Instead of rewarding yourself with food (after all, you are not a dog!), why not come up with alternative reward ideas that benefit you at the same time? Think of things that would be treats to you and that would also be a way of looking after yourself: anything from painting your nails, going out for a walk, calling a friend, taking a bubble bath with candles, or - my personal favourite - getting to read a good book.
This way you are less likely to reach for the chocolate/sweets/crisps/alcohol - or just anything that is going to give you unnecessary calories or sugar or salt or whatever - every time you want to celebrate some form of personal success.
It’s just a simple little way you can treat yourself, while also taking care of your health!
If you’re like me and have recently fallen siege to colds and flu, then one thing that can help you recover faster is to drink twice as much water as you would usually, and drink it hot - hot squash/cordial, herbal teas, etc.
The way I do it is once I’ve finished a hot drink I’ll immediately put the kettle on again, make another hot drink, and repeat the process. I do this pretty much all day, every day, until I’m better.
And how does this help? Very simply, drinking hot fluids will help “flush out” the infection from your body, thus aiding the recovery process and getting you back on your toes quicker!
If I can’t make it to the gym for whatever reason then I make sure I do a workout at home. For cardio I can go for a run (I am very blessed to live by the sea and find it very inspiring to run along the seafront) or I can follow parts of a workout DVD, and for resistance training I can use the weights I have at home (dumbbells ranging from 1-4.5kg) to do various exercises.
Now the gym is always better because they have a better range of equipment and weights - but this is almost as good and a million times better than not doing anything at all!
It is well worth investing in some weights to have at home if you don’t have any. Cardio is great but you need to work those muscles and bones of yours! More on the importance of resistance/weight training in another post.
"Fad diets can change your weight. Working out can change your body."
#2 Go to the gym at least twice a week (aiming for 3x)
Why: Exercise is vital to keeping good health and a healthy figure, and the gym is the best and most motivating place for me to get an effective, varied workout (cardio, weights/resistance training, stretching, etc).
How: I’ve been a fairly regular gym go-er since last summer (averaging twice a week), so this is a realistic goal for me, as long as I schedule it in ahead of time. Going with my husband also helps motivate me - and reminding myself how good I feel afterwards, even though my body usually hates doing it for the first 20 minutes!
#1 Drink at least 2 litres of water a day
Why: Lest we forget, ”Without water, energy can’t get from your food to your muscles and brain, waste can’t get cleansed, kidneys can’t function, and the immune system can’t circulate.” (Joyce Meyer, 'Look Great, Feel Great')
How: By filling up a 2ltr bottle each morning with filtered water and finishing it by the end of the day.
Those of us with busy lives can sign up here for a set of free “4x4” workouts by fitness expert & personal trainer, JJ Virgin. They take just 15 minutes to do (so no excuses about not having time!), you can easily do them at home, and they will work you hard! Remember, it’s not so much about how long you exercise but about how intense the exercise is. Enjoy!
Water: the combination of hydrogen and oxygen that keeps us alive. All of our cells and organs need it to function, it flushes out toxins from our body, it helps our digestive system to run smoothly, it keeps our skin glowing, it helps us to maintain a healthy weight, and more.
And yet somehow we go through days drinking less water, and more of the caffeine/sugar-laden drinks, than we know is good for us. But there are some practical ways to help us ensure we keep ourselves well hydrated. Here are a few that I’ve found helpful:
- Fill up a 1.5ltr or 2ltr bottle (minimum) with water in the morning and ensure you finish it by the evening. This is my favourite technique as it’s a great way to keep track of how much I’ve drunk and how much I still have to go.
- If you are going by number of glasses, see if you can drink 3 before lunch, 3 after lunch, and 2 in the evening.
- Eat more fresh fruit & vegetables - they contain a lot of water, as well as providing various wonderful nutrients for your body.
- Remember that herbal/decaf teas, juices and cordials all contribute to your water intake. A moderate amount of caffeinated tea and coffee can also count, but too much caffeine can dehydrate you.
It is well know that both peppermint and ginger are great for the digestive system, and they’re very convenient in herbal tea form (not to mention that they add to your daily water intake and will keep you nice and warm in this cold, dreary weather).
I’ve recently been drinking Sainsburys Taste The Difference “Oregon Peppermint Infusion” and “Sicilian Lemon, Ginger & Honey Infusion” teas. You can smell their flavours before you even open the box - a sign of a good herbal tea in my opinion.
Green tea is well-known for its health properties, and for serving as a more potent antioxidant than black tea, but it is often hard to drink because of its rather unappealing taste.
That’s why I so appreciate fruit- or herbal-flavoured green teas. It makes the taste more bearable! My favourite at the moment is Twinings Mango Green Tea - by far the best flavour I have tried so far. It actually tastes nice!
I usually have a cup every day at work, as I don’t drink normal tea or coffee (at least, not very often). Unfortunately, its only a limited summer edition flavour, so I’ll have to try out for my new favourite flavour when it leaves the shelves.