Here’s FIVE habits to identify and FIVE ways to improve.
It’s still early in the year, how are your plans for improving your health progressing? Are you on track or have you already slipped into poor habits without even being aware? Maybe you are constantly downing coffee to pep you up, or inhaling lunch at 10am because you have starved yourself in a bid to lose 5kg in five days, after exercising daily for a week. Right! It’s time to review these unhealthy habits and here are some suggestions on how you correct them.
It takes time to develop these poor habits, so; yes it will take time to re-wire these habits with healthy and beneficial habits. Are you expecting results, yet repeating the same habits you have been for the last year, or more? I’m sure you are aware of the definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.
With some commitment and consistency, you can do this. Here are five habits I come across regularly that you can improve once you become aware and acknowledge your current habits aren’t working.
The definition of insanity;
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
1. Start with Sleep
Are you getting enough sleep? You might not be, you know.
If you’re consistently waking through the night and constantly waking up tired, then dragging yourself out of bed each morning, it is a sure sign that you are not getting enough quality sleep for your needs. This lack of sleep will be a sure way to set you up to fall and impact your health negatively as well as prevent you from managing stress with a clear mind.
Poor quality and a lack of sleep can affect a whole heap of things, you will be moody, irritable and stressed. You will likely find it more difficult to retain information and your concentration will be inconsistent.
I am sure you’ll agree wandering around feeling zombie like is no fun and the lack of productivity, combined with crawling from appointment to appointment with a fuzzy head, just wanting to sleep is horrible.
The importance of sleep cannot be under-estimated as sleep keeps your mind fresh, performing well and is a contributing factor to managing your weight and food choices.
So, no more Netflix binges, “quick scrolls” on social media or checking the emails five minutes before you plan to sleep. Each of these will interrupt the hormone production required to settle you in to sleep mode. It is time to make your sleep ritual a priority so your body and mind have time to slow down to prepare for optimum and quality sleep.
2. Hunger Pangs Before Bed
If you are experiencing hunger prior to bed, it’s likely you have eaten too lightly, not had enough water or have made poor food and drink choices during the evening. What you eat the hours before retiring will have a major effect on your sleep quality, weight and overall wellbeing. Sure; have your snacks and treats but aim to enjoy these during the day or be aware that your sleep will be impacted and plan the following day so you, don’t have demanding matters to work through.
Digestion is an energy burning process and consequently can interfere with your body’s ability to fall asleep, and can also affect the quality of sleep you have. By eating just before you retire the likelihood of indigestion increases, this is sure to flare up as soon as you lie down with the gastric juices being secreted to breakdown the food you have consumed.
So, be selective with food choices, eat earlier and at least two hours prior to retiring. Planning meals is a great way to prevent, last minute highly processed meals, keep up your water intake and have some chopped vegetables to nibble post dinner if you are still hungry.
4. Coffee as the Answer
Are you using coffee to counter your poor sleep? Keep doing this and you will find yourself soon becoming so used to the caffeine, there will no longer be the “kick” you are seeking, yes; even your daily coffee “hit” won’t, give you the pick me up you are desperately wanting. Skipping meals and replacing the food with coffee will also leave you feeling awful and put extreme pressure on your adrenal system. You will end up feeling more exhausted, edgy as your body’s ability to produce serotonin will be compromised.
Drinking moderate amounts of coffee can be good for your health. A combination of coffee, adequate hydration and nutrition is the key to enjoying your regular coffee as an enjoyable part of your day. To function at its best, your body needs a mixture of vitamins, minerals nutrients and exercise at a minimum. Coffee and poor choices will leave you stressed out, poorly nourished and lead to illness.
5. Exercising to Make Up for a Poor Diet
Have you done a massive workout, walk or run then gone home and hoovered breakfast, lunch and dinner in one sitting, add to that a serve of ice-cream or a chocolate block? The exercise binge followed by the food binge, is what that is known as, a really poor choice for your mind and your body. Ouch, think of the pressure you have just put your body through and why? Exercising excessively, followed by overeating cancels one another out. Exercise alone will also not fix a bad nutrition choice either.
The combination of exercise to build strength and improve or maintain fitness, is an ongoing ritual. Finding the routine that works for you is important and is best to include exercises that increase your heart rate (within the correct rate for your age and fitness level) and give you resistance to build muscle, it is the muscle mass that will help your body burn fuel consistently, another reason to make wholesome food choices to give you the energy to exercise.
Get some help with a harmonious approach your health so you find the nutrition and exercise that will work with your lifestyle and is sustainable, exercise alone will not fix poor food choices. Treat foods can be implemented and gradually crowded out with better options, it is important that you don’t label foods as good or bad, this will lead to deprivation and removing any joy from eating. Once you do try whole food alternatives, compared to processed foods, you might just be surprised how your tastes change and how your body responds to excess sugar and saturated fats when less are consumed. Your body works constantly to keep you functioning, so nourish, maintain and respect it as you would your dream car! In the words of Greek physician Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food”.
So there are five suggestions to start with in making in-roads, simply to identify the habits you have created that may not be working for you. There are plenty more, some that you may identify with and others that pop up once you make improvements with the above five. If you want to learn more about other habits that need an audit, click here.
To maintain your health, avoid illness and protect your immune system an overall view of your primary and secondary health is the key to harmonious health and holistic wellbeing. Putting this into practice sounds simple, yet can be challenging to maintain and be consistent. If you are seeking support to give yourself the best chance of success, please reach out. Not only will you see your energy and health improve, you’ll also reduce your reactions to stress and as acute stress is one of the pre-cursers to burnout and chronic illness.
Whilst our best intentions are easy to say, they are not so easy to do and maintain consistency. Let me help you create rituals that you can follow.