Article in Herald Sun

Book details how to lead a healthy and happy life.

A HEALTHY mind, attitude and body are interconnected: you cannot have one without the other. But over the course of a year, you can overhaul your life to have all three, says Dr Cris Beer.

The Doctor has a one-habit-a-week approach to achieving long lasting health – listing 52 habits to a healthier and happier life in her new book Healthy Habits.

“52 healthy habits might seem a lot but you have a lifetime of habits to overcome and one year of your life to achieve great health is a short time in comparison to living a whole life not knowing what it is like to really feel and look good,” she writes in her book Healthy Habits.

There are five key areas that Beer considers critical to improving health and wellbeing with many tips focusing on these key sectors: hydration, rest, diet, exercise and attitude.

“These encompass a lot of the things we all know we need to do but we often overlook,” she says.

Rather than overhauling your lifestyle in one unsustainable hit, Beer advocates making one or two simple changes at a time and integrating them in to your lifestyle.

“There’s a bit of all-or-nothing in all of us. If we can’t do it 100 per cent why do it? It works to some degree but only for a short time. Change has to be sustainable and be incorporated in to everyday life with your current responsibilities.

“Make no more than one or two changes at once…or it’s overwhelming.”

Hydration

  • Drink more water – Beer recommends drinking 1 litre per day for every 25kg you weigh.
  • Avoid shrinking your brain through dehydration resulting from excess caffeine (more than 2-3 cups of coffee or 3-4 cups of tea per day) and alcohol (no more than 2 standard drinks a day with two alcohol-free days a week).

Rest

  • Adults need 7-9 hours sleep a night. You know you are not getting enough sleep if you consistently fall asleep within five minutes. The ideal is 10 to 15 minutes to fall asleep.
  • You also need to rest and recover – which is different to sleep. Power naps, mindfulness, regular holidays, relaxing evening wind-down routines and doing enjoyable non-work-related activities during the week will allow your body to wind-down.
  • Our mind and body function best when we have a five minute break from work every 90 to 120 minutes. This could involve deep breathing, meditation, walking or stretching.
  • Restore your biorhythms by establishing a consistent routine where you go to bed at the same time wake at the same time, eat around the same times and exercise at the same times throughout the day.

Diet

  • Eat by the 80/20 rule: where 80 per cent of your daily diet is unprocessed wholesome foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, plain unsweetened dairy or dairy alternatives, eggs, lean meats, wholegrains, beans, legumes and nuts or seeds, and 20 per cent is other foods you enjoy.
  • Clean out your pantry, fridge and freezer and stock them with unprocessed wholesome foods.
  • Pack a healthy lunch box for work or so to avoid the temptation of fast foods at lunch. Include salad or vegetables, protein to keep you feeling full, wholegrains and a bottle of water.
  • Reduce sugar consumption.
  • Eat a rainbow of seasonal fruit and vegetables each day. Different coloured fruits and vegetables have different nutrients. Include orange, red, yellow/orange, red/purple, yellow/green, green and white fruits and vegetables to get all the nutrients you need.
  • Plan your meals, practise portion control and reduce mindless eating and eat only when you are hungry.
    Exercise
  • Start slow and build up as your fitness improves, and remember that some is better than none and more is better than less.
  • To avoid injury wear quality shoes, know your body type, warm up and cool down, and stretch following exercise.
  • Strengthen your core muscles.
  • Avoid overtraining by incorporating rest days in to your program.

Attitude

  • Break negative thought patterns and write a gratitude list every day to remember what is important to you in your life.
  • Boost your brain alpha waves with meditation.
  • Build strong connections with others or strengthen the relationships you already have to boost levels of oxytocin, the bonding hormone in your brain.
  • Find purpose within your community.

Dr Cris says most important of all is to take time to nurture yourself.

“Unless we start really nurturing ourselves, we find that we begin to resent our families, our friends, our work and our once enjoyable commitments for taking up all our time.

The unfortunate result of this is frustration, fatigue, self-loathing and a lack of overall enjoyment in our lives.

The remedy to feeling this way is to realise that we are the masters of our bodies, our actions and our schedules and to make a little time to self-nurture.”

#healthyhabits

Dr Cris

Holistic Medical Doctor, Author ‘Healthy Habits, 52 Ways to Better Health

Healthy Habits book Dr Cris