In case you hadn’t noticed, summer’s over. Yep – all that glorious sun, heat and joy has gone for good and we’re back to five months of winter.
Faced with the prospect of leaving and returning home in the dark, it’s easy to give up on any healthy resolutions you made when the going was good. Regular outdoor exercise and healthy eating are a damn-site easier when it’s bright, light and warm than when it’s raining and cold. Saying that, summer is also often saturated with booze and BBQs – which is why Autumn is actually the perfect time for getting back on track ahead of the Christmas party season. And with that in mind, we asked for Laura Tilt, Innermost’s resident dietician what her top tips would be for staying happy, healthy and fit over the next few months. ‘The best advice we can give is to choose a couple of habits that are easy – and to repeat them daily,’ she tells Metro.co.uk. ‘One of the problems with adopting new habits is that we give up on them way before they’ve had a chance to take hold… research from UCL found that on average it takes 66 days for a new healthy behaviour to stick; that’s about two months!’ Sure, two months sounds like a long time. You’ll have had about 52 mince pies by then. But you can speed up the process: the more often you repeat a habit, the quicker it becomes automatic. So, here’s how to reignite your wellness mojo with Innermost’s five healthy habits for mind and body this Autumn:
Workout before work
OK, I know you think there’s not enough time to brush your teeth, let alone fit in a spin class before work begins, but switching your workout to the morning has multiple benefits. Research published in the journal PLOS ONE found getting bright light exposure in the early morning can help to regulate appetite and body fat, whilst scientists from Bringham Young University also found that 45 minutes of early morning exercise was enough to lessen urges for sweet foods. And if you do feel like a limp lettuce first thing, why not try a protein shake as soon as you wake up to fuel you through your workout? Alternatively, there are always pre-workout boosts, like Innermost’s The Fit Plus.
Eat a high protein breakfast
Protein has to be the most overused word in the fitness language these days. Adding protein to Snickers bars is completely ridiculous, as is living off steak under the illusion that six packs are made from meat alone. But eating a good dose of protein in the morning has been scientifically found to be beneficial. Scientists from the University of Missouri-Columbia found eating a high protein breakfast can cut cravings for sugary foods during the rest of the day. So, why not swap your sad looking cereal for some scrambled eggs or a big bowl of yoghurt covered in berries and flaxseeds?
Aim for 8
Researchers from the University of Warwick found that self-reported happiness increased with every extra serve of fruit and vegetables eaten up to eight portions a day. Stick with the mantra of two per meal and you’re most of the way there. Remember serving is 80 grams – about a fistful of vegetables or handful of fresh fruit.
Start (and end) your day with 60 minutes of ‘airplane mode’
A report by GWI Social found we spend two hours a day on social media and up to six hours a day online. Being consistently hooked up means you never really turn ‘off’. So, to help yourself detach and unwind, turn your devices off (or onto airplane mode) an hour before bed, and leave them off for the first hour of waking so that you start your day on your terms. The more difficult you find this, the more benefit you’re likely to get from doing so.
Eat one meal a day without distraction
Studies show we feel less satisfied after a meal when we combine eating with other activities such as typing emails or watching TV, with studies showing distracted eating can result in consuming more calories than if we pay full attention. Commit to eating one meal a day without distraction and really be mindful of the food, flavours and textures. For those of us who always eat while doing something else (work/TV/Instagram/reading), try concentrating on the smallest meal of the day – or a snack – and progress to dinner. These tips aren’t not easy and for many of us, they mean some serious timetable rejigging. But when it comes to becoming healthier and more mindful, often time management is the most crucial and hardest habit to crack. We’re so busy rushing around that we don’t have time to take stock; we feel the need to be always connected, putting other people and work before us. But once you begin actively carving out time to feed yourself, read, prepare, work out, the rest should follow. And let’s face it, you’re going to appreciate having had this period of relative downtime when you find yourself at your sixth Christmas do on 12 December.
(Article source: Metro)