I, like the most of us, had all but the best intentions for the start of 2017, regarding improving my health. But come all of life's trials, a busy lifestyle and the neccessity to prioritise other, more time-dependent things, my efforts have fallen a little by the wayside.. is this all sounding familiar to you?!
It's now April and my energy levels are constantly floating around 'meh'. I feel sluggish, tired, stressed and overweight, so I'm sharing with you today my tips for starting and sticking to a health kick. We're approaching the most fertile and abundant months for produce and the warmer weather is an instant mood lift, so there feels like no better a time. So keep reading for my thoughts and here's to feeling happier, more energised, and getting back that little bit of joie de vivre.
MAKE SALADS EXCITING
Salads, buddha bowls and veggie plates are an amazing way to pack your diet full of vitamins and nutrients, and get your 5 a day in just one meal, but truth be told, I'm often lacking inspiration and revert to the same side salads I always prepare (romaine, whatever random salad vegetables we have in the fridge, and a really sharp, red wine vinaigrette). Try switching up your salads, whether it's a warm salad, an asian-style salad, a fruit salad, a roasted veg salad, and make them inviting and exciting, and you'll never be bored of healthy food. Use a vegetable you've never tried before, prepare what's in season, and get new inspiration for a great, new dressing that's both healthy and delicious. I've been scouring the net lately for ideas and recipes so I'll share a few of my favourite finds:
- this maple roasted squash with bacon, feta + pecans salad
- this berry salad + honey, mint, lime dressing
- this berry salad + honey, mint, lime dressing
- this vegan Spring salad
- this harissa veggie bowl
PLAN + SCHEDULE
Especially at the beginning, it's hard not to fall off the wagon. Temptation is all around, cravings are high, energy is low, and the last thing you want to see is Kayla Itsines yelling at you to jump around. You need structure, you need support, so planning is key. Identify when you're eating out for the next week or two, so you can mentally prepare, or make allowances elsewhere in the week. Schedule when and for how long you plan to exercise on a given day. Give yourself little rules to follow, like drinking 2 more cups of water a day, or eating a piece of fruit or veg before every meal. Create a mealplan to help you stay on track if you're trying to eat the right kinds of foods, and only buy enough food for the meals your dedicate yourself. Saying that..
HAVE SNACKS AT THE READY
I don't know about you, but I'm a huge grazer. I just can't stick to the '3 meals a day' ethos. I often get cravings for something sweet in particular, and there's no shame in giving into them now and again. As much as I'd like to lose weight and feel stronger and healthier in myself, I don't subscribe to deprivation and if I want a sweet treat, I'm going to have it. Having an arsenal of 'healthier alternatives' on hand can stop you going off-piste, especially if you don't fancy a plain piece of fruit, and I think this is a great opportunity to get creative with your snacks to keep things interesting. I'll list some of my faves below:
- the flapjacks + cherry chia jam from this video
- these healthy muffincakes
- these avocado brownies + frosting
- these green goddess sandwiches
- this Muhammara dip (just add veggies)
INVEST IN YOUR SLEEPING RITUAL
Sleep, I need not say, is so important for overall health. I always seem to get over a cold or bug a lot more quickly if I've had some quality, uninterrupted sleep. I used to be a horrific sleeper, not being able to get to sleep, or waking up in the night, or both! As part of my evening routine and slow-living, I've been honing my own little sleeping ritual to improve the quality of my sleep, and I've been feeling so much better for it. Here are some examples of what I've been practicing:
- spending time massaging my face to take off makeup
- practicing a small bout of meditation before bed (I'm liking this app atm)
- setting my alarm for 7.5 or 9 hours of sleep to fit in with my sleep cycles
- having a 'braindump' by scribbling into my notepad, to empty my mind before bed
- spending 5 minutes stretching to relieve tension
BREAK THROUGH THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MILESTONES
The first few days of making big lifestyle changes is hard, whatever it is, but stick with it (even if just via sheer forcefulness) for 3 days and you'll find it gets so much easier after that. Food and I have a particularly addictive relationship and the first three days is an absolute struggle when I'm trying to cut ties with my culinary crutches, but after that, I begin to feel the benefits of my healthy choices and it gives me a big boost. I feel noticeably less bloated, and I can sense a bit of a spring in my step, and it gives me the motivation to carry this on for another day, and before I know it, I've been consistent for a week, ten days, two weeks! After that, try and be consistent with your changes for 21 days, or roughly how long it takes to form a habit. Slowly, the more consistent you are, the more your lifestyle tweaks start becoming second nature. It all gets easier from here!
I hope you've enjoyed reading, and if you're also trying to be a little healthier then I'd love to know, what are your favourite tips for starting and sticking to it? Otherwise I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend here in the UK and a happy Easter!
Don't forget to follow on Bloglovin!