January is often a time of change. The New Year prompts us to make a new start – the turning of the calendar becoming an incentive to make some lifestyle changes. It might be something you’ve been meaning to do for a while or something you already do but want to do more of, or do better. Most of us certainly resolve to make some changes as January comes around.
Obviously, after the excesses of Christmas, most of these New Year changes are focused on health, wellbeing and fitness. Not surprisingly, two of the top ten resolutions are ‘eat less’, and ‘exercise more’.
While of course it is probably no bad thing to eat better and get fitter, it can be quite a daunting task to pick yourself up after the festivities and pile on the discipline rather than the pounds. Often we fail to stick to our newfound enthusiasm for salad or running, or whatever it might be, because we go at it too hard and find it hard to sustain.
For some, going ‘cold turkey’ is the only way they can do it, but for others that hard-core approach is overwhelming and feels unattainable. Instead, perhaps – it should be a gradual process with achievable goals?
We decided to interview six of our most trusted minds on health and wellbeing to see what small changes they would undertake this January – small changes that in actual fact could make a big difference. Read on to find out some tips.
My small change recommendation would be………
Getting a notebook and pen
A daily food and mood diary is an extremely useful tool to provide motivation and help IBS sufferers identify potential triggers. For at least a week note everything you eat and drink as well as timings, portion sizes, state of mind and how each meal makes you feel. Apps such as MyFitnessPal or the Symprove Support App are great for helping to record and review information on the move.
SARAH WEST, Nutritionist
Getting yourself moving
Always include some type of mobility training into your weekly routine, such as pilates, whether you’re an athlete or not, this will help your body function at its best.
EMILY YOUNG, blogger, triathlete and nutritionist in training
Getting used to fasting
One easy change (that can have a huge impact on health over time) is to always allow 12 hours minimum from your last meal/snack/drink of the day (excluding water or herbal teas) until you next eat or drink anything calorific. If you can extend that 12 hours to a little longer, up to 16 hours – all the better.
STEPHANIE MOORE, nutritionist and author, Grayshott Spa
Getting better at taking it slow
When the New Year comes around, we tend to put too much pressure on ourselves to make big transitions into leading a healthier lifestyle. My best advice is to take baby steps; it can be incredibly difficult to overhaul your lifestyle overnight, and this can make it even harder to maintain as you go through the year. I find that people gain better results by becoming more observant of their current daily habits, and that, by simply paying attention to our behaviours, whether this is to do with how we eat, exercise, or even our thinking patterns, then we can evaluate how to mould these habits into much healthier ones. My belief is that it is through the small step of increased mindfulness, that a huge change can be made to our future health.
LAUREN WINDAS, Symprove ambassador and nutritionist in training
Getting cosy with your plate
Treat your meal times as special moments that allow you to be present with your plate. Not chewing properly is one of the most common reasons that we can suffer with digestive symptoms. The simple act of chewing can be revolutionary for the gut. Aim for around 30 chews per bite so that food is liquid in the mouth before swallowing. When eating, avoid the multitude of distractions, enjoy your food and resonate with that feeling of satisfaction.
EVE KALINIK, Nutritional Therapist
Getting your gut fed
The gut is at the root of our health, good and bad. It’s taken some time, but we’ve finally caught up with Hippocrates who stated, “All disease begins in the gut”. Feeding the good bacteria in your gut and balancing your microbiome is one of the biggest game changers in your physical, mental and emotional health. Evidence-based research is making the gut one of the hottest topics in current scientific and medical journals. Clear links have been established between poor gut flora and things like irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, depression, anxiety, and eczema. It’s not glamorous, but the truth is that unhealthy gut flora equals an overgrowth of bad bacteria.
SARA JACKSON, Nutritional Therapist and naturopath