it IS possible to start 2017 the healthy way without having to resort to extremes.
As a firm believer in leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle all year round (not just for one month!) to help feel your best, here are my top tips to help you keep on track or if you need a little motivation to get you going. Let’s make this year a happy, healthy one!
SET REALISTIC GOALS
Many people like to set resolutions at this time of year, but in some cases these can be short-lived. Instead, think about more realistic goals throughout the year as a whole, then work out the steps to gradually get there. You’ll feel more comfortable in reaching them, it will be less of a shock plus it gives you something to work on over a longer period of time.
Eating well doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive, there are so many recipes available which are packed with fruit or vegetables, wholegrains and lean protein which are filling, easy to prepare and taste delicious. Check out the Ninja Kitchen recipe section for some inspiration!
I’d suggest planning out a rough meal plan for the week which can help you to identify ingredients which can be used in multiple recipes, or making a batch of something like a lean bolognese and serving it with whole wheat spaghetti one evening, then turning the rest into a Cottage Pie the next. Once you have a plan, write a shopping list with the essential ingredients (fresh and store-cupboard) and there you go, you’re ready for the week ahead!
Of course, it’s absolutely fine to venture off from your meal plan if other things crop up, like going out for the evening – but you’ll have healthy food in the kitchen which you can use the next day without having to resort to a last-minute ready meal or takeaway.
INVEST IN KITCHEN EQUIPMENT
Money may be a little tight after Christmas but with January sales galore, now is the time to invest in a decent blender and/or food processor to help make healthy eating easier. For instance, the Ninja Kitchen Auto IQ is fantastic for whizzing up smoothies and soups, for throwing in a healthy baking mixture, chopped up vegetables or even blending frozen bananas to make ‘ice cream’. The opportunities are endless; I’d be lost without mine and it really does make a difference when you want to eat well but time is short.
MAKE EXERCISE FUN
Being active is key to keeping the weight off (or losing it) and staying healthy on the inside. If you force yourself to go to the gym or pound the treadmill while hating every minute of it, you’re bound to find excuses not to go. Choosing an exercise you love is the key; whether it’s yoga, going to a dance class, hiking in the outdoors or even walking more, stick to something you enjoy doing and try and include it in your daily life – that way you won’t even realise you’re burning off those extra calories!
DRINK ENOUGH WATER
Around 60% of your body is water which plays a vital role in every bodily function, so keeping hydrated is essential. Although tea, coffee and diet fizzy drinks may be a part of your daily liquid consumption, they actually act as a diuretic (dehydrating the body) so swap to herbal or fruit teas – or simply drink more water. If you find it boring, why not fill up a large water bottle (with a diffuser if possible) and jazz it up with:
- A slice of lemon and a few chunks of fresh ginger
- Cucumber slices and mint leaves
- Fresh raspberries and strawberries
- Slices of orange
TAKE TIME OUT
Life can be hectic; keeping up with friends and family, being up to date on social media and dedicating time to hobbies means that sometimes, chilling out and making time for yourself is at the bottom of the priority list. With ‘mindfulness’ being a trend continuing into the New Year, focus on spending at least 10 minutes a day doing something that can help to relax your mind. Whether it’s meditating in your bedroom, practising yoga, reading a book or having a bath, don’t underestimate the benefits of taking a step back from the busyness of the modern world.
Finally, it IS ok to indulge in a slice of cake or glass of wine on a Friday night. The point is to adopt a balanced approach when it comes to food, exercise and enjoying life, rather than completely denying yourself of any treats or spending TOO much time in the gym to the point of exhaustion. Life is too short so don’t pass up on an opportunity which means fun and laughter with family and friends – just eat well and exercise sensibly the rest of the time!