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23 simple rules for a healthy lifestyle in 2023
TRINNNNNG. Buy an old-fashioned alarm so you don’t reach for your phone first thing in the morning.
Read for 15 minutes in the morning when your mind is not cluttered with information.
Go for a walk for at least 15 minutes upon waking up. Walking in the fasted state will burn fat and get your metabolism up and running first thing in the morning.
Tune into your body. Understand your hunger cues. So you can eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel almost full.
Eat home-cooked meals 80% of the time. It's ok to eat for your cravings and emotional needs and eat your favourite comfort foods 20% of the time. That way you won’t binge eat the treats or comfort foods when you lay your hands on them.
Stock up on good quality fresh produce and nutrient-rich groceries. This means whatever you cook with them will have nutritious building blocks and they will be good for you.
Meal prep a few healthy ingredients to speed up everyday cooking times. For example, peeling pomegranates, cooking 1-2 kinds of beans, 1-2 whole grains, washing and drying green leafy veg and a few condiments/sauces/chutneys will reduce your time in the kitchen when you put together these meals at home.
Chalk out a rough weekly menu plan. It helps ensure that your meals are a good balance of complex carbs, proteins and fats, and using a variety of seasonal produce.
Balancing your plate is more sustainable than counting calories and logging all the foods eaten every day. Eating should not become a chore.
Eat s l o w l y. Chew every mouthful until it is liquidised. You don’t have to count to 32 or 42, just let this process happen mindfully. It will automatically slow down the eating process. Research has shown that fast eaters are twice as likely to gain excess weight and slow eaters have a lower level of the hunger hormone ghrelin and higher levels of fullness hormones.
Eat the healthiest foods on your plate first so you will be up with high-quality calories at the start.
Make room for treats as a part of your diet. Abstaining from foods that give you joy will lead to unhealthy cravings and binging. Sit down and enjoy the treat giving it your full attention to experience the maximum joy of it.
Keep a check on added sugars, salt and processed foods made using refined oils.
Eat socially whenever possible – eat with family, friends or co-workers instead of eating by yourself. Research has shown that those who eat socially are happier and more satisfied with life. They are more trusting of others, engaged with their local communities and have a network of people they can rely on for support.
Tackle mindless snacking. We always do this for reasons other than hunger, such as boredom, loneliness, stress, anger etc. Tune in to the root cause and address it with non-food tools. Food should not be your only coping mechanism.
Exercise or movement need not be restricted to running or the gym. Choose whatever makes you happy such as games, dance, yoga, walking your pets etc.
Be out in the sun for at least 15-20 minutes every day for vitamin D and to regulate circadian rhythms. Solar recharge yourself.
Practise a hobby. Check out my book This Handmade Life, your perfect guide to getting into a hobby.
Journal, whenever you can, to externalise any feelings of hurt, anger, confusion, or anxiety. You can learn about journaling from a coach or YouTube, or even find several journaling prompts from Pinterest.
Build strict boundaries at work to not spill over regularly into your own time, thereby upsetting your work-life balance.
Make time for family and friends. You are replaceable in your workplace, but your family and true friends will always be there for you.
Practise good winding down routines to enjoy good quality sleep every night. A warm shower, no gadgets at least an hour before bedtime, dimmer lights, softer sounds, and possibly a relaxing slow-paced walk once it is dark, all of these help produce sleep hormone (melatonin) secretion in the brain leading to a smooth transition between wakefulness and sleep.
Give back to the community. Research in the field of neuroscience and psychology has proven that helping others makes you happy. Engaging in community help or volunteering not only develops values of empathy and kindness in us but also releases the feel-good hormone endorphin. This phenomenon is called a helper’s high.
May 2023 be the best year for you and your loved ones, full of happiness, good health, prosperity and fulfilment. Lots of love, Nandita.
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