New Year health challenge
It’s not about making grand, sweeping resolutions that you probably stick to for a week and then ditch. It’s about making small adjustments to your everyday life, that will actually make a huge impact on your day to day if you choose to continue them. Think of the month of January as a reset, and balance your year from right now.
Jan 1: Drink eight (count ’em) glasses of water today. No, beer doesn’t count as water.
Jan 2: Try substituting your usual jam or Nutella spreads for pure avocado. Spread on wholegrain sourdough toast, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and add a squeeze of lemon.
Jan 3: While you’re at the beach, walk along it. Up and down. Four times. Go on. Yes you, lying down on the towel while reading this!
Jan 4: Meat-free day (that means no fish either). Get creative with a vegetarian spread.
Jan 5: Put sunscreen on today if you’re planning on going outside. Even if you’re not by the pool or at the beach. Get into the habit of doing this.
Jan 6: Alcohol-free day.
Jan 7: Eat only three meals today – no snacks except for one piece of fruit after dinner. Note how you feel when going to bed.
Jan 8: Have an energetic game of cricket/ tennis/ touch footy/ volleyball with the family or the neighbours.
Jan 9: Gather up all of your unnecessary Christmas gifts and send them to the Smith Family, a women’s shelter or a homeless shelter.
Jan 10: Start the day with a healthy breakfast. A combination of protein with carbs is an excellent way to stay full and give you sustained energy. Try poached eggs on wholegrain sourdough toast or peanut butter on wholegrain sourdough.
Jan 11: Make a green juice, with vegetables only. A good combination: cucumber, celery, ginger and baby spinach. Add kale if you dare. If you don’t have a whiz bang blender, go and buy a vegetable juice first thing in the morning and save the coffee for after 10am.
Jan 12: Stop using vegetable oil or canola oil for cooking. Recent research points to these two being less healthy than olive oil or coconut oil and even butter and ghee.
Jan 13: Don’t eat any white foods today. That means rice, white bread and those sneaky milk bottles you get from the corner store. In fact, why not try cutting them out for good? Substitute for the brown, wholefood versions.
Jan 14: Stop. Drinking. Soft. Drinks. For good. Today is the day they disappear from your life forever. They are one of the biggest reasons we are facing an obesity epidemic in this country and in other western countries.
Jan 15: Eat fresh food only today – nothing in a packet. Enjoy seasonal fruits like mangoes, cherries and stonefruit and give the biccie tin a miss.
Jan 16: Make your own salad dressing. Extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper is all you need to make any combination of vegetables taste fantastic.
Jan 17: Avoid the middle aisles when you do your weekly supermarket shop. Supermarkets stock processed foods in the middle aisles while all the fresh stuff is on the outside edges of the stores. Stick to the outside.
Jan 18: Pick up a ball or frisbee or a racket and get outside for some sporty fun.
Jan 19: Do a fitness class today – choose one on the Bodypass network and get to it before you change your mind. Do one that fits your mood and your health status.
Jan 20: Listen to music. Turn it up, let loose and dance around the house. It’s therapy for your mental and physical state of being.
Jan 21: Substitute your regular milky tea and coffee with herbal teas. Oh go on, it’s only one day!
Jan 22: Invest in an alarm clock, so you can sleep without your mobile at your bedside.
Jan 23: Speak to people. That means, calling instead of texting, or dropping in to visit friends unexpectedly. Let’s bring back being social! Offline!
Jan 24: Volunteer at a charity today. There are a bunch of places where your time can make a difference.
Jan 25: Start reading a new book. Don’t have time? Buy an audio book on your phone and listen to it while you’re in the car, or better yet, while you’re exercising.
Jan 26: Australia Day! Cook a good quality steak/ chicken/ fish/ prawns on the barbie instead of sausages or other processed meats, and double the amount of salad.
Jan 27: Put your trainers on and do 50 star jumps, followed by 30 pushups, 30 sit ups and a 200 metre sprint. Puffed? Do it again!
Jan 28: Turn the TV off and put down your phone/ laptop/ tablet after 6pm. Read a book or just go to bed early.
Jan 29: Floss. Twice. Daily.
Jan 30: Practice breathing. That might make some of you laugh, but most adults don’t breathe correctly. We breathe properly as children and then as we grow up, stress, anxiety, weight, inactivity, smoking and other bad habits can reduce the amount of oxygen taken in. For two minutes today, sit or lie comfortably, and focus on your breath. In for a count of four and out for a count of four is a good place to start. Try and do this every day, and reconnect with your breath.
Jan 31: Let’s cut junk food today – and try and continue this for the next month (Feb is a short one, you can do it!). No chocolate, chips, fried foods, fast foods, lollies, cakes, biscuits. Not one. Note how you feel at the end of today and imagine how you’ll feel in a month.
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