Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The new year is just around the corner and it’s not too soon to start thinking about your health resolutions for the next 12 months. Its all too easy to get stuck in a rut and carry on doing the same old things year after year.
We all know that it doesn’t take long for the New Year’s resolutions to start slipping away.The secret to making lasting changes is to make them manageable and the steps to achieving them easy and measurable.
Here are my tips for your health overhaul for 2011
1 Make a Vision Board
It helps first to make a vision board. It is one of the top tools for staying on track. You don’t have to have anything fancy. A large peice of board or card is good but a sheet of paper will do.
Think about how you would like to look and feel by the beginning of spring. Write down 3 things that you want to achieve. Find pictures or words in magazines and newspapers that reflect the change you want to make and stick them on your vision board. For example, if you want to lose weight find a picture of a person about the weight you would like to be.
Pin the board or paper up where you can look at it every day. Each time you look at it focuses your brain on your goal. It helps to fix it in your subconcious and helps you stay on track.
2. Kick start your exercise program
Regular exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. You are more likely to do your exercise regularly if you choose something you enjoy. Challenge yourself by trying something new. Sign up for a Zumba Class or other dance class. Team up with a friend so you help each other through it.
You don’t have to put in a lot of hours to feel the benefits but you do have to do it regularly. The secret is to breathe properly. It boosts blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to the muscles.
If you pant or breathe through your mouth it causes unnecessary tension in the muscles making exercise that much harder. Take slow, deep breaths through your nose as if drawing it down to your stomach. It will help muscles relax and make exercise easier.
Keep a record of what you do and how you felt and you will be surprised at the progress you make. That will help to keep you motivated.
3. Overhaul your diet
There is nothing more important than what you eat. Like most people you may be concious of the fact that you are eating too much of the bad stuff and not enough of the good.
None of want to feel deprived but it’s easy to replace unhealthy food with healthier choices. Choose 6 things you can change without screaming too much and do them. Add 2 more in 6 weeks time. Just a few changes can make the world of difference to how you feel.
Here are a few ideas:
- Treat your body to some clean energy with a green smoothie in the morning instead of your caffeine fix.
- Replace sugary snacks with fresh fruit or look for some naturally fruit sweetened bars. (not all so called health bars are healthy and can be high in sugar and fat, so read the labels).
- If you are prone to snacking on a bag potato chips (crisps) try keeping a container of fresh walnuts or almonds handy. You will get healthy oils and other nutrients.
- Swap white bread. pasta and rice for wholegrain alternatives.
- Make sure your diet contains a rainbow of different colored fruit and vegetables to get a better variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
- Eat slowly and chew your food well. Digestion starts in the mouth.
- Drink plenty of pure water between meals. Aim for at least 8 x 8 oz glasses a day.
- Plan to do a detox at least twice a year . Spring & Autumn are good times.
4. Revive your Liver
If you feel you’ve over indulged in the party food and alcohol and too much stodgy, unhealthy comfort food of winter your liver will need a break.
You liver is your body’s vacuum cleaner, filtering out all the toxins to prevent them harming your cells. However careful you are, you are exposed to toxins in your environment every day. If your liver has to deal with rich food and alcohol as well it can easily become overworked and overloaded.
Cut back on fatty food, sugar and coffee. Make sure you get plenty of fiber. Have a glass of warm water with 1 tablespoon fresh organic lemon juice every morning for 1 week. Take a supplement of Milk Thistle. It helps to detox and protect the liver. You can read more about liver detox in a previous post here: Liver detox recipes
5. Relax and De-stress
Stress is a constant part of most people’s lives. And although it is quite common, it still needs to be addressed. When you experience stress, your body produces chemical changes in your body that affect your health.
Common illnesses associated with highly stressed individuals include heart disease, high blood pressure, fatigue, emotional disorders, headaches, ulcers, IBS, infections, colds, and lowered immunity system responses. Stress can escalate into depression or anxiety.
Relaxation is one of the best techniques used to cope with and reduce the symptoms of stress. . Learning how to relax in the midst of too much stress in your everyday life will mean a world of difference.
There are several relaxation activities that help combat stress in your life from things as simple as deep breathing, stretching or meditation, to more advanced relaxation methods such as yoga or Tai Chi.
It does not have to take much of your time each day, maybe at least 10 minutes to as much as 20 minutes is enough for stress management.
Get enough sleep, especially if you are going to be busy during the day.
Eat well. Include a good amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet, as well as proteins.
Engage in a physical activity during your free time. Working out releases endorphins in your system, which is why it improves your mood.
Never resort to unhealthy methods of dealing with stress, such as drugs, smoking, or alcohol.
Get going now on your New Year Health resolutions plan now . The key is not to leave the decision to New Year’s Eve. Share your goals with others to increase your motivation. Transform your plans into reality.