1. Before you jump, breathe. Just before getting out of bed in the morning stop, wait and take three long deep diaphragmatic breaths. Tell yourself it’s going to be a good day. Then begin your day. Deep breathing and getting up more slowly gives you perspective and calm. If you can get up a little earlier in the morning do so, ease yourself into your day with a workout or yoga session. If that’s too optimistic at least allow yourself time to wake up. Take time to eat breakfast, read the papers or even better a couple of pages of your book. Why not!?
2. Have breakfast every day. Even if it means making it the night before – overnight oats for example. It is really important to fuel your body and break the fast. This will set you up for the day.
3. Start the day with warm water and lemon. This kickstarts the metabolism and helps detox the body.
4. Plan your meals and your training sessions week at a time as this gives you the best chance of having a great week. Factor in busy days, family commitments, nights out etc. and work around these to make your healthy life work for you.
5. Kick processed foods to the curb if not completely then as much as you can. Be mindful of the choices you make and know that processed, packaged foods are usually lacking in important vitamins and are full of sugar, salt and a lot of the toxic chemicals that you just don’t want or need in your body.
6. Ginger is genius; it helps accelerate your metabolism, is an anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce the anti-stress hormone cortisol that can cause belly fat and weight gain. Juice it with an apple in the mornings for a fantastic juicespresso or grate some into your stir fry this evening.
7. Choose fresh foods. Think fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, chicken, eggs and fish. Processing can lead to all sorts of toxic additions so just be aware.
8. Avoid sugar. Snack on fresh fruit and nuts throughout the day. These will give you the sugar boost you need minus the crash and imminent guilts.
9. Limit alcohol. You don’t have to give up altogether, but the fact is alcohol isn’t great for the body or the mind. Obviously a few drinks is fine but binge drinking and hangovers make us all feel horrific so limit where possible and I promise Mondays will be easier.
10. Take a break. Be sure to take time during your day to decompress and do nothing. Take your lunch or if you are really too busy, a break will do. We all need time to clear our minds, take a breather and refocus. You’ll be more productive if you take five.
11. Be a sleeping beauty, get your zzz’s. This is incredibly important with regards to fitness and nutrition. If you are tired it’s easy to skip a workout or if you make it you’ll be less inclined to give it socks. The hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin have a field day when you are tired; these are the reasons we crave sugar and make awful food decisions when we are tired. If you are fresh and rested you are set up to make healthy choices and feel great about them.
12. Put your feet up. Exercise is a really important part of being healthy but it’s important to rest and allow the muscles to repair and tone also. Give yourself permission to put your feet up. I recommend having at least one full rest day from exercise.
13. Practice yoga every damn day or as much as you can. Even once a week will open your heart to this amazing practice – I think everyone needs a bit of it in their lives. It helps to calm the mind and feed the body with the oxygen we often deprive it of while working the muscles in a gentle yet intense way. We don’t always know why but yoga really makes you float on air. Connecting body and breath is a really powerful thing and something we just don’t do enough of.
14. Be kind to yourself. Praise yourself– yes go on, I know it can be cringey but all too often we berate ourselves and feel bad for things we should’ve done. Instead find positive affirmations daily and tell yourself YOU ARE ENOUGH. We are all works in progress and some days are simply better than others. A mantra that always helps me is “This too shall pass”. Everything changes so make the most of the good times and know that the bad times will pass.
15. Life is too short not to eat cake. I mean it; enjoy the yummy things in life. Wine, cheese and chocolate are my GUILTLESS pleasures. These foods were put on earth to be enjoyed, not abused or to feel guilty over. So from time to time indulge and feel great; it’s all about balance.