Classifieds powered by Gulf News

30 days to a healthier you

Incorporate these simple practices into your daily routine, and enhance your wellbeing, says Andrea Anastasiou

Woman with apple
Image Credit: Getty Images
Research shows that eating fruit and vegetables of different colours gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients.
Aquarius

Day 1. Cut out bad fats. Reduce your intake of omega-6 fats, which, in excess, are known to be the underlying cause of obesity, and replace them with monounsaturated fats. This means getting rid of vegetable oils, such as corn and sunflower, and replacing them with olive oil and almond oil. 

Day 2. Eat a high-protein breakfast. Personal trainer Tony Paradis says high-protein foods fill you up, preserve your lean muscle tissue, and add fewer net calories to your diet, when compared to fats and carbohydrates. Start off your day with a high-protein food such as milk, eggs, Greek yoghurt, lean meat, cottage cheese, or a protein shake. These items will also help to give you a steady supply of food energy throughout the morning. 

Day 3. Exercise while brushing. Try to exercise whilst performing daily tasks. For example, while brushing your teeth, perform three sets of 12 lunges. 

Day 4. Scrub up. Before you shower, dry loofah your skin by moving the loofah in upward motions towards your heart. Naturopathic physician Heather Manley says that this helps increase lymphatic system movement, optimises your immune system, and keeps your skin super soft. 

Day 5. Learn to say no. If you spend most of your life trying to please everyone around you, you may find yourself overworked and stressed out. Today, say no to anything you feel you cannot take on. 

Day 6. Stand while you work. We burn three times more calories whilst standing, so today aim to do routine tasks, such as making a conference call or heading a meeting, while standing. 

Day 7. Focus on your sleep. Amy Korn-Reavis, sleep coach and author of www.bettersleepcoach.com, says you should follow the same bedtime routine every night, which includes going to bed at a set time. So tonight, put a small routine in place. For example, read for ten minutes, brush your teeth, wash your face, and then go to bed. She advises you avoid TV, the computer and your mobile phone, as they stimulate your brain, making it difficult to sleep. 

Day 8. Learn how to sit properly. Long commutes to work and endless days spent at our desks can lead to poor posture, as well as aches and pains. Take a moment to notice if you are hunched over your desk, and make a conscious effort to correct yourself if you're not sitting or standing tall. Remember to keep your spine as straight as possible.

Day 9. Introduce a healthy water habit. Drink two glasses of water first thing in the morning and try to avoid eating breakfast for 15-20 minutes after. Nutritionist and personal trainer Mike Tubbs says that drinking water in the morning helps you replenish the fluids lost through sweating whilst you were sleeping. Being hydrated will boost your metabolism, give you more energy, and can help curb food cravings. It also helps to detox and cleanse the system. 

Day 10. Erase negativity. Sally Marks, co-author of Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within (CreateSpace), says that to erase negativity, first you should become aware of your negative thoughts, speech and actions. Secondly, you should erase and replace these with positive alternatives. For example, instead of saying, "I'm too fat," say, "I love it when I make healthy food choices."

Day 11. Go barefoot. Get grounded by going barefoot on your lawn or on the beach for at least 15 minutes. Dr Ann Louise Gittleman, New York Times best-selling author of more than 30 books on wellness and nutrition, says this helps you discharge negative energy, and enhances your sense of wellbeing. 

Day 12. Be thankful. Perform gratitude checks in the morning and at night. When you first wake up, ask yourself what you are grateful about for the day ahead, like the fact you have a great job to go to. Then do the same in the evening, but for general things, such as the fact you have a healthy family. Therapist Diane Lang says that this helps her clients achieve better happiness levels. 

Day 13. Pay it forward. Perform a random act of kindness, such as donating books to your local charity, or baking a cake for everyone in your office. Therapist Diane Lang says altruism helps us feel happier and more fulfilled. 

Day 14. Love your body. Write down a part of your body that you like on a sticky note, put it on your bathroom mirror, and repeat it to yourself throughout the day. According to Stephanie Mansour, author of e-book 30 Days to Love Your Body and Your Life (www.stepitupwithsteph.com), this will help boost your confidence. 

Day 15. Extend your lifespan. Learn your true biological age and set a goal to lower it. Visit www.sistersupport.com/health/age.php

Day 16. Start a food journal. Studies have shown that those who keep a food journal lose twice as much weight as those who don't. Keeping a food journal will allow you to quickly identify bad eating habits. Sign up to www.mynetdiary.com

Day 17. Floss your teeth. According to Michael Roizen, author of Real Age: Are You as Young as You Can Be? (Collins), flossing every day can help add approximately six years to your life. He lists this along with exercise and quitting smoking as the most important daily activities for extending your life span.

Day 18. Protect your skin. During the summer, the rays of the sun are extremely harsh. It is therefore crucially important you protect your skin for these months. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends you always wear sunscreen with SPF15 or higher, don a hat with a brim, and avoid sun exposure between 10am and 3pm. 

Day 19. Practise diaphragmic breathing. Most of us have acquired the habit of breathing shallowly, using only the upper part of our lungs. According to wellness expert, Dawn Hamilton, this leads to an overall lowering of vitality, and keeps us disconnected from our bodies, which in turn leads to muscle tension. To practise diaphragmic breathing, sit on a chair, place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly (just under your diaphragm). Breathe through your nose for a slow count of four and make sure your belly expands. Continue breathing in so that your chest area also expands, then exhale for a count of four, first from your chest and then from your belly. Ideally you should do this twice a day for five minutes. 

Day 20. Eat protein. During lunch and dinner, make sure your plate contains a low-fat protein that is approximately the size of your palm. Dr Barry Sears, creator of the famous Zone diet, says the protein increases satiety so you are less likely to snack between meals. 

Day 21. Declutter your home. Clear out your wardrobe and donate the clothes you no longer wear to charity, and then tackle home appliances and children's toys. A tidy and clear home environment has been found to lower stress and help improve sleep patterns. 

Day 22. Meditate. Learn to meditate and set a goal to do this first thing in the morning for 15 minutes. According to Dr Kathleen Hartford, wellness practitioner, a person who meditates regularly can detach from negative thoughts more readily, and therefore has little or no reaction to them. Research has also found that meditation may help conditions such as anxiety disorders, cancer, depression, asthma, sleep problems and heart disease. For meditation resources visit www.how-to-meditate.org

Day 23. Change your exercise routine. If you are continuously repeating the same exercise routine - same machines, same weights, same pace - you may experience a plateau in results. According to Monique Hollowell, fitness expert and founder of Fit for LaFemme, there are two simple ways to instantly increase the effectiveness of your exercise routine. Firstly, increase your pace. Secondly, increase the intensity. By constantly varying these, you will keep your muscles guessing and adapting. 

Day 24. Track your medical history. Take a full medical history from both sides of your family - including siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. Record all medical conditions and age at time of diagnosis, as well as age and cause of death of deceased family members. Many diseases, such as heart disease, obesity, cancer and asthma, have risk factors that can be reduced if you know about them early on. Talk to your GP if you are concerned by your findings. 

Day 25. Treat yourself to dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants called flavonoids, which act as antioxidants; these protect the body from ageing caused by free radicals. Research has shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate a day can lead to plenty of health benefits, including the reduction of high blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. 

Day 26. Stretch in the shower. Take the time to stretch whilst having your morning shower. The hot water will help loosen up your muscles, whilst the stretching will help you release stored tension. 

Day 27. Eat properly. Eat sitting down without your computer, phone, or TV in front of you. Taking the time to slow down and eat without distractions helps with portion control, gives you time to de-stress and enjoy your meal, and may improve digestion, according to health coach, Paige Lysaght. 

Day 28. Replace grains and starches with non-starchy vegetables. Eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables, such as baby corn, cucumber, broccoli and carrots, will help you lower the glycemic load of your diet. 

Day 29. Get tested for vitamin D deficiency. It is estimated that 50 per cent of the world's population is at risk from vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is crucial to our wellbeing, and symptoms of deficiency in women include bone pain and muscle aches, fatigue, depression, and even hair loss. In the long term, it has also been found that it may play a role in the development of colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer. Your GP can perform a simple blood test to see if you're deficient, and treatment includes supplementation in the form of an injection or tablets. 

Day 30. Colour up your shopping trolley. Research shows that eating fruit and vegetables of different colours gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients. For example, red fruit and vegetables are believed to help reduce certain types of cancer, whilst oranges and yellows reduce the risk of heart disease and boost the immune system. Today, aim to fill your shopping trolley with at least four different colours of fruit and vegetables.

Loading...