Is healthy eating at the top of your New Year resolution list in 2019? Are you over 30 with a regular, busy life and job? (And by regular job I mean one that doesn’t involve keeping fit or being beautiful on Instagram for a living). Keep reading!
Start your New Year's Resolutions a little late
I’ve given up on making New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that I don’t make them. I just don’t make them to start on 1st January. It makes sense to begin a new year with fresh resolve and intent. But let’s face it, when we give ourselves a forced target date to start them. The chances of maintaining those habits over any length of time, are slim.
When you’ve spent the entire month of December (and maybe November) over indulging because “it’s Christmas”. Facing January with a list of new life challenges is no easy task.
Not to mention, It’s January, the never-ending month. Payday seems like it’s years away. You’re faced with endless Christmas leftovers (turkey stew anyone?). And the thought of going shopping fills you with dread, though you absolutely know you need to get some milk and veg in.
You’re readjusting back to a normal routine after varying days of breaking that routine. Blue Monday is a well documented event. That’s that 2nd Monday in January when all the end of year celebrations come back to bite you and reality fully sets back in.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. And it’s why I spend a bit of time in January mentally preparing myself and easing back in to healthier habits. Rather than going straight cold turkey. Pun intended. It might be day 2. It might be day 10.
Some people might think this is silly. Some people might have the mental strength to just get on and do it. Some people will already be living continually healthy lives and don’t take the lengthy kinds of unhealthy food breaks that I tend to at different times of the year. And that’s great!
Realistic ways to meet your healthy goals in 2019
But if you’re like me and healthy eating remains a constant challenge. Here are 6 ideas on how to keep that mental resolve in 2019 and get you feeling your best.
1. Never use the word diet. It’s an awful word. Ban it immediately from your vocabulary. Diet means restrictions and removals and immediately sets a frame of mind that is conducive to tripping you up. I use “health kick” or similar. I’m not trying to lose weight. I’m just eating more healthily. And the by product of that, is that I will lose weight.
2. Walk. If you have a gym membership and enjoy it, fantastic. Keep going. But if the idea of going to the gym is your version of hell, then there are alternatives. And not just home workouts (though these can be good too).
Walking is amazing exercise. It’s free and it’s easy. I’m not talking about a ten minute walk a day. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. Ideally you’ll need to do at least an hour a day. Even half an hour at lunchtime is better than nothing. And pick up the pace, no sauntering along as if you’ve got all the time in the world!
Can’t find the time? I’m full of excuses for this. I’m tired. I’m too busy. It’s too cold. There is always extra time in the day to be found. And clothes and umbrellas are wonderful things! You know that feeling you want to bottle after you exercise because you feel so good? That’s what you have to keep reminding yourself of when it’s 6am on a cold winter’s day.
Because walking isn’t just great exercise, it’s a brilliant way to empty your mind and reduce stress. I do my best thinking when I’m out and about in fresh air. Get a Fitbit or similar pedometer, start off with lower goals and gradually increase them. You’ll be feeling fitter in no time.
3. Eat at the table. My favourite. Again, for many people this might be a given. But there’s no doubt that as a nation we are increasingly distracted by technology at mealtimes. Rose Metallics was born out of this idea of encouraging us to spend more quality time back in the real world..
Setting a beautiful table with colourful cutlery is an easy way to focus yourself. After all, what good is cooking healthy food if you’re not going to pay attention to it?
4. Notice your food. Following on from 3, this is all about being present and living in the moment. Again the idea is that without the distractions of technology, we can really pay attention to what we’re putting in our body. Taking the time to eat properly, to think about each bite is one of the best ways to prevent overeating.
5. Write it down. Another tech free addition to the list. Who doesn’t love beautiful stationery? There’s something about a fresh notebook or journal that’s so inviting. And yet I’ll bet many of us leave them untouched because our phone or tablet seems much more convenient.
Five minutes a day of writing down your achievements, your affirmations, your resolutions is all you need. At the very least, you’ll get to exercise your writing hand which if it’s anything like mine, needs more of a workout to write legibly!
6. Give yourself a break. Another reason that telling yourself you’re not on a diet is so important. Got a meal out? Enjoy it. Need to go for work drinks? Go.
That phrase “a little of what you fancy does you good” is more than just a cliche. It’s truth. Prepare yourself ahead of time and that little blip in the week won’t make a difference. Keeping the blip from turning into an everyday blip. That’s where the real challenge lies.
So there you have it. This list isn’t groundbreaking and it’s not intended to be. But it is intended to be a simple start to maintaining mental positivity when undertaking a healthy eating lifestyle change.