How to Kick Start Your Heath Kick



It's January guys and we are over the worst of winter and on the slow walk to summer. Some of you may have piled on a few pounds over the holidays like me (ho ho ho) or perhaps it's January and you have decided it's time to kick ye ol' bad habits. 

I'm with you. I am determined (despite already failing a dozen times in the space of the past two weeks) to clean up my diet. Here are some useful tips on kick-starting your health kick.

1. Get Rid of Temping Foods


Yes, all of them. They must go. I'm talking about the naughty junk foods that we keep in our house. Boxes of chocolates, packets of crisps, fizzy drinks. All the obvious culprits that are all too easy to snack on. These are the first things you have to give up. Sure, you might think, "hey this is obvious" but even if you know this stuff, you may not have realised it has crept into your diet and the practicalities of getting off junk foods are a lot harder than simply knowing it. 

For that reason, remove all junk food. - yes, including that bottle of Nutella. It's time to get serious. 

2. Regulate Your Blood Sugar Levels


Carbs and sugar are the culprits when it comes to making you crave food. What you want is a nice steady release of energy and meals that keep you full. Stay away from refined carbs like white rice, pasta and white bread as well as sugary foods, and move towards meals full of protein and vegetables. 

Sugary foods are probably the hardest to give up because they trap you into a cycle of sugar highs and lows. For that reason, you have to go on a sugar detox. I find going cold turkey the hardest and the easiest. It's torture for a few days but once you are off the sugar highs and lows you are set. Try not eating anything sugary or eating any refined carbs for three days. 

3. Keep it to Yourself


I find health kicks are most successful when you keep them to yourself. This way you get the satisfaction of doing something truly for yourself and you will be less tempted to sneak a wee chocolate or slack off at the gym because you are only cheating yourself.  This way if you aren't sticking to doing what you know you should be, you can question yourself and ask how motivated are you to lose this weight / look after your health/clean up your diet? Do it for you. 

4. Allow a Cheat Meal


It's not possible to NEVER eat anything unhealthy. I am a firm believer in the 80-20 rule. Allow yourself to have a less than perfectly healthy meal during the week. This way you won't feel deprived or like healthy habits are unsustainable. It's best to plan for this meal. I.e make sure you are eating something you really felt like eating or use it for a meal out. Don't make it a "slip up" meal, where it's unplanned and you just ate an unhealthy snack because it was "just there". You won't get the same satisfaction. 

5. Keep Substitutes 


After your cold turkey sugar detox, it's good to keep some substitutes handy, especially when it comes to needing a sugary snack. 

The best thing to do is, indulge in your favourite fruits. If you aren't someone who really enjoys fruits rights now, try it out. Once you are off artificially sweetened cakes and chocolates, you will begin to enjoy fruit a lot more. And you can experiment, find what you like. There is no need to only stick to apples and bananas. 

Other substitutes can be, homemade oat bars, honey and yoghurt, dates and figs. All in small quantities mind you! Natural sugars are still sugars and you shouldn't load up on them.

6. Experiment 


This is honestly the biggest mistake that people make. I discovered this myself when I had some weight to lose. Most of the time, we slip up on our health kick because we are stuck in our habits of the foods we buy and eat. We can't see past what else to make for lunch apart from a sandwich or a salad and we have our go-to recipes for dinner. 

If you want to have a sustainable healthier diet, you need to invest the time in experimenting and finding new recipes - foods and combinations you enjoy. IT WILL be an effort at first, you will have to google many Jamie Oliver recipes and figure out how to cut vegetables you didn't know about but it's also a lot of fun. You can be creative, try new foods and find healthy foods you ENJOY eating. 

Keep a notebook where you can note down new recipes and food combinations you enjoy. Once you have discovered what you like, you will have really made a change towards a sustainable diet and it won't be an effort to dream up healthy meals anymore. 
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