Time to start those New Year’s Resolutions and put in action your health and fitness plan for 2018.
For many that might include lose weight, exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet, but often we make resolutions like that every year and don’t follow through.
Dr. Anita Das Gupta, Clinical Dietitian at Burjeel Hospital, shares her top 10 tips for a happy and a healthy 2018.
Balance it out: The easiest way to maintain an ideal weight is to balance the calories we consume with our workout. Balancing calories means following a healthy diet that contains all the food groups, making sure it is colorful and varied to avoid losing interest, and also giving your body all the important nutritional elements, such as vitamins and minerals.
Eat light and eat right: Start your day with a minimum of a glass of water or warm water with lemon and honey. Breakfast should include a bowl of oatmeal with nuts and a spoonful of flaxseeds; scrambled eggs with a piece of wholegrain toast, or muesli with yoghurt and berries. Lunch should include steamed, grilled, baked, roasted or sauteed dishes. Dinner should begin with a light soup (no cream) or lentil soup and should always be a light dinner that has carbohydrates, protein and good fats.
Snack it out: Eating a snack between your main meals can prevent you from overeating in the next meal. Therefore, you should make sure you eat some snacks during the day. The healthy snacks should be small meals, containing the nutritional elements that may be lacking in the rest of the meals. Examples are fresh or dried fruits, vegetable slices, such as carrots or cucumbers, raw nuts (unsalted – a handful) or milk (low-fat), and some dairy products or a dark chocolate (30 grams). Always remember that even if your options are healthy, do not take excess.
Eat slowly: Take time to savour every mouthful of your food – opt for smaller bites and chewing slowly. The brain takes around 15-20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full, meaning by dessert time you are likely to overeat.
Eat the ‘good for you’ options first: Starting your meal with a bowl of clear broth or green salad will mean that you are fuller by the time you progress to the stuffed turkey and mashed potatoes and finally dessert.
Shop smart: It is easy to get distracted by the unhealthy options available when you shop for groceries, especially if you shop on an empty stomach. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables. Low fat dairy or whole grains are a healthier alternative so fill your shopping cart with these. Also, use a natural sweetener that tastes just as good as refined, processed sugar.
Plan wisely: When organising a get together do not plan your menu around choices that are heavy in cream sauces or empty calories like in a casserole. Instead of the usual mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes grilled with a drizzle of olive oil is a yummier, healthier option. Rather than a deep fried chicken breast slathered in mushroom cream, try grilled chicken with a side dish of fresh vegetable salad.
Hang out with friends at the park: Do not kill time in front of the TV after a large meal, put on your running shoes and head to the park with a friend. Play a game of badminton or just take a walk around inhaling some fresh air while catching up.
Be mindful of sugary beverages: Drink at least six-eight glasses of water every day. You can flavor the water with cut up fruits, mint and lemon or preferred veggies.
From exercising 30 minutes daily to fuelling with healthy food, little adaptations to routine can help maximise productivity levels and make you feel happier.
The main challenge when getting into a healthy routine is consistency and discipline, so it is about making small changes and then motivating yourself to stick to the habit and prolong that feel-good factor.
If you want to feel happier and confident, here are six tips for feeling better in 30 days.
Goal setting gives you vision and motivation to plan and achieve something, whether it’s for sport or in the workplace.
Everyone has big dreams but they cannot be achieved that easily and need to be broken down into small and long-term goals.
Start by coming up with small goals, from what foods you want to cut out of your diet to different changes you may want to make in your life.
Achieving goals, no matter how small, will give you confidence, but should you not achieve them, don’t feel disheartened and try and turn this into a positive by altering your aims and setting out to achieve them in a different way.
If you don’t set goals, how do you truly know what you want?
EATING HEALTHY FOODS
‘Eat well, feel good’ may seem like a much used cliché but it is crucial to maintain a healthy weight and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are all building blocks to provide energy and lead to an overall better performance in the mind and body.
Start by eating more vegetables, fruit and meat and you will see the results mentally and physically.
Drinking between one and four litres of water a day will help you look better and focus better.
The most common cause of headaches and migraines is dehydration so drinking regular water will help prevent this, as well as improving your metabolism.
For athletes, keeping hydrated will allow you to perform more effectively and keep your joints and muscles more supple, which in turn will prevent injury.
Exercising daily improves your strength and cardiovascular system to help provide more energy to your body. In addition, it increases blood flow to, and oxygen levels in, the brain which boosts concentration and helps reduce the risk of diseases.
Whether you walk for 30 minutes or jog on the treadmill for a similar period, exercise reduces blood power, cholesterol levels and fuels the cells that fight viruses and bacteria. Consistent exercise will make you look and feel better.
PROPER SLEEPING PATTERNS
Sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and vital for mental health and hormone balance. Whether you’ve just finished a 12-hour shift at work or a heavy two-hour fitness session, your body needs to recover both mentally and physically.
We are not machines, therefore between six and eight hours sleep a night will help your body recover and strengthen itself.
Proper sleeping patterns will increase performance, decrease risk of injury and weight gain, and make you feel fresh.
One area that is often overlooked is stretching, even though keeping your muscles flexible has major benefits.
Lengthening tight muscles through stretching will improve your posture and make you feel more confident.
Stretching also decreases the risk of injury and can assist in making you faster and fitter.
Why not take up a yoga or pilates class once a week and see the benefits stretching has for the mind and body?
All over the world people will be getting up on Monday morning to set new goals for the next twelve months.
Most of these goals won’t be followed beyond January, but why not make 2018 different, and discipline yourself to stick to your various targets.
Nothing beats trying, so don’t feel disheartened if some of them look over-ambitious on paper.
Here are seven targets to consider!
You can’t achieve a goal without setting one. This can be anything from going to the gym three times a week, eating better or getting involved with a sports club.
When goals are written down on paper, you’ll have a clearer focus of what you want to achieve.
If you’re aiming to exercise regularly then set realistic objectives.
It’s useless penning a training schedule of four sessions per week if you were only training one day a week prior to this.
Start going to the gym and see how it fits into your working week, and then set a realistic target around it.
Sleep is integral to how you feel on a daily basis.
If you have a lack of sleep, then this will limit your productivity and overall feeling in and out of the workplace.
Sleeping allows for muscle recovery and keeps you in tip top shape mentally.
Make one of your resolutions going to bed earlier.
ELIMINATE BAD FOODS
We all love to tackle the occasional bag of Maltesers and a double cheese burger meal at McDonald’s, but 2018 is the time to reduce the amount of bad food that you eat.
It’ll only make you feel worse and have a bad impact on your well-being.
Eat well, feel sharp and maximise your productivity!
TAKE UP A NEW ACTIVITY
Are you bored of doing the same thing? Try a new activity and keep your mind active.
There’s definitely something you’ve had a burning desire to try for a while so January is the time to give it a go.
It could be anything from attending a yoga class to getting involved in a game of basketball or football with friends once a week.
Now is the time.
REPLACE THE LAPTOP WITH A BOOK IN THE EVENING
Many of us sit on the laptop for hours in the evening scrolling down through the home page on Facebook or reading irrelevant websites, so why not make 2018 the year when you start educating yourself and reading some books or trying an online course.
BE A BETTER VERSION OF YOURSELF
Nobody can fault you for being yourself, so carry yourself in that manner whether it’s on the football field on a Monday night or in the workplace.
Embrace failure and keeping trying to get the best out of yourself on a daily basis.