Putting #HerHealthFirst is important and how. You can change your life – and that of your family’s – by changing your mindset. Make these five healthy habits your own and you’ll see how.
Exercise as often as you can
We all step into a new year with lofty resolutions of hitting the gym every single day and losing X kilos by the time summer rolls around. Sadly, that never happens. Turn things around by making exercise a habit, one that you prioritise just like all your other work. It could be a gym session, a Zumba class or a yoga retreat, take the time out for yourself and see your body respond in a couple of months. Motivate your family to join you – the husband can be your workout buddy three days a week, your teenager can join you on your jog and the toddler can be part of a yoga session. You’re never too young to start exercising!
- Restock your pantry & refrigerator
The profusion of junk and processed foods in pantries goes only way: into your body. Making healthy choices is fine, but begin by dumping all the “bad” foods from your cupboards and cabinets. Stock the pantry with legumes, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta and other foods that make cooking up nutritious meals easy. Trash instant noodles, pizzas, sandwich spreads, chocolate syrups et al. In your fridge, make space for fruits, vegetables, lean meats, yogurt, tofu and cheese. Keep in mind that healthy is far from boring; the onus is on you to show your family this. So don that chef’s hat and get started.
Eat meals together
The pressures of modern living have made even mealtimes a stressful affair. Hardly any family manages to have their lunch together. So why don’t you ensure that dinner is a sit-down affair to be had with the family? Chuck all the distractions – TV, movies, laptops and smartphones. Easier said than done, but eating surely is a healthy habit to own. Research from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab has shown that we consume additional calories when distracted as we are less likely to notice the body’s signals that you’re full. Studies have also shown that speed eating makes you prone to weight gain.
Plan a family activity every weekend
Most of us crib that our children don’t get enough exercise but give it some thought. Do they really have any opportunity amidst school, homework, tuition and hobby classes? Show them the fun that physical activity can bring in its wake by planning a family “activity” every weekend. But no movies, malls or board games. How about a long walk together? A Zumba class? A hike, if you live in a mountainous region? A picnic in a forested area? Or a weekend football game and the cook-off with like-minded family and friends? Apart from increased bonding, you’ll also enjoy the benefits of better health.
Get your sleep
You may be burning the midnight oil in an effort to have it all” but that’s not the right approach. Too little shut-eye can affect your mental and physical health, and put you on the road to illness and ailments. Ample studies have found a link between insufficient sleep and health problems like heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity. Getting your recommended hours of sleep can improve brain function, control your weight, better your sex life and improve your mood. Be the change you want to see. Begin by bidding good night to all digital devices an hour before bedtime and choose to read in bed instead. Making it seem like an important part of your day will encourage your family – especially the children – to follow suit.
Ensure that the whole process of adopting a healthy lifestyle is fun – for you and the family. Don’t focus on fitness to the exclusion of family choices and always make the time for treats. Be healthy, be happy!