Health and happiness in the New Year

It’s a classic New Year’s resolution – to want to be healthier. However, first of all, to get there, we need to try to have realistic aesthetic goals. If we try to look like other people we will end up hating ourselves when it isn’t happening, and will be more likely to give up, and thinking it’s useless to even try. I spent so long watching America’s Next Top Model when I was a teenager, wishing I had longer, skinnier legs, but everyone has different builds and body fat distribution, and if you naturally have broader hips or shoulders, short legs or long legs, this is not going to change without some Frankenstein-style surgery.

Instead, I think it’s nice to concentrate on trying to get to the best version of yourself, the most confident, happy and healthy version you can achieve. It’s a bit vague, but a nice way of thinking about it, because the best version of yourself is happy and confident, meaning you are relaxed enough to have fun, let your hair down and treat yourself without feeling bad about it, alongside making healthy changes. It’s important to relax and not care about things every so often – and it’s something I need to work on!

A good way of helping you along is to set small, milestone goals, such as being able to touch your toes with your legs straight (an on-going battle for me), seeing some muscle definition in your arms, or even just clearing up a few spots that have appeared after a big weekend. These small milestones will help motivate you eat more greens or drink more water just for that day, or to do some exercise or a class that week, rather than seeing your goal as something in the distant future that you can put off trying to achieve.

Here are a few suggestions of achievable New Years resolutions, and things I’m going to try to stick to in 2016 to feel healthy and happy:

  • Try to include at least one portion of fruit or veg into every single meal – put frozen spinach with everything (eggs, smoothies, pasta sauce), avocado in your sandwich and a satsuma snack – the more plants you can get into your body, the better.
  • Try to go to sleep before midnight on weekdays –something I find very hard to do! Obviously this will help with energy and concentration, and we often crave sugar for energy when we are tired.
  • Buy the best quality meat you can afford. This is my main resolution. In 2016, I want to try to only cook with free-range meat, even if that means I have it a lot less. The better the animal was raised, the more beneficial it will be for your health, and experimenting with other sources of protein is good for the environment, your funds and your conscience.
  • Add one more type of exercise into your week – whether that’s one jog or gym trip compared to none before, or an extra exercise class or sport. I’m going to try yoga in an attempt to finally be able to touch my toes after 22 years of trying and failing… Wish me luck.

Patsy O’Neill

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