Revisiting your new year resolutions

Revisiting your new year resolutions

Actively leading a healthier lifestyle around a busy work and home life all starts with the first and most important meal of the day – breakfast. 

When you opt to skip breakfast, whether this is due to: time constraints; an enabler to spend a while longer in bed; or simply due to a lack of hunger – this decision sets your body on an erratic course for the rest of the day. Skipping breakfast causes your blood sugar levels to drop, while the levels of adrenaline are increased, which have you craving unhealthy snacks and caffeine to keep you going until lunchtime. 

Slow-release energy foods, which help to keep your blood sugar steady and keep your energy levels constant, can be found in several carbohydrate and protein sources. These include porridge, muesli, smoothies or boiled or poached eggs with a slice of wholemeal toast. Naturopath, Lisa Campana also recommends trying spinach or kale with eggs, or opting for oily fish, such as salmon or smoked mackerel for a healthy start to the day. Using yoghurt, nuts and seeds in porridge and smoothies will also provide additional essential nutrients.

Caffeine consumption

Try starting your day with a mug of hot water and a slice of lemon as this helps to flush out toxins in your body, boosts metabolism and also speeds up your digestive system to put your body on the right wellbeing track from the moment you wake up. If you rely on caffeine a little too heavily to get you through the day, Lisa recommends introducing herbal teas alongside the caffeine, which can also provide a pick-me-up when required, and can also help to refresh and calm you when you need it. 

Lisa explained, “As caffeine is a stimulant, it only has limited effects and over time your body also becomes more tolerant to the caffeine so you may find yourself drinking more to experience the same effects. Under no circumstances should you cut out caffeine altogether as this can lead to painful headaches as a result of the withdrawal. 

“Herbal teas such as green tea are a healthy alternative full of antioxidant flavonoids to help ward off winter colds and also eliminate the problem of teeth staining which you experience with black tea and coffee. White tea additionally offers a small caffeine hit and is more of a healthy option, while peppermint tea is refreshing and cooling, helping to calm and minimise stress. Peppermint tea is also excellent for drinking after meals and helps to ease bloating.” 

If you are having any problems sleeping, sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan also recommends you should avoid drinking caffeine altogether after 2pm while problems persist. 

Lunch and snacking

Healthy lunch suggestions which provide protein to keep your blood sugar levels and energy ticking along nicely can include tasty options, such as oatcakes with houmous or tinned salmon. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein and can be used as a rice and added to salads, mixed with roasted vegetables or used as a side alongside a fish or meat dish. Try miso soup for a quick and easy protein lunch option, and if you prefer a sandwich for lunch, try alternatives, such as wholegrain breads and tortilla wraps, which both still offer the slow-release energy source.

Keep fruit on hand for a healthy snack. Easy to eat fruits, such as satsumas and apples, are great to have on standby when you feel a little peckish. Dried fruits are also good choices to keep in office drawers, cars and handbags for whenever a snack attack hits you. Lisa recommends eating fresh fruit whenever possible and teaming this with nuts and seeds for a healthy boost, morning or afternoon.

Exercising

Incorporating exercise into a busy lifestyle is much easier than it sounds. Activity does not have to take up too much of your time and can be easily introduced to even the busiest of lifestyles. 

Exercise releases feel-good endorphins throughout your mind and body which help to increase your sense of wellbeing. Experts recommend 30 minutes per day of exercise for optimum health. This can be broken up into 10-minute bursts throughout the day such as walking to and from work, parking the car a little further away or getting off the bus or tube a stop or two earlier for an additional leg stretch and a short walk. Get outside at lunchtime and go for a brisk walk. The fresh air will not only help to perk you up, but will also increase concentration when you return to work. 

Research from the British Heart Foundation found that over half of us spend most of our working day immobile and are prone to eating lunch at our desks. 

 Making just a few subtle changes to your daily regime can quickly help you achieve your quota of daily activity, while also making your busy lifestyle a healthier one. 

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Christie and Co