It is the first full week of January and now that the NYE hangover has (hopefully) receded, the Christmas food has finally been finished, you might have started to get tempted by all the “new year, new me” diet ads. A new year can be a great motivator for getting healthier, but it doesn’t have to be extreme. Smaller changes tend to be more sustainable long-term than crash diets. On top of this, gentle tweaks can be healthier than fads that promote yo-yo dieting. Let’s skip the added stress this year!
After a few weeks sitting indoors and eating rich food, you may find that you want to shake things up. It can be tricky to work out if this is your body is wanting you to change things up, or if you’re being swayed by diet culture, so don’t worry too much if you’re not sure. But see if you can tune in to what feels good. Are you wanting to get outside for a brisk walk, or stretch on your yoga mat to release stiff joints? Does the thought of spicy, fresh, or green food feel more appealing after lots of comforting, rich dishes? Your body may be asking for contrast, or variety, so see if you can tease that out.
Just like a new diary is full of potential, a fresh routine for the new year can be equally appealing. This doesn’t have to mean drastic change though. It might feel good to add one new element to your routine, or even find some more consistency. If time off between Christmas and New Year got you feeling a bit sluggish, added structure might feel revitalising. This might mean a few minutes of yoga, or time to enjoy a cup of tea in your morning; a lunchtime walk or having a nourishing lunch away from your desk.
Rather than thinking about meals in terms of their calorie or carbohydrate count, if you’re just wanting to get healthier, what can you add? Consider if you could add an extra portion of vegetables to your plate, if you could try something new, or if there is a flavour or spice you’d like to add. Could you add a little something extra, like a spoonful of mixed seeds, or gut-friendly kimchi? Frozen and tinned vegetables are often cheaper than fresh in winter, and maintain their nutrient levels long after you’ve bought them.