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Internationally Acclaimed Nutritional Biochemist, Author & Speaker

5 healthful resolutions to embrace this year

New Year resolutions are not my jam. That said, I’m all for whatever works for people. I’ve found that for the majority of people, they start off with the best of intentions only to find that their resolutions fizzle out a few weeks or months into the year.

So, for me personally (and what I encourage people to do), if I want to make a change, I start it then and there. If you feel called to make a change, why wait? If it’s a big change that might be a little difficult to adjust to all at once, break it down into smaller steps you take and incorporate those. That way, over a period of time, you gradually work towards where you want to be. Small incremental changes tend to be much more sustainable and they become part of our daily routines, rather than yet another task that requires great effort.

Consider too, how specific your resolutions are and how achievable they are when you reflect upon your current lifestyle. You may benefit from changes that don’t require you to find a whole lot more time in your schedule. With this in mind, here are some healthful resolutions to consider embracing this year that won’t have you trying to squeeze something more into an already full schedule.

1. Be kinder to yourself

I’ve not seen long term change ever stem from a mindset of deprivation, but rather from kindness and a deep, inner knowing that you are worth taking care of. And I love the ripple effect this creates in the world – not only do we tend to approach the world around us with less judgement when we are gentler on ourselves but we also teach the next generation to treat themselves with more compassion and care.

2. Stop dieting and start nourishing

Dieting puts us into a mindset of deprivation and as I’ve already said, this rarely leads to long-term change. When nourishment becomes your focus, you naturally start thinking about “what I can have” instead of “what I can’t have”. Nourishment too, can be applied to many things beyond just food. Nourishing your body may look like eating mostly whole real foods, ensuring you get adequate rest, and incorporating more movement into your routine. Nourishing your soul may look like enjoying a beer alongside a take away dinner with a friend or going to see a band and dancing into the wee hours of the morning.

3. Manage your energy not your time.

I truly believe one of the reasons people consume more caffeine is because they’re often working against their own natural patterns. For example, many people find that their creative energy is highest in the morning, so that’s a great time do creative tasks such as writing. By comparison, you may decide to block out afternoons for phone calls and emails or admin-related tasks. You don’t necessarily need your creative energy to be high for admin tasks, so that may be the best time to get them done. Start to keep a diary of when your energy is high, low and whether or not it’s your creative or productive time. Not only will you be making the best use of your time you’ll feel much more energised when you’re working.

4. Find a way to move your body that you love.

Paddle boarding, yoga, walking, aerobics, swimming whatever it is that you love doing –  you’re more likely to commit to a style of movement you enjoy. Regular movement is not only good for your mood, it also decreases your risk of osteoporosis, bowel cancer and improves glucose metabolism keeping your energy levels even. Do you need any other reason?

5. Drink less alcohol.

Whilst I run the risk of being labelled the ‘fun police’ this change is by far the most powerful. Hands down, reducing your alcohol consumption is one of the best things you can do for your health. Even moderate consumption of alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of numerous cancers. Most people can agree that they feel better without alcohol in their lives – it’s an added expense and it dulls your shine – not to mention the numerous detrimental effects it has on your health. Replace alcoholic drinks with sparkling water, with fresh lemon and lime or simply just more natural water. Try making drinking less alcohol the top of your to-do list this year. Reducing your intake also doesn’t have to mean removing it altogether. Do what feels comfortable and then see if you can stretch a little further.

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