We all know the drill. Dry January, January detox, Sugar-free January, New Year’s Resolutions. This year WILL be different. I am going to wake up on 1st January literally a NEW person. I am going to get up to meditate at 5am every day, followed by a green juice, perhaps a few sun salutations, fill in my gratitude journal, be #blessed about something on Instagram, (but not be such a slave to my social media), eat nothing but spinach and chia seeds all month, and lose two stone.
Ok, so I realise that might be slightly extreme, but why do we wake up on 1st January determined to be completely different to the person we were yesterday? And why do we do it Every. Single. Year? One of the reasons I did not jump on the January bandwagon and shove my sugar-free, wholesome, nutrition-ness in your faces is because I didn’t want to dupe you into a temporary fix just for a quick buck. (probably not a great business decision at the time, but bear with…) I’m in it for the long haul. I don’t want you starting some extreme diet only to fall off it after two days, or two weeks, feeling like a massive flumping failure, and go back to inhaling donuts.
A healthy lifestyle is for life, not just for January.
Which is why I have decided to resurrect my blog in February and give you my top tips for how to maintain healthy habits all year round. Many women are mostly motivated by weight loss (especially in January!), and whilst keeping your weight at a healthy level is important, being a slave to the scales can be awfully demotivating at times. I would much rather a client came to with me successes like:
‘I’m feeling a lot perkier when I wake up in the morning’
‘I made it through the day without wanting to kill someone with my sugar cravings’
‘I’m sleeping so much better’
‘My PMT was much less rabid this month’
Those are wins for me. And those are the kinds of wins that come from maintaining healthy habits beyond January. Losing a couple of pounds over a few weeks is definitely motivating, and can give you the oomph you need to keep going, but invariably, it all goes out the window come February because, damn, you’ve missed those donuts.
How to maintain healthy habits
What can you do to make sure that you prioritise your health throughout the year, so that when you wake up on 1st January next year, you’re already feeling pretty sh*t-hot? (minus the raging hangover)
1. Get into breakfast
I love breakfast. It might be my favourite meal of the day. But some people don’t love breakfast. Some people don’t love breakfast so much that they don’t even bother eating it!! WHAAAT? (You know those 3pm murderous sugar cravings? Could probably be avoided with a good breakfast by the way). Some people think that by skipping breakfast, they can ‘save’ calories, and lose weight. BEEEEEP! Wrong! Skipping breakfast just makes you really hungry at 11am and prone to making really poor food choices, like all the crisps. Skipping breakfast also affects your stress hormones which causes you to actually STORE fat, instead of losing it. Who knew?
So I strongly recommend that if you do one thing to start a healthy habit it’s to get into breakfast. Some of my favourite breakfasts include:
♥ Paleo granola with berries and coconut yoghurt
♥ Any kind of eggs with leafy greens and avocado
♥ A green smoothie
2. Vegetables, vegetables and, erm vegetables
If there’s one food you can’t have too much of, it’s vegetables. And many of us simply don’t get enough. I get it. Your grandmother probably put you off vegetables for life with her overcooked Brussels sprouts and boiled-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life cabbage. But vegetables have come a long way since then and they are mahoosively versatile so there’s really no excuse for not getting enough of them.
My general rule of thumb is to get people to eat at least one, if not two portions of vegetables with EVERY meal. I cannot tell you the number of food diaries I have looked at over the years and gone ‘Did you know that by 6pm on most days you haven’t eaten a single vegetable?’ But why are vegetables so great?
♥ All of the antioxidants that give vegetables their varied colours are amazing for the immune system, brain health, skin and the liver
♥ They are packed full of fibre to keep your digestive system working properly
♥ They are low sugar – snacking on vegetables (particularly when combined with some protein such as houmous, almond butter, pumpkin seeds or boiled eggs) can keep your energy and blood sugar levels stable, and reduce cravings.
At this time of year in the UK, we might not fancy crunchy, cold, raw veg so soups are a great way to get plenty of vegetables into you in a nice, hearty warming bowl. My latest favourite soup is a Roasted Vegetable Soup:
- Roast 3 large tomatoes, one red onion, 2 red peppers, half a butternut squash and a head of garlic in some olive oil and fresh rosemary for about 40 minutes. Combine with 500mls of stock or bone broth and blitz until smooth. So easy and so delicious, and really great for supporting your immune system
3. Move your body
It can be tempting in the winter to stay indoors under your duvet watching binge-watching Netflix. I mean, I’m all over this. But finding a little time in your week to keep your fitness levels up will help you keep that extra tyre off so you’re not panic-dieting the minute Spring arrives. Find something that you enjoy and stick to that. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive (you don’t need to join a gym! In fact I’ve recently cancelled my gym membership), it just needs to be fun and frequent! Some ideas include:
♥ Find a local yoga class or search for a yoga video on YouTube
♥ Commit to a regular bootcamp/HIIT class to go to with a friend
♥ Lots of HIIT classes are also easy to find on YouTube (you know the guy!)
♥ Sign up for a charity 5k or 10k in the Spring to give you something work towards and download a ‘Couch to 5k’ (or similar) app on your phone to guide you through the training.
♥ Wrap up warm and go for a bracing walk. Some winter days are actually quite sunny, so top up your Vitamin D by getting out in it. Power walking with a friend instead of going for a coffee can kill two birds with one stone!
4. Join a club
You don’t have to join an expensive club. You could join a really reasonable club, that sends you delicious, healthy recipes and meal plans every month, and provides you with motivation on how to maintain healthy habits. What is this wonderful-sounding club? It’s MY club!
I have just launched THE SECRET KITCHEN CLUB – my monthly membership club which will help you to maintain your healthy habits all year round!
I would absolutely love to see you there!