It’s a new year, and time for a new beginning. Or at least, it could be! Maybe this is why so many people make new year’s resolutions – because they want to make a fresh start, with healthier habits and more energy. But unfortunately, many new year’s resolutions don’t make it through the first month, let alone a whole year.
But don’t give up! There are a couple of simple tricks that can help you to make a new healthy beginning, and spend 2018 in balance. Because the keyword is BALANCE.
A healthy balance
Whether you want to control your weight, gain energy, avoid lifestyle-related diseases or simply feel better, a well-balanced diet is important. Make sure you get a little of “everything”, as this will help you to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. Eat smaller portions, but without starving yourself. And don’t be afraid to try new foods.
Another very important ingredient in a healthy lifestyle is physical activity. And again, balance is key! Too much activity or over-training will actually reduce your strength and can destroy your immune system or cause you to become stressed. Whereas too little activity can result in low energy, becoming overweight and even obese, loss of muscle mass, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and mental health problems – just to mention a few. So, as you can see, the golden path in the middle is what you should aim for.
8 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY BALANCE
1. Avoid junk food and processed foods
Junk food and processed foods often contain a lot of saturated fat and a lot of salt, which are both bad for your health. Look at the label before you buy the food.
If there are too many strange ingredients listed that you do not recognize, or simply if the list of ingredients is too long, then put the item back on the shelf and buy something else.
2. Eat less salt and sugar
Too much salt can result in hypertension. Too much sugar can damage your teeth and result in you becoming overweight.
Go for fresh spices and herbs instead. Use a little soya, anchovies, olives, capers, or maybe parmesan cheese to get the salty taste.
And try cutting back on sweets, cake and sodas. Once in a while is fine, but save it for special occasions instead of every day.
3. Choose whole grains
A lot of low carb diets tell you to avoid bread, pasta, rice, etc. But unless you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or another reason to cut back, you don’t want to miss out on the health benefits of whole grains.
Whole grains contain fibre, plant-based protein, minerals and vitamins that are all good for your health. So don’t be afraid of the carbs, but make smart choices and swop your normal plain pasta or white bread with a whole grain version.
4. Eat fruits and many vegetables
Fruits and vegetables will give you a lot of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and healthy unsaturated fatty acids. They taste great and often give you a satisfying fullness – but without a lot of calories.
So dig in!
5. Drink water, not alcohol
Have you ever thought about the fact that, while a lot of people find it very difficult to drink eight glasses of water a day, eight glasses of wine can be drunk during a good dinner?
Well, water is good for you! And definitely much better than wine. It can be said that simply. So make sure you drink enough water every day (for most adults, about 1.5–2 litres) and save the alcohol for special occasions instead.
6. Make time for physical activity
As mentioned before, it is important to find the time for physical activity. Spending energy gives you energy! But how much is enough? Well, it depends on what your goals are, and what your starting point is.
But a good amount for most people is 30–60 minutes of physical activity every day. Take your bicycle instead of the car, go for a walk in your lunch break, swim or go dancing with your friends. It all counts!
7. Get enough sleep
As you sleep, you grow stronger!
Your body releases hormones and compounds that help reduce the risk of health conditions, manage your hunger levels, maintain your immune system and retain your memory – to mention just a few things.
8. Remember the balance
This is actually the most important tip, because too much of a good thing can be bad for you, just as too little of it can. Don’t stress if you did not have time to exercise for 30 minutes every day this week. Maybe it will be better next week, and the three days on which you did work out are better than none at all.
And so what if you ate a big piece of pie at work? As long as it tasted wonderful and you enjoyed it – and you don’t do it ten times a day.