Article in the Daily Telegraph
Want to feel healthier, have lots more energy and a trimmer waistline?
In my new book “Healthy Habits, 52 Ways To Better Health”, I give you week-to-week advice on forming behaviours that will transform your wellbeing.
Our bodies are made to heal and are remarkably hardy.
But like anything, there is only so much our bodies can take before starting to show signs of damage and deterioration.
This is the principle of homeostatic reserve, which is simply what the body can handle before it breaks.
Instead of living on the edge of illness and not feeling great wouldn’t you rather be in a place of wellness?
This is easier to achieve than you might think and involves forming a few simple habits starting with these five.
1. Drink to good health
Drinking enough water is, by far, one of the most important steps towards feeling well. Adequate hydration is key to curbing appetite, improving cellular metabolism and reducing fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic.
One reason people do not drink enough water is because they don’t like the taste. Interestingly, our tastebuds only request what they are used to. So if they are familiar with sugary or caffeinated drinks they will reject water.
But it only takes about 30 days to retrain our tastebuds so any of us can get used to drinking water. Ideally, every day you should drink one litre for every 25kg that you weigh.
2. Eat by the 80/20 Rule
As with water, we can retrain our tastebuds to enjoy fresh, unprocessed foods thereby fuelling our bodies with better choices.
If our tastebuds are used to foods high in fat, salt, and/or sugar then retraining can take time but with consistency we can learn to enjoy the foods our body needs.
I advocate living by the 80/20 rule with 80 per cent of the diet being fresh, unprocessed foods and 20 per cent everything else, including indulgences. In essence, balanced eating.
3. Sleep well
This next step toward wellness is one of the hardest to achieve. Getting enough sleep per night can be a struggle for people for various reasons.
The average adult requires seven to nine hours of sleep a night for good health.
Aside from sleep, we also need quality rest — time that is restorative and allows for reflection. Many of us do not allow time for proper rest.
What you find restful may be different for others: going for a walk, reading, chatting with a friend or having a massage. It is important to pencil these activities into our diaries otherwise they won’t happen.
4. Move more
Our bodies consist of about 640 muscles attached to 206 bones much like levers and pulleys of working machinery. So, we are made to move!
Instead of the word exercise I like to use activity. Not only does activity improve heart health but it also helps regulate metabolism, improves sleep and boosts mood, advises the Mayo Clinic.
The best form of activity can be incidental — taking the stairs rather than the lift, parking the car further away.
The current recommendation for good health for adults is 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.
Buy a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day to make sure you are moving enough every day.
5. Maintain a positive attitude
Too often it is easier to look for a ‘magic pill’ that will dissolve all our body fat, improve our health, lower our fatigue and essentially transform our lives.
Although there are many products out there claiming to do these things, they will, at most, make one per cent difference to wellbeing and waistlines. The biggest difference will come from making changes in lifestyle which will take time and consistency.
By keeping a positive attitude towards our health and breaking negative thought patterns we will be able to stay the course and build positive health habits.
It is really important to identify if we have established conscious or subconscious patterns of negative thinking and to change them before they ruin our mental and physical health.
One of the best cures for negative thinking is gratitude. Writing a gratitude list every morning of say, your top five things, can help set up your day in a positive way. We have so much to be grateful for but many times we do not stop to appreciate them.
Holistic Medical Doctor, Author ‘Healthy Habits, 52 Ways to Better Health‘