Try a new habit for November
November can be a time when we’re catapulted into thinking about Christmas and the festive season but why not use this month to take on a habit to move your health in the right direction – Here’s 5 things you can do this November, pick one, two or more – be realistic though, you’ll feel better having stuck to one thing than start doing them all but not be able to keep it going!
Get up an hour earlier (just pretend the clocks never went back!)
Now that the clocks have gone back, try to get up an hour earlier so that you make the most of the daylight hours we have. As soon as you get up, have a big drink of water (this wakes up the kidneys and they will send out hormone messages to remind you to drink later in the day – amazing but true!) then set off for a brisk walk – no need for breakfast until you come back. You’ll feel refreshed and ready for anything after a walk and a shower. A healthy breakfast and you’re off to a great start to the day.
Give up something
You choose: alcohol, chocolate, bread, crisps… whatever you feel is the main culprit in holding back your healthy lifestyle! Replace it with something that you could do with more of, like a homemade soup, salad, water, herbal tea, fruit (in moderation) or nothing at all! I’ve heard lots of clients over the years saying that they give up alcohol over the month of November – even if you’re a moderate drinker it’s a great idea to say no to alcohol for a period of time, it shows you that you’re in control of your drinking and gives you a confidence boost when you can go out for a night, stay off the drink and still have a good night with your friends – it shouldn’t be dependent on booze!
Eat a smaller dinner and pack leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch
Simple! An interesting fact is that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your tummy’s full, or better still just satisfied… so try serving smaller portions and put a bowl of salad on the table so that if you’re tempted to go for seconds you can munch on the salad instead and have the leftovers for your lunch the next day!
A fascinating project called blue zones https://bluezones.com/ has studied the world’s most long-lived cultures and apart from wonderful lessons like frequent social interaction and keeping active, the thing these cultures have in common, is that they eat lots of beans – about a mugful of cooked beans a day – loaded with fibre, beans contain both complex carbohydrate and protein, as well as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and other minerals.
It is very well proven that most of us eat more meat than is healthy for us so try to make beans a frequent feature in your diet. If you (or your nearest and dearest) don’t like the idea of meatless meals, reduce the amount of meat and replace with beans – like in this delicious mild vegetable, beef and bean curry – try the recipe or adapt it to make a Bolognese or chilli type meal – vegetarian or with some meat
Go to bed earlier this ties in well with the first habit of course! If you’re trying to lose weight, simply going to bed earlier can help in many ways: avoiding pitfalls like evening snacking, looking for energy from food when the real problem is sleep deprivation and having your hunger hormones out of balance, resulting in greater desire to eat and a slowed metabolism. Get more zzzzs!!