2017 - STOP MAKING PROMISES, START MAKING CHANGES!!
HAPPY NEW WORLD ORDER!!
So welcome to 2017! We're 17 years into our third Millenia (well, since that beardy prophet showed up and suddenly everyone started counting) and exactly two years ahead of Marty McFly's casual venture into the future (that's right, we are now more futuristic than Back to the Future. Just think about that for a moment).
A year full of promise (if your motivated, ambitious, and open minded) and the beginning of the end of the world as we know it (if you're into politics).
Alas, there's not much we can do to reverse our departure from the EU; the election of xenophobic fuck-trumpet's across the pond; nor the imminent rumblings of WWIII. But we can still greet the new world order with healthy bodies and minds, positive energy and a real sense of achievement (or at least successfully run away from the apocalypse with our lovely toned legs).
THE ONLY SOLUTION- RESOLUTION!
New Year brings out some truly amazing resolutions. Most people attempt 31 days abstaining from something. Usually it's addictive things we should probably be avoiding anyway... things like drinking flavoured poison every night of the week, consuming reformed sugar products in posh packaging, and smoking carcinogenic expensive sticks that fund big business. Unfortunately most these abstinences fail at the first hurdle (or night out). Perhaps we should focus on abstaining from abstaining from things? Now there's an idea?!
NOT GOT A RESOLUTION? PICK ONE OF MINE
This year instead of quitting something why not try starting something?
Good habits are hard to form, and the most likely time of year you'll pull this off is the New Year, when everyone else has their motivational game face on, and intentions are high and temptations are low.
Below are just 5 new habits to get working on for the new year (in order of importance in case you were wondering).
How many (and which ones) you choose to do is entirely up to you.
1- SLEEP- THE FORGOTTEN NUTRIENT
2- WAKE- EARLY MORNING MOBILITY WORKOUT'S
3- DETOX- HOW TO 'UN-CRAP' YOURSELF
4- STABILISE- CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGARS
5- CLEANSE- TRY A GLASS OF GUT CLEANSING APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
CHANGE 1- SLEEP; THE FORGOTTEN NUTRIENT
We all know sleep is important. The list of negatives from not getting enough sleep keep piling up (impaired cognitive functioning, memory problems, energy slumps/consequential sugar cravings, impaired immune function, increased stress and anxiety, increased blood pressure, and a chilling ultimatum of increased risk of mortality.
And not surprisingly the list of positive's from getting enough good quality sleep is growing too; enhanced energy/mood, improved cognitive functioning, improved physical performance, greater muscle mass/tone, improved immune system, lower incidence of depression, and not surprisingly people who sleep better tend to live longer.
And there are numerous ways to improve your sleep without simply extending the duration of your sleep time. Try focussing on the quality of your sleep, or the 1 hour period before you sleep and after you rise, and the total (week long) sleep quality (as opposed to 5 average nights and two bad one's...)
SO HERE'S WHAT I SUGGEST...
Sleep in TOTAL darkness with all electronic equipment removed (no phones).
Cease ipad/phone/TV use 1-2 hours before bed
Avoid eating after 7pm
Eat a smaller meal at dinner, and a larger one at breakfast
Be sure to 'wind down', avoid any negativity or anxiety (where possible) close to bedtime
Try Chamomile Tea before bed
Get comfy!! Invest in a good mattress and some cushions
We could be here forever discussing how to sleep better, so if I could focus on the one thing that will make more difference than any other....
Stick to a Sleep Schedule!! Up at 6am, Bed by 10pm (or thereabouts) to promote biological consistency (namely hormone release). Inconsistent sleep patterns bring inconsistent hormonal release and that can play havoc with your energy, mood, weight, cognitive function, you name it!
So please try to get your Sleep schedule up and running this January with 30days of consistent sleep hours, I promise you'll feel better for it!
CHANGE 2- WAKE; EARLY MORNING MOBILITY WORKOUT'S
How do you start your morning?
You awake sleepy and full of dread about the thought of removing your tired arse from bed. You slowly engage your foggy brain and lazily concoct some form of breakfast. Time becomes an ever growing concern as you rush down the last mouthfuls, jump in the bathroom for plenty of preening and conforming to office standards. Once you're all outward presentable it's time to knock up a biiiiig black mug of stimulant's (coffee) and rush out the door. 40 minutes later you arrive at work presentable, undernourished, and shaking slightly as the caffeine takes hold....
And if your one of those people who swears this only happens because 'I've never been a morning person' you're wrong. Plain and simple. No human is nocturnal, we've been conditioned for years to wake and sleep according to light patterns and our biological clock (Circadian rhythm's). And humans have also shown an amazing aptitude for adaption (or evolution) so you can easily become a morning person. The health benefits here are massive.
Here's what I want you to do;
Make the time in the morning for some light exercise (Yoga, gentle stretching, mobility routines). Even if it's only 5-10 minutes.
This month I'm doing 31 days of Yoga with Adrienne (a free online Yoga class) next month I'm going to try 1 month gentle Core work/activation, and so on...
If your one of my 1:1 clients, ask me for a morning routine you can get to grips with, that's what you pay me for.
The point is; I want you to make your mind and body your FIRST priority in the morning (not preening and consuming stimulants). You'll start your day more mobile, positive-minded, functional, capable, and awake and aware for your day at work!
CHANGE 3; DETOX- HOW TO 'UN-CRAP' YOURSELF
Let's be clear; The definition of Detox is wide ranging and very unclear. In strictly medical terms it refer's to the elimination of poisons that have entered the body (usually from a bottle, a pill, or a needle). In the alternative medicine world it could mean anything. Literally anything (they very rarely scientifically define exactly what it is you're detoxing). And the word 'detox' has ruthlessly been hijacked to sell all manner of products, from complex but ineffective little pills to basic foodstuffs you can find in the local supermarket?!
So 'Detoxing' can have far reaching definitions depending on what exactly what you might be detoxing?! If your a junkie, that's opiate's from injecting heroin; if your a booze hound, that's alcohol (or more specifically methanol); if your relatively clean living but still eat shit from time to time, then your detoxing from shit food.
So when I say Detox, I mean cut out the crap.
Crap can be defined in several ways (refer to the 'No Crap' diet blog), but let's not get drawn into lumping all physically detrimental foodstuffs under just one 'Crap Umbrella'. Some crap comes in more virulent forms than others.
Really Obvious Crap;Junk Food (Cookie's, Crisps) Fast Food (Pizza, McD's, Greggs), Alcohol
Obvious Crap; Caffeine, Refined Sugars, Chocolate
Less Obvious Crap; Pretend Health Foods, Reformed foodstuffs, Wheat/Bread, Fruit Juice, Milk Products
And to be clear, cut it out, and cut it out for good. It'll never become a lifelong change if you simply 'reduce' your intake. And similarly you won't feel the sense of achievement and personal 'high' if you only complete something in a half-assed manner....
If you manage 30 days of change your A LOT more likely to make this habit stick, and once it sticks that's when the real health benefits start to pull through.
CHANGE 4; STABILISE- CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR'S
So myself (and millions of others across the globe) have noticed the benefits of keeping our blood sugar levels stable throughout the day.
In a nutshell; Your blood sugars are the concentration of glucose (energy) in the blood. A niiiiice stable and consistent level keeps our energy balanced and consistent, while levels too high or too low will lead to energy peaks/troughs, weight control issues, moodiness, irritability, blah blah blah...
SO HOW DO I STABILISE MY BLOOD SUGARS?
Well without blood glucose testing equipment all we can really do is watch what we eat, and when we eat it.
So if your after a CLEAR example of an intervention you can make to attain more stable blood sugars, look no further...
Avoid sugary, high GI foods that breakdown quickly in the body
Switch to 5 smaller meals a day
Spread the caloric/macro-nutrient content appropriately (with regard to calories spread them relatively equally, with macro-nutrients it can be a little more complex, feel free to ask me if you have anything you'd like to discuss)
Monitor your energy levels and the correlation between what you eat (and when) and how you feel
CHANGE 5; CLEANSE- TRY THE GUT-CLEANSING TONIC APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
So I've been necking a glass of this rancid tonic daily now for 3 weeks or more, under the recommendation of the lovely but nutty lady at the local fruit and veg shop. I bring her apples, she returns them in a barely palatable but quaintly bottled form the next time I pop in. So far so good.
The downside is; it tastes like Witches Piss....
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is basically wine gone bad.....Apples ferment into wine, wine goes one step further and becomes a kind of vinegar. Leave it long enough and you can clean your pipes with it. Extract it at the right time and it's a palatable gut cleansing tonic with a whole host of reported health benefits.
While currently undergoing the necessary research to prove its efficacy, ACV has promising health benefits! Blood Sugar stabilisation, antibacterial cleansing, bad gut bacteria reduction (Candida) it's even reported to be good for cleaning the stains off your teeth?!
As mentioned the science is shaky, and I'm speaking from my own personal experience here (mine and others) so don't take it as gospel. But try it and see how it makes you feel! You may even see the results when you take your morning constitutional (apologies for the weaker stomached readers here...)
So there we have it! 5 new ways to start (not stop) something in 2017! If you manage just 1 of these and successfully make it a habit, your well on your way to a happier, healthier 2017!!
Try adding more change's as the months progress, keep me updated on your progress and how I can support you during this time.
And as the old saying goes "you can't change the world if you're riddled with type II Diabetes", so get your health on track and then we'll work on sorting out the shit in the middle east.