how to be a creature of (healthy) habit

 

spoiler alert: all it takes is the right daily ingredients

 

We are creatures of habit, and the (good or bad) habits we follow have an impact on how we feel, look, and perform.

Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you are. By making the bed every morning, you show you are an organised type. Working out regularly builds an identity of a fit and energetic person, and eating a nutritious diet shows you to be mindful and healthy.

Even the smallest of actions can have great long-term benefits, and over time, help you can gain significant changes in how you view yourself.

Anybody can start by adopting small daily changes which will reap wonderful rewards in the long run. For example, a useful set of morning habits could include getting up early each weekday morning, 10-20 minutes of meditation, 30 minutes of physical exercise, a bottle of filtered water, and a nuut for breakfast. Once this is achieved, you can start on your daily to-do list. Try to complete this initial phase of your morning without checking your phone for social media, news, or emails. Once this ritual becomes routine and automated, successful habits can be formed. 

There are mindful techniques to help in developing positive and long-lasting habits. Here are four simple principles to help form a healthy habit:

 

consume healthy ingredients:

Fuelling your body with nutritious ingredients is the first step to promoting health, preventing disease, and maintaining or losing weight.  Make a habit of adding to your daily diet 3 or more servings of vegetables, especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables. Eat 2 or more servings of fruits, and 3 or more servings of wholegrains. Reduce or eliminate refined or processed carbohydrates, and if you eat meat, try and consume more white than red. Reduce your daily intake of salt or sodium, and eliminate junk food that contains refined white flour, solid fats or trans fats, added sugars, and are high in sodium.

 

consume more protein:

The most filling of the macronutrients, protein is often referred to as the ‘king of nutrients’ for its ability to affect hunger and satiety hormones. Protein helps retain muscle mass, which determines the rate of your metabolism. A high protein intake may increase the number of calories you burn by 80–100 per day, which is important for preventing the loss of muscle mass that can occur during weight loss and as you age. Aim to add a source of protein to each meal and snack. It will help you feel fuller for longer, curb cravings and make you less likely to overeat. Or make it easy for yourself by substituting one meal a day with a protein-rich nuut, or sip one as a snack.

 

 

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be organised:

Put your gym clothes out the night before, so you see them as soon as you open your eyes. Once dressed, the rest comes easily. It’s just making that first commitment, because our brains are wired to follow the path of least resistance.

 

make it easy:

Maybe exercising at home is easier than going to the gym, so invest in an indoor bike, or create a workout at home to avoid the mental barrier of getting out the door. Or find a gym on your way to work, or close to the office and go during your lunch break. Making it convenient, means you are not putting too much pressure on yourself. 

 

make it satisfying:

Set yourself goals and rewards to help motivate a new continued habit. Perhaps it’s going to bed before 10pm. If you can achieve this for 10 nights in a row, your reward could be a facial or new pair of pyjamas. Or try ‘habit stacking’, where for example, after completing a workout, you reward yourself with a delicious freshly-made green juice. Not only are you rewarding yourself, but improving your nutrition at the same time.

 

Remember, it is the process, rather than the goal that gets you there. And if you fall off the wagon, don’t give up - just aim not to miss it twice in a row. Once you get back on track, you will start to build momentum again.