Every other week there seems to be new diets, eating styles, complete programs, and severe lifestyle choices that it can be quite difficult to know what’s right for you. The simple answer is everyone is different; what works your friend, is probably different than what works for your parents and other people you know. How many times has your mum proudly put a lovely home cooked meal in front of you, and you just didn't have the heart to tell her you’d rather a simple salad because you overindulged over the weekend? Guilt free meals with family members sometimes just don’t happen despite our best intentions. There’s the whole weight issue; statistically Australians are getting larger – our lifestyle choices increasingly show that we are so time poor we just eat whatever we can, as quickly as we can, in between the "more important" things we need to do. Then, of course, there’s the stress factor; treating ourselves to rich foods and drink, after a long week of work, because we deserve it...
The internet has put the world at our fingertips and we are stretching our brains and minds constantly with new and amazing information. But constantly sitting in front of a computer has introduced us to a more sedentary lifestyle. Even if you are rushing around from office to office, what does that look like? From your desk to your car, drive to the next destination, get out of car, go inside a building and sit down. You’d be amazed at how little exercise you get even though you are rushing around and oh-so-busy! Of course there are other options and if we want to move in a healthier direction, then at some point we must make a pact with ourselves to head that way as soon as possible. Drastic measures need not be the answer and you want whatever changes you make to be sustainable and not too hard on you or your family. Here's a couple of simple and incremental things you can do, to help bring the winds of change.
— Move a little more. Ok, not as easy as that, otherwise you would’ve done it already. But, here’s the thing; you need to get real about this. It’s the absolute truth when you say you haven’t got time or you’re too tired, but make the time. Small steps, no gigantic ones otherwise you’ll never stick at it. Try getting up 30 minutes earlier and going for a walk, take the stairs not the elevator, park a little further away or take public transport. It might all seem cliche, but the more often you move, the more you'll want to.
— Swap into your diet low fat milk, whole grain bread, fresh fruit and vegetables - it may seem like a small change, but it will certainly help.
— Prepare your pantry; have a little snack cleanout. You may get some initial rumblings from family members but stick to your guns. Reach for some nuts or a cracker with hommus, instead of the cookies or chips.
— Try not to let boredom at night lead you to snacking. Have your main meal and a small healthy snack prior to bed. If you are after-dinner snacker, make this the first behavioural change you make towards healthier options. You will notice the difference!
— Keep healthy meals frozen meals on standby, for those "just can't be bothered" nights. Great when you don't have time or don't want to cook. Keep a supply of frozen veggies to steam or make a salad, or frozen berries to have with yoghurt.
So instead of planning a lifestyle overhaul, start first with some gradual changes and before you know it, you'll be feeling better already.