I’m pretty sure that a lot of people who know me well will be hugely confused by the title of this post, mainly because I have something of a reputation for being really rather unhealthy, particularly when it comes to my eating habits. Vegetables were pretty much a no go area until very recently and in all honesty I would have been more likely to be spotted wolfing down a Dominos than munching on a salad.
But in an effort to shake up my everyday lifestyle a bit and make things a bit healthier on the whole, I’ve made a few changes, both to my diet and my general day-to-day activities that I think have really helped. Now please don’t for a second think I’m turning into a self-styled fitness guru a la Gwyneth Paltrow. That ain’t gonna happen any time soon. Nor am I about to start lecturing you all on calorie counting and diet plans. Instead I just wanted to take the chance to share a few healthy, happy thoughts and see what you guys thought.
We’ll kick off with food and drink as that’s probably the most obvious aspect of this whole healthy thang…
So the first tip in this category: drink more water. And I mean that to pretty much everyone out there. If you think you could be drinking more each day then you probably should be. If you’re not the biggest fan of plain old water, I’ve found changing it up a bit – with cucumber, lemon, berries or even just some mint – helps to make it that much more appealing. Similarly, if you find yourself craving a fizzy drink, try opting for some fizzy water instead. It’s a pretty simple change but will have a hugely positive impact on your health.
That trading tactic comes into play with food too. Truth be told, I’ve never been particularly good at denying myself. When I’m hungry, I eat. And when I want something sweet, I eat something sweet. But trading some of those seriously unhealthy sweet snacks – lookin’ at you Dairy Milk – for ones that are a bit healthier has been a lot easier than I thought. Frozen grapes are a dream when it comes to curbing sugar cravings, as are fresh smoothies and juices. If I’m really flagging in terms of my energy, I’ll pick up a Clif Bar which will keep me feeling seriously full while calming my desire for chocolate. Similarly, basic steps like swapping normal pasta for wholeweat, white bread for wholegrain or brown and white rice for brown rice will also really help.
I’ve also found that cutting down on my dairy intake has helped to make my insides feel a bit more happy. Coconut milk and almond milk are ruddy delicious substitutes for normal milk, and while I’m sure the normal stuff is all good in the hood for most people, if you feel a bit heavy after you’ve had dairy, as was the case with me, these are really ace options to look into.
I used to think that salad was the most boring meal choice on the planet. Why have salad when you can have a burger? But I’ve since learnt that there are so many ways to spice this most humble of food bases up. You can add pulses, grains, other vegetables, some protein, dressing and, provided you ensure everything is added in moderation and you keep an eye out for sugar-filled store-bought dressings, you’ll find yourself left with a healthy, but filling dish that tastes ace.
I have a horrid habit of just eating anything and everything that lies before me. Even when I am full to the brim of food, I’ve always been able to find room for whatever leftovers remain at the end of a meal. But once I realised that – and the fact that I was eating to a point where I was actually quite uncomfortable – it was quite an easy habit to break. Portion control sounds like such a scary thing, but actually, it’s just about eating until you are satisfied and then stopping. Easy peasy. If you really struggling, using an app like My Fitness Pal can really help – keeping track of your portions and writing them down really helped me to see exactly how I could best trim back my meal sizes.
If you still find yourself lacking in energy and feeling a bit run-down, it’s worth taking a look at your vitamin intake. The majority of people in the UK are lacking in Vitamin D – perhaps unsurprisingly – and a lot of people have lower-than-normal iron levels too, both of which can be bolstered by some basic vitamin supplements.
GET OFF YOUR BOOTY
As you may have guessed, I’m no gym bunny. I play my fair share of lacrosse, which I love, but I’ve also tried to use the warmer weather as an excuse to get out on my feet a bit more. Try leaving an extra ten minutes early next time you go out and make part of your journey into a walk, rather than a tube or bus or car ride. It’s a teeny tiny step, but those ten minutes of walking each day will really help to get your heart rate pumping, your blood flowing and your feet moving, all of which give you a whole heap more natural energy.
As you can see, I’m really no expert in the field – and I”m certainly not going to be winning any health awards any time soon – but these changes have really helped me to feel better about myself, both on the inside and out and I thought they might be worth sharing. I do think it’s really important to remember that this is more about making a positive change to my lifestyle in general, as opposed to going on a fad diet to dramatically drop weight. If I miss a day’s walk or indulge in a takeaway once in a while, I’m not going to beat myself up. I just get back on it the next day and maybe add some extra greens in to compensate for the unhealthy dinner the night before!
If you guys have any tips to add, leave a comment or tweet me so I can make sure I give ’em a read!