Confession time: I am a health and wellness professional, but I have definitely over-indulged this summer, and I have absolutely no regrets… Sundowners with friends on the beach, rich indulgent food and delicious desserts with loved ones, sharing pizza with the kids after a fun day out; these are the memories which we remember for good.
However lovely this is, it is not realistic or sustainable for too long: Wellness has to be a priority and now that the kids are back at school, it’s time to for me to get back into a healthy routine. Whilst our taste buds may have become accustomed to a sugary diet and our stomachs get used to eating more than usual, it’s simple to get your wellness back on track, and there’s no need for crash diets, detoxes or endless hours feeling miserable while working out.
If you’re feeling sluggish, bloated, or have noticed that your jeans feel tighter that they used to, here’s the five wellness rules that I am going to be incorporating into my days to get back into a healthy and balanced routine:
GET HONEST & GO SLOW
Before you start a health kick, you need to get brutally honest of about your eating habits and it can be an idea to keep a food and lifestyle diary for a few days and write everything down. This should include food and drink plus exercise and jot down any unhealthy habits that have crept in. Then you can examine the list and work out what you would like to change. Make a commitment to change one thing a week – starting with the easiest first. For example, you’d be surprised how much of a difference a simple tweak like not drinking wine on weekday nights makes, with rosé being packed with sugar and coming in at a whopping 600 calories per bottle! It’s best not to try to change everything all in one go as this sets an unrealistic goal which is more likely to fail. A seemingly small change can make a huge difference; one of my clients stopped drinking wine on school nights and switched to fizzy water and lost 9lbs in a month.
MAKE HEALTHY SWAPS
You may have noticed from your food and lifestyle list that you were eating more snacks, desserts or richer/larger meals and maybe drinking a little more wine than you’d like. If so, the next thing to do is to swap out the unhealthy habits with healthier alternatives, the idea here is to fill yourself up with so much goodness that there is no room for naughtiness. Whenever you take out anything from the diet make sure you replace it with something otherwise your body gets confused and this is when cravings can be heightened.
Examples could be:
Swap your afternoon cup of tea for a green tea (this also helps to get rid of biscuits/cookies which don’t go well with green tea!).
Swap a glass of wine for kombucha (drink it in a wine glass).
Eat a small savoury starter so you are too full for dessert.
Swap cakes and biscuits for homemade or shop bought energy balls (made with dates and nuts) or rice cakes with mashed banana and cinnamon.
GET INTO A ROUTINE
Creating a healthy morning routine will set you up for the day ahead and is more likely to keep you focused and motivated to make healthier choices as the day progresses. I try not to look at my phone as soon as I wake up as I am on it enough as the day goes on. Reading a late-night email from your boss first thing in the morning, before you have even gathered your thoughts, can flip even the calmest person into a bad mood that ends up denting productivity throughout the day.
My routine looks like this:
6:00 Wake up, scrape my tongue (sounds weird but a great practice for detoxing and I have done it for years now), hot shower finished with cold rinse which really helps to wake me up and energise my body.
7:00 Warm water with lemon while I make breakfast.
7:30 Eat a balanced and healthy breakfast (my favourite meal of the day!)
8:00 The school run.
8:30/9:00 Exercise of some sort.
10:00 After a shower I am ready to start my work day.
Find a routine that works for you that includes nourishing yourself in whatever ways feel good for you.
PLAN YOUR MEALS
Planning your meals is key to getting back on track as if you know what you are eating and when you are eating you will be less tempted to snack or make an unhealthy choice. You could use a meal planner to note down your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week from this write your shopping list and make sure you schedule in a time to go to the supermarket.
Then spend some time to batch cook or prepare a few things in advance – Sunday evening is the perfect time for this. Remember you can also make larger batches to freeze. My motto is “cook once eat twice”. Whenever you are preparing a meal make extra and save the leftovers for lunch the next day (this is perfect if you are working and want to take a healthy lunch to work).
MOVE YOUR BODY
The summer holidays might mean that you have not been as active as usual and as much as you may be focusing on your food choices at the moment, don’t forget to schedule in time for movement. Exercise doesn’t have to mean putting your body through a gruelling hour of high intensity training if that doesn’t suit you, it can be as simple as enjoy a walk in nature so keep your emphasis on regular movement.