How To Jump Start Your Health

Who struggles to stay healthy in winter?

I don’t know about you but in the colder months, all my healthy habits start to slip a bit. And it just seems to take that little bit more effort to keep them going.

Who has a habit of exercising less and eating more in winter? Or maybe you might eat the same amount but its more comfort food and less healthy than it is in the warmer months. And don’t even get me started on having to leave the nice warm house to go and exercise. It is just not fun.

But we are going to break all these bad habits this year and jump-start your health. So without further to do here are my ways to jump-start your health this winter!

1. Ditch the diet

Let be honest for a second, if diets actually worked, we wouldn't have obesity epidemics. Ditch the false beliefs in quick fixes and instead focus on gradual, long-term lifestyle improvements.

2. Embrace plants

Make the shift towards eating more foods of plant origin. Avoid foods that come from animals.

3. Add, add, add

When making a shift to eating more plant-based foods, think of foods and ingredients you are adding as options to your overall intake. Don't focus on what you are taking away.

4. 80/20 or 90/10

We want a balance between good and good for you. So give your self permission to eat well 90% of the time and eat treat foods 10% of the time. This allows for a healthy mindset and sustainable practice.

5. Eat-in company

When possible, eat in the company of others and not alone. However, if you do eat alone avoid distractions such as TV and your phone.

6. Stay hydrated

Carry a drink bottle with you at all time and continually sip throughout the day. Flavour your water with fruit, teas or enjoy soups. And enjoy fresh fruit as snacks or as after-meal desserts to increase your fluid intake.

7. Increase fibre

Luckily, by increasing plant-based foods you are already boosting your fibre. Fibre is found in vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, lentils, seeds and nuts. Make sure you drink enough water so the fibre can help to keep you regular.

8. Whole Foods

When possible, limit eating foods that are bagged, boxed, or canned. There are exceptions to this, including bagged/boxed/canned items that contain the whole-food ingredient only, such as bagged frozen peas, boxed rolled oats, and canned beans. Ditch foods that include anything artificial, including artificial sweeteners, preservatives, fillers, colours, etc.

9. Oils/Fats

Limit added oils, such as coconut, sunflowers, olive and vegetable olives. However, don't be afraid of fat. Aim for whole food sources of fats over oils when possible. Such as olives, avocados, coconut meat and canned coconut milk, buts and nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter), seeds and seed butter.

10. Omega fats

Include ground flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and/or hemp seeds daily for your omega. If you do this you don't need Omega supplements.

11. Choose organic

Yes I know, purchasing all foods organic can get expensive. If possible, aim to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables (that you do not peel) organically as there are the most heavily affected by pesticide use.

12. Batch Prep

Meal prep one day per week. Batch cook grains for the week, chop vegetables, portion snacks, make a large enough meal to freeze extras for leftovers to enjoy later. Meal planning at least two meals in advance help with this.

13. Grocery list

Whilst this may seem trivial, keeping a grocery list on hand can make trips to the store less daunting. When you notice an ingredient running low, get in the habit of adding this to your list. Running low on fresh produce is often what leads us to reach for convenience foods instead. Stick to the grocery list when at the store, but allow for one or two impulse purchases.

14. Limit refined sugars

As mentioned above, we also want to limit refined foods when possible. Allow for it sometime, in keeping with the 80/20 or 90/10 guideline. Instead, sweeten with whole food ingredients such as dates, dried fruit and fresh fruit. Avoid artificial sweeteners entirely.

15. Befriend frozen

Frozen fruits, vegetables, and grains such as bread, ensure ingredients are on hand for quick meal preparation. Keep ripe, peeled, and frozen bananas in the freezer at all times to make smoothies, to add to oatmeal, or to clean into a sweet banana-sorbet dessert. Freeze ripe fruit that won't be eaten before it spoils. Store leftover soups in the freezer to enjoy later.

16. Sleep it off

Lack of sleep poorly affects decision making and alters your metabolism. Aim for no less than 6 hours of sleep a night, but ideally have 8 hours.

17. Sweat it out

It's not only about the food. Regular activity is key to mental health and helps with making better choices, starting with 5 minutes a day is better than no minutes a day. Sitting for most of the day? Sitting is the new smoking. Try to get up at least once every hour to get the blood circulating, even if for a moment. Grab some water, step outside for some fresh air, or simply stretch your arms and legs.

Follow the 17 ways to jump-start your health you will hopefully have a healthy winter.

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