Aisling here and today I’m talking about something a little different than usual. We all know that in today’s society people are gradually becoming more and more health conscious and embarking on life changing journeys to improve their health and lifestyles. But that isn’t to say that these journeys don’t require a lot of hard work and determination, time and commitment.
I myself, as you all know by now, am taking part in an online fitness programme at the moment and as I’ve been open about from the beginning, it hasn’t been easy. I do have my off days ( and weeks!) but something which I have learned is that you don’t need major changes in your diet and exercise routine to be healthier. For those of you out there who might be struggling with weight loss, being more active or any of you who feel ready to lead a more healthy lifestyle but may not feel ready to commit to any major diet plans or programmes, these tips are for you!
These are little things I try to do every day regardless of how I’m feeling and I do feel like they go a long way.
1. Take the stairs, not the lift. Walk the short journey, don’t use the car.
This seems so silly, but I really have begun making a more conscious effort to try to be more active rather than depending on the car to make short trips, or taking the lift rather than the stairs when I’m out shopping or in work etc. This really is so simple to do and that short walk to work in the fresh air makes all the difference for me and sets me up for the day ahead.
2. Drink more water.
Again something so simple, but so important. Our bodies need water, and as you all know the recommended amount we should be drinking is 2 litres a day. Who reading this drinks that much on a daily basis? Because I know that I certainly didn’t until I decided it was something I wanted to improve on. Water really doesn’t get enough credit seeing as it contributes towards weight loss, flushes out toxins from your body’s and helps you maintain healthy hydrated skin, amongst many other things! Pop a bit of lemon in there and it’s easier to drink with some added vitamin c.
3. Feeling hungry? Do the apple test.
Anybody else like to eat when they’re bored, feeling down or emotional? Yup, me too! What I’ve started doing recently sounds so stupid but really has made me realise how much food I used to unnecessarily eat. Whenever that mood strikes me and carries me to the treat press in the kitchen, I try to stop and look at the fruit bowl before I grab that chocolate bar or packet of crisps.
Would I eat that juicy red apple staring back at me? No, because I’m not actually hungry. Believe me I know this is easier said than done but it really has worked for me. If you wouldn’t eat that apple or whatever other nutritious food that might be lying around over choosing the bag of crisps, 9 times out of 10 your just eating out of boredom and not necessity.
4. Don’t skip breakfast.
I really can’t stress how important this is. I spoke a little about this on our Snapchat recently (UN: shapesndshadows), not eating breakfast in the morning is really a recipe for disaster. Do you remember in primary school when your teacher used to tell you it was the most important meal of the day, or when your mother tried to force feed you soggy rice crispies before school? Yeah me too, and now I know they weren’t lying.
Skipping breakfast can cause low blood sugar levels causing you to become weak and dizzy, can worsen hangovers and cause headaches and nausea, not to mention its effect on your metabolism and heightened risk of heart disease. Whether it’s just a piece of fruit or a bowl of cereal, make sure you don’t skip it!!
5. Take some time out for you.
This one isn’t related to your physical health or exercise, instead it focuses on your mental health. Which really, should have been put at number 1. Our minds really are our most important tools, and if we don’t look after them how are we supposed to look after the rest of our body? Try to make sure to take some time out for yourself every day, whether it’s 15 minutes in the morning for a cup of coffee and reading a chapter of a book, a bath in the evening or a morning walk.
Our lives can be so busy from working full-time, caring for children or studying in school or college but believe me after a period of time where I ignored looking after my mind I realise how important those few minutes just for me really are. Feed your mind and it will be your best friend when it comes to leading a healthier life.
6. Try to fit in some physical exercise into your daily routine.
When you think about it, those of us that are well and able to take part in physical exercise are really, really lucky to be able to do so and look after our bodies unlike people who may be less fortunate and cannot. So when you look at it like that, why wouldn’t you take care of your body? It doesn’t have to be about losing weight, but doing 30 minutes of exercise every day can contribute to strengthening your muscles, improving mobility and coordination, decreasing stress and boosting your immune system.
Again, life is very busy and it’s not always possible, but whether or a gym goer or not it doesn’t have to be difficult to fit some exercise into your day, whether it’s a fitness class at your local gym, a short walk or a swim, never underestimate its ability to improve your overall health and your mood.
7. Set yourself small, achievable goals.
Whether or not you’d like to lose some weight, get a new job, further your education or simply lead a better life day-to-day, setting yourself goals to work towards can be so beneficial. Lately one thing I’ve tried to do is achieve something new every week, whether it’s big or small, and it’s really helped me focus and given me a reason to stay motivated.
It can be hard to focus on the bigger picture sometimes and you can feel like you’re getting nowhere, exactly why I find setting small goals your best bet. Then when you look back in a few months time you can see how all those small achievements really added up to become something more.
8. Reward yourself for your hard work.
Rewarding myself for achieving my goals as become so important in my journey to becoming a better version of myself. It might sound a little cringe worthy, but I do believe you need some reward to look forward to in order to stay on track. Whether it’s a cheat meal at the end of a week where you’ve stayed in track diet wise, some new makeup or a day out, make sure you pat yourself on the back for whatever it is you achieve.
9. Don’t be too hard on yourself, or compare yourself to others.
This one is so important. So what if you ate the whole bag of share crisps or that gigantic chocolate bar for your lunch instead of the salad you had in the fridge? Everything in moderation I say. I’ve spent so long beating myself up over falling off track and lately I’m trying my hardest not to. All you can try to be is better than you were yesterday, and try to work towards becoming the best version of you. Don’t compare yourself to people you see on the front of magazines, or your friend down the road who’s doing slimming world aswell and has lost more than you did this week.
Everybody is different and you will get where you want to be eventually with determination, don’t beat yourself up for not doing it as fast as others or get down when you fall off track cos you’ll only end up stuck in a rut.
10. Live your life.
I think one of my worst fears is looking back and having regrets. We can get so caught up in things sometimes that we forget to live in the moment. Although I’m trying to be healthier and happier, I’ve learned not to let it take over and I still make sure to enjoy things like nights out with the girls and weekends where I don’t think about counting macros or going to the gym, instead I just focus on living in the moment and enjoying good food and drinks without beating myself up over it.
So there you have it ladies, 10 things I always try to remember and have found really helpful in tying to be healthier and happier in myself. Of course I’m not saying they will work miracles nor will everyday be easy but there are conscious little decisions you can make that do make a big difference.
Hope you enjoyed reading this, let me know your thoughts as always.
Until next time,