Healthy habits to make 2020 your best year yet
I've never been a fan of endless new year's resolutions. Instead I like to focus on small, sustainable, healthy habits I can implement daily. Why? Because let's face it, a long list of things you want to change about yourself can feel quite daunting, especially while you're trying to balance a social life, work life, and family (home life). And who needs that additional pressure?
However, a few small changes here and there can make the biggest difference to your overall health and wellbeing. These are the healthy habits that should stick with you, rather than fizzle out as the novelty wears off.
Here are my top 5 healthy habits to try now:
Focus on nutrients first
As a busy, working mom and wife, I understand that it’s difficult to find time to plan and prepare healthy meals and snacks all the time. Sometimes, we just need a quick and easy, yet healthy solution.
One of the best ways to ensure you and your family are getting all the essential nutrients you need everyday is to supplement with a nutrient-dense powder such as Super Scoop.
This organic plant-based drink mix is packed with over 50 antioxidant-rich superfoods including fruit and veg extracts (such as kale, aloe, mushroom extract, barley grass and berries) and contains no added sugar, colourants or preservatives.
I wanted Super Scoop to be versatile and ideal for the whole family including even the fussiest kids. So not only does it taste great (We've just introduced a Super Scoop Raw Cacao flavour!) you can add it to smoothies, yoghurt, your favourite protein shake or just plain water.
I also like to add Super Scoop to home-baked goods. This is ideal for kids as you sneak the best nutrients in to their favourite chocolate cupcake, vanilla waffle for breakfast or peanut butter biscuit.
Pack your plate with nutrient-dense food
Rather than following the next fad diet, simply focus on eating more healthy foods and less processed foods. Try eating a piece of fruit 30 minutes before training, followed by a hearty meal 30 minutes afterwards. This is a good way to maintain your nutrient consumption throughout the day. A meal containing carbohydrates, some protein and healthy fats will replenish glycogen stores and repair your muscles. Some delicious examples of post-workout meals include:
- Quick and easy smoothies
- Super Scoop chocolate overnight oats with extra whey protein
- Rye toast with scrambled eggs, tomatoes and avocado
ALSO SEE: Healthy habits means my homemade cheesy green fritters recipe!
Consuming a veggie juice every morning can equal up to five portions of fruits and vegetables just to start the day. This small health change is good for your skin, immune system and digestive system, so get hold of a good-quality juicer as soon as possible!
Avoid cooking every meal as this destroys the nutrients.Try more raw foods, including salads, fruits, raw and unsalted nuts etc.
Practicing mindful eating is another healthy habit to start now. Eat your food slowly, chew thoroughly and turn off your phone or TV during meal times. This will help you to pay attention to what you're eating, and how your body feels. Mindful eating has also been proven to help weight loss with minimal effort!
Pay attention to your gut
Did you know that 80% of your immune system stems from your gut? This is why focusing more on your digestion is a small, but critical healthy habit you should be adopting. Make sure you eliminate your bodily toxins daily! No one should be waiting two to three days to go to the bathroom.
If toxins aren't regularly eliminated, they can be reabsorbed into the colon and into your bloodstream. This can make you more toxic and acidic, weaken your immune system and contribute to tiredness and general fatigue.
Additionally, an unhealthy gut can lead to something more serious than a cold: autoimmune diseases or even cancer. That’s why it’s so important to keep the body as alkaline as possible, and one of the best ways to do this is eliminating regularly.
Keen to try a liver cleanse and get your body back on the right track? My Elimin8 plan has been designed to gently help your digestive system, while boosting your immune system and assisting your liver and kidneys to get rid of toxins.
ALSO TRY: My immune-boosting Turmeric latte every night for a healthy habit you can sustain
Park your car further away from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk to nearby locations instead of driving. Finding easy ways to stay moving throughout the day is a healthy habit that ensures that you remain active, despite a busy schedule!
Regular exerise has numerous health benefits, and according to research, a good walk has the potential to be as effective as an antidepressant. Being physically active also helps to improve self-esteem, mood and sleep quality.
Set an alarm on your phone or Fitbit every hour to remind yourself to keep moving and increase your daily steps.
Incorporating these small healthy changes along with your regular exercise routine is a great way to avoid anxiety, fatigue and a sedentary lifestyle, and make this year even healthier.
ALSO SEE: my tips on how to exercise at work
Improve your sleep
According to research in the US, at least 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough restful sleep. Because sleep is key to your mental, emotional and physical health, it’s a good idea to focus on getting enough sleep every night.
If you struggle to fall alseep and stay asleep, unplug from all technology an hour before bed. Exposure to artificial light (especially blue light) decreases the quality of your sleep by tricking your brain into thinking it’s daytime. This type of light also prevents your body from producing enough melatonin- which interfers with your natural sleep cycles.
You can reduce your exposure to blue light by only using yellow light before bed. SleepSpec has a range of fabulous sleep products that incorporate the use of yellow light only. I'm a huge fan.
Make sure your bedroom is as cold, dark and quiet as possible, but also try to have a calming bedtime routine. Being more disciplined trains your internal clock and helps you to fall asleep faster. Turn off Netflix and try to get to bed an hour earlier!
Reduce your stress
I know you're probably thinking it's impossible to reduce your stress, but it's important to try, because too much stress can take a major toll on your physical, mental and emotional well-being and can even affect your weight.
Allowing yourself an emotional outlet once in a while, such as spending time with friends, meditating or keeping a journal, are just a few small, yet powerful healthy habits that can make you happier and less stressed in the long-run.
Yoga is also a potential habit that can reduce stress, promote mindfulness and increase strength and flexibility.
Gratitude is an amazing way to reduce stress and be more mindful. I keep a gratitude journal where I list everything I am grateful for in my life every Monday. I also like to do what I call “gratitude in advance”, where I set my intentions for the week by listing what I want to be grateful for the next week.
I also like to re-read my gratitude journal every other day. I believe gratitude attracts positive energy in your life which helps to lower stress levels.
If you find yourself stressed, anxious or down and unable to cope, it’s a good idea to consult a mental health professional.