It has always been a passion of mine to inspire others to be their best possible self and live a healthy life. After much encouragement from my loved ones, I have established this blog as a means of spreading the message further! In addition, I hope it will provide an opportunity for you, my wonderful supporters, to share your own views and tips on how to achieve a healthy life.
So here I go…For my very first post I would like to share with you my top 10 tips for “real” people to live a happy and healthy life. These tips are simple, tried and tested (by myself!).
I look forward to sharing with you in more detail each of the below tips from my personal experience in future posts.
1. Incorporate as many “whole” foods into your diet as possible
By “whole” foods I simply mean foods that are chemical-free and have not been processed from their original state – e.g. vegetables, fermented foods, pasture-fed meats and full fat dairy (organic where possible).
One of my favourite whole foods is eggs…the yolk included! The whole egg is a complete source of nutrients and the yolk is there to help process the rest of the egg, so don’t throw it out! I have eggs every morning for breakfast and they keep me satisfied until lunchtime.
I also have a new found love for smoothies after receiving a Kambrook Blitz2Go blender as an engagement gift. You can make a smoothie in minutes straight into the drinking bottle – no cleaning required! Smoothies are a perfect (and convenient) way to add multiple servings of vegetables into your day. Think avocado, baby spinach and kale. Combine with coconut water or almond milk, chia seeds, banana and frozen blueberries for a delicious and nutrient-dense meal.
Recently I went to a seminar by Dr Libby Weaver, in which she shared some alarming facts on the havoc that processed and chemical-laden food can wreck on your nervous system. I will share more on this topic in future posts, however I must say that Dr Libby’s advice made eating whole foods a priority for me.
The key thing to remember is that eating whole foods is NOT a diet! Think of it as the opposite – the more whole foods you can add to your daily meals means that there will be less room for the processed stuff.
2. Move your body every single day
That seems like a lot of exercise, but not if you mix it up and remember that quality over quantity always prevails.
My favourite exercises are high intensity interval training and weights at the gym, combined with Bikram yoga and walking outside. Some days I even dedicate my gym sessions to stretching and foam rolling. With such a variety, it is easy to commit to some form of movement every day.
3. Don’t be afraid to lift!
Picking up weights at the gym has completely changed body shape, along with my self-confidence. It is a complete myth that women can get bulky from lifting weights. In fact, my weight and shape has shrunk!
Make sure you lift heavy, but keep the reps to at least 8 to 12 so that you still get a cardio workout. Add some burpees for the perfect mix.
Most importantly, lift weights with the correct technique at all times to avoid injury. The assistance of a personal trainer is a must.
4. Squat, squat, squat!
Tight and toned butt, sculpted legs, visible core muscles…need I say more? Squats are the best way to work out the whole body and suitable for all levels.
Start with body weight squats to practice your technique and range of motion, then work up to back and front squats using a bar. Again, technique is key – aim for below 90 degrees, keep your knees out, heels grounded and chest upright.
Remember that the more squats you do, the more you need to make stretching a priority (see my next tip!).
5. Try yoga
There is a yoga practice to suit anyone. It has so many benefits for both the body and mind.
Try Bikram if you are adventurous and up for a challenge! I will share my passion for Bikram in later posts.
6. Meditation is the key to feeling balanced
Meditation is a relatively new concept for me. Like most people, I had a fear of meditation because my mind never switches off and I find it hard to sit still. My hips are so tight that sitting cross-legged is torture!
However, once you understand that a wandering mind is a normal part of meditation, you quickly learn to accept those thoughts and let them pass. Meditation trains you to be more present in your day and set positive intentions in life. We should all aim to meditate every single day, even if it is for five minutes on the train ride to work.
7. Get more sleep!
Your body needs adequate sleep to recover, repair and regenerate.
Try going to sleep a little earlier each night and see the benefits! Avoid all electronic temptations before bed (yes I am taking about TV and phones!) – the brightness alone keeps the brain awake.
If you are having trouble sleeping, I find that lavender creates a relaxing environment. You can also try yoga poses such as half tortoise, which stimulates the feeling of having slept for a few hours!
Do you have a mind full of ideas at night? Keep a notebook beside your bed to jot those thoughts down so that they stop keeping you awake.
8. Spend time planning
Meals, fitness, family, social time and rest – the best way to commit to these is by scheduling them into your diary. I have a bright pink Lorna Jane diary this year, which I carry everywhere.
Planning exercise into your week is essential to maintaining consistency in the long term. The biggest motivation for me to get up early for exercise is to lay out my workout gear the night before and pack my work clothes into my backpack. It is more of an effort to unpack my backpack if I decide I don’t want to go!
I follow the same theory for preparation of meals for work – it is much easier to make a smoothie or pack leftovers into a container the night before so that I’m not tempted to buy lunch at work.
9. Stay motivated
I am not ashamed to say it, but Instagram is generally the first thing I view on my phone when I wake up in the morning (after I stop my alarm!). It always sets a positive tone for my day.
I follow people on Instagram that offer me advice and inspiration. I stay away from the fake accounts and negative hashtags (#thinspo – what is that!?).
I also follow motivational blogs and websites. My absolute favourites are movenourishbelieve.com, and Instagram accounts by Lorna Jane and Yoga Girl. They offer real and practical insights into living your best life.
See my Inspiration page for additional favourites of mine. Find your own sources of inspiration and use them to motivate you each day when you are feeling like it’s all too much!
And finally the most important tip…
10. Put yourself first
Without thinking, we ladies tend to find ourselves in a constant state of stress trying to please others because we care so much. However our own health can suffer in the process.
Looking after your own health and wellbeing will give you more energy and enthusiasm to help and inspire others!
Dr Libby Weaver’s book, The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, describes the biochemical and emotional effects of constantly being in a rush and the health consequences that urgency elicits. I am definitely in this category at times! I can’t wait to read Dr Libby’s book and share what I have learnt with you.
There you go – my top ten tips. Now it is up to you…
Every day I try to focus on at least one of these tips and it has changed my life! I really hope that they can help transform your life as well!
I look forward to sharing with you in more detail each of these tips on my blog over the coming weeks. I would love to hear from you if you have any of your own tips to share!