So, the kids are back at school, the Christmas tree is down, a remarkable amount of glitter has been hoovered up and there’s that nice feeling of being able to make a fresh start with the new year.
Sadly, we can’t bottle that lovely feeling, so here are five things you can do today to take advantage of it and get 2019 off to a great start.
When the fresh-start feeling strikes, it’s too easy to think this time will be different and you’ll be able to get up half an hour earlier every day forever, or that you’ll magically feel inspired to cook a complicated new recipe every night.
Ask yourself what you could commit to doing every single week without fail – whether its term time or holidays, whether you’re busy or bored – and plan to do that.
Consistency is really important.
Find a way to enjoy the process
This works for food and exercise.
Forget about feeling deprived from the food you’re taking out of your diet, and focus on what you can cook with the things you are eating.
Shift your focus, make things positive and they will be easier to keep in place for the long term.
Whatever exercise you choose, try to forget about your aim to lose weight, and simply focus on getting better at whatever you’re doing.
It’s good for your brain to learn new things, it’ll become a routine more easily, and it’ll take less time than you think before you look up and realise how far you’ve come both in terms of learning new skills and in terms of changing your body.
Get enough sleep
People who get less good quality sleep start the day with higher blood sugar levels, crave more sugar during the day, and overall eat more calories.
Sleep is very underrated; for me, if your choice is between getting a workout done late in the evening or getting an extra hours sleep, the sleep wins the health crown every time!
Wind down for bed – turn screens off by 9pm, read a book or have a soak in the bath, then get into bed. This will help your body produce melatonin which will help you nod off more easily and stay asleep.
Cut the snacks
Learn what you need to eat at each meal to keep hunger away until your next meal.
Although you do need a calorie deficit if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t just play the numbers game.
Particularly at the beginning of your journey, you’ll often find that eating the same amount of calories across three meals rather than drip feeding them throughout the day has a big difference on the way your body responds.
Drink water if your hunger doesn’t make sense
If you had a proper lunch an hour ago, you’re probably not truly hungry now, have a glass of water and give it ten minutes.
Particularly when we’re dehydrated, it’s easy to confuse thirst signals with hunger signals.
Regardless of this, it is ok to be hungry sometimes – not ‘can’t see straight’ hungry, but a bit of a rumbly tummy is no bad thing and can actually improve your focus and energy.