My 7-health go-to tips for when you need to regain some structure.
- Schedule your exercise
Originally, I had written this as strength training and yes, I can tell you all the benefits but most importantly find something you enjoy. Something you can stick to every single week that gets your heart rate up. Look at your diary and schedule it for each week so that you have committed to showing up.
- Eat mainly nutrient-dense food
We are healthier when we consume more whole foods and fewer refined ones. This is mainly because the greater the degree of processing, the higher the likelihood that food has lost its nutritional value, such as fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Has gained additives, preservatives, fillers, sugars, sodium and unhealthy fats.
Much debated at the moment and some would disagree, but the energy balance equation weight loss and weight gain come down to one key equation.
[Energy in] – [Energy out] = Changes in body stores
Yes, other lifestyle and genetic factors will contribute but if you are true to yourself getting this right first will make a difference to you reaching your goal.
When you take in more energy (or calories) than you burn, you gain weight.
When you take in less energy than you burn, you lose weight.
When you take in the same energy as you burn, you maintain.
- Drink water
We need around 3 litres of fluid per day but note the exact amount will vary from person to person. Around 1 litre will come from food, especially if you eat enough vegetables and fruit. That leaves us with around 2 litres to get from drinking. The old classic 8 glasses of water a day is a good general rule. Play around with it and if you find you keep getting thirsty you need to increase it, especially if your activity level is high.
- Daily Movement
Movement does a lot more than just get us into shape. Movement affects how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally. Pay attention to how you move daily. If you sit at a desk set an alarm to move every hour, stretch and walk around. Take note of how you move when you first wake up? Do you reach straight for your phone or could you dedicate 3-5 minutes mobilising your body to wake it up?
- Get outside
Living close to nature and spending time outside has a significant and wide-ranging health benefit. It can help reduce the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, stress, and high blood pressure. If you live somewhere with limited sunlight, consider investing in a daylight therapy lamp. Take note of how much time you spend outside and see if you can increase it if it doesn’t feel enough.
We live in a busy world but that doesn’t mean we are victims of it. While technology takes over a lot of our day, we have the choice to prioritise sleep. Aim if you can for 7 hours per night.
Make sleep a priority, just like the rest of your healthy habits. Here are things that can help:
- Consistency: Keep a relatively consistent bedtime and wake up, even at the weekends. Staying up late on the weekend can disrupt your routine during the week.
- Light: Keep your bedroom dark.
- Noise: Keep your bedroom as quiet as you can by leaving technology outside of the room.
- Have a relaxing routine: develop a pre-bed routine that sets you up for a good night’s sleep.
- Temperature: try and keep your room cool.
- Stimulants: eliminate things like coffee past 3 pm. If that’s too late for you then shift your cut-off earlier in the day.
- Digestion: try and give yourself some time to digest your food before bed, stopping to eat around 2 hours before bedtime if you can.
- Be flexible with yourself. Adjust and continue.
This one is key, it’s impossible to be doing everything to plan 100% of the time. But consistency is one of the most important things with any area you are trying to work on. So when you do go on that holiday and indulge or miss a few training sessions it doesn’t matter and won’t make a difference to you reaching your goals.