Beating the 'New Year New Me' Brigade

First of all, welcome to 2016! How is it already almost half way through January though?!

We spent New Year at a lovely little cottage with friends near Sherwood Forest, drinking Champers, making gingerbread houses, playing board games - you know, the usual. One of our friends is half Spanish, so we made sure to honour Spanish and English traditions, and I can honestly say it was the most fun 4 days we could have wanted. Here's a couple of piccies to whet your appetite.


But this all feels like a million years ago now, so...

Secondly, for all those people talking about 'New Year New Me' on your social media, I bet you can count at least double that amount moaning about people talking about 'New Year New Me'.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with people wanting to make changes, and if they need the New Year as an excuse to make those changes, fine by me. BUT the majority of those people won't stick to any changes, mostly because of unrealistic goals or they're too hard on themselves.

Use the New Year to make simple, small changes that will benefit you over time, not huge changes that will make you feel like a failure come February!

For example, don't go round proclaiming you are on a 'diet' (hate that word) or you're going to work your butt off in the gym until you resemble a Victoria Secret model as soon as the 1st January comes. You're setting yourself up for a failure when you're then 'caught' eating 12 cheeseburgers, a bucketful of fries and a mile high ice cream sundae a couple of weeks later. Will power is HARD, so start with itsy bitsy little changes and not only will you feel better over a period of time, but eventually you'll start noticing changes AND you will feel proud of yourself for sticking to something.

So, as I'm now only T-minus 1 sleep away from my bit of winter sun (eek!) here are some examples to get you started, like a motivational pick and mix! You can do all of the following if you want, or just pick one to get you started, or choose 3 or 4 that you think you can fit in to your routine easily, its up to you. But I promise they will be easier to stick to than any full on diet and give yourself a few weeks and you WILL notice the difference.

- Take a glass of water to bed with you and drink it every morning as soon as you wake up - I started this a few months ago and I can't tell you how much better you feel. Like, when I don't do it, I know, you know? It will hydrate you as soon as you wake up, get your body going, and help you wake up and start the day feeling fresher.

- I follow this up with a hot water and lemon once I'm up and about - again its all about hydration, but it gets your metabolism started and makes you feel cleansed from the inside out before you start your day properly. In fact, in general drink more water, and if you need to pimp it up, do it!

This is just pink grapefruit and lime squeezed into sparkling water - if you're doing dry January this will make you feel like you're having a fancy pants cocktail without any guilt whatsoever.

- Have a green smoothie every day. This is one I'm going to start adding in to my routine as I don't do it regularly at the moment. I wouldn't have it as a meal replacement but more as a supplement. I don't count calories (that would be a diet *shudder*) but focus on filling my body with nutritious, whole foods instead, which over time will make you feel better, slimmer, and healthier and NEVER hungry. This is a great snack option as it will fill you up, and give you so many nutrients. Also I prefer smoothies to juices as it keeps all the fibre from the ingredients. As a simple option add about 250 ml filtered water to a blender with a handful or 2 of spinach or kale, a chunk of fresh ginger, a handful of berries and the juice of about half a lemon, blend up and serve with loads of ice. I might do a post of my fave smoothie recipes soon, so hold tight.

- Try to get an extra half hour of sleep every night. I start a new job in February which means I will need to be up earlier than I currently do, but I know the difference that an extra half an hour to an hour can make. Fitness trackers (I use a Fitbit) help to track your sleep, and knowing that the healthy amount of sleep to have is between 6 and 8 hours ( I generally sleep about 6.5-7 hours every night) I'm going to aim to add half an hour by going to bed earlier every night. You'll feel much better and more motivated just by having that little bit extra that everything else will come so much easier.

- Cut out  (or at least cut back on) refined sugar and processed foods. This can be tough for a lot of people as sugar pops up in almost everything - I genuinely think the only way to do that is to cut out processed foods. I've made the tiny step of cutting sugar out of my daily coffee (actually I don't even have daily coffee any more) - I used to enjoy one sugar in one coffee a day, now I have it without 90% of the time, or have coconut palm sugar instead (see this post) and make sure you add cinnamon. Everything I've eaten since the New Year began has been cooked from scratch from the Clean and Lean for Life Cookbook which contains no refined sugar, and I can 100% say I feel less bloated, less sluggish and generally haven't even been craving sugar or even snacks really.

- Add some or more exercise to your daily routine. You don't have to join the hoards at the gym and even if you regularly work out you can still add this to your list just to help switch up your old routine. This can be as simple as walking more (again, HELLO fitness tracker) - try to take a 30-40 minute walk each day as well as your regular walking and you will notice a difference, or aim for 10k steps per day. Add some new equipment or a new exercise to your routine - I got a pilates ball for Christmas to use at home and I'm loving learning different exercises I can do on it (without worrying about falling off in front of people). I've added a yoga warm up before each work out, as well as adding sets of planks, sit ups, and squats 3 times a week as a boost.

- Try something new! In any facet of your life adding something new can only really make things better. Try a new work out you've been wanting to try for ages. Never done hot yoga? Grab a mat, find a class and get sweating. Want to try pole dancing? Take a friend for a confidence boost and something to bond over. Always wanted to play tennis like a Williams sister? Just get out and play - you don't even need to take lessons just find an outdoor court and give it a go with your partner, parent, sibling, pal, whatever. What about food? Try a new recipe every week, or go to your local greengrocers/butchers/fish monger (or just the supermarket) choose a random ingredient and cook with it. What have you got to lose?! I tried pole fitness over 5 years ago and I've been almost every week since, and have made great friends while doing it - I'll do a full post at some point.

- Get organised. This is easier said than done, but get yourself a diary or utilise the one on your phone and start keeping track of appointments/birthdays/anniversaries. You'll feel so much better if you plan out your week ahead. You can even use it to plan out your weekly meals, and make sure you keep track of what you have eaten/done that week. I also carry a notebook everywhere with me - I love a list - and keep notes of everything and anything. When you're out with someone and they mention something they like, make a note so you have ideas for birthday/Christmas presents, when you see an inspiring quote write it down, you never know when you might need a boost, when you remember you need to pick something up from the shops add it to a rolling shopping list so you don't forget to pick it up, or if you visit someone and they make some amazing food for you, ask for the recipe and add it to your notebook to whip out at a later date. I have notes on my phone as well so I never lose track and its amazing how much better you feel when you have all your shit together!

These are just a few examples, and I'll be making sure I add more as the year goes on. If you've got any to add to the list, leave a comment below or tell me if you've already kickstarted your New Year.

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