Christmas is over and for many of us that means getting back into our routine. Time to stop eating those extra treats and that 'one more slice'.
We all know the importance of a healthy lifestyle. A good diet, enough exercise and time for relaxation are all factors that help us to have a balanced, healthy and happy life. For some of us, that is easier said than done. Often the hardest part is starting while for others it is maintaining the regime. Fortunately, there is a lot of help and advice available that will motivate and guide those who are wanting that balanced lifestyle.
NSW Health have many tools that can help. They run a range of free initiatives to help you make healthy normal. www.mlhd.health.nsw.gov.au/healthy-living
Staying physically active is the single most important thing you can do to stay fit and independent, as you get older. Physical activity is good for the body and mind. www.activeandhealthy.nsw.gov.au
You may like to join McGrath Active, a program run by the McGrath Foundation. Not only would you be raising funds for the Foundation but have the assistance of professionals to help you get motivated and active with advice on nutrition too.
The dietary guidelines do change at times as research makes new discoveries. Stay up to date with the latest information.
Making any lifestyle change can be challenging. Many people find that having a goal in mind gives them something to work towards, motivates them to stay on track and provides a measure of how well they are doing.
When thinking about becoming more active:
- Be realistic – Your ultimate fitness goal could be to be fit enough to participate in a competition on a set date or to do 10 laps of the pool. Whatever the case, make this goal realistic. Remember that most of us will never be world-famous athletes or supermodels. Think about what is achievable for you. Write down your goals.
- Be specific – Don’t make your ultimate goal a general statement like: ‘I want to lose weight’. Make it measurable. Exactly how many kilograms do you want to lose?
- Choose a goal that is meaningful and important to you, not to anybody else. For example, if your partner wants you to lose weight, but you’re happy as you are, you may find it difficult to commit to your exercise routine in the long term.
Visit the Better Health Channel for more help with setting goals.
If you have made the decision to eat healthier, you don’t have to change your whole diet at once. It may help to set a series of small goals. Think of changes that are reachable, positive, under your control, and specific. For example, “Cut up veggies and fruit in the evenings so I can take them in my lunch the next day,” or “Eat a meatless dinner once a week, swapping veggies for the meat.” Here are a few other goals that might work for you or give you ideas for your own:
- Make half your plate a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables.
- Make half the grains you eat whole grains.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.
- Choose a variety of lean protein foods.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
- Eat some seafood every week.
I have set myself three goals:
- Eat more fruit - instead of that biscuit, I'll aim for a piece of fruit instead.
- Park further away - I always like to get the closest park to my destination. Now, I'll aim for a carpark and walk that extra distance.
- Get more sleep - yes, I may go to bed early but that book I'm reading is sooo good. Now, I'll set myself a cut-off time.
These are small steps but can make a difference. As they become habit forming I can add other goals.
Every little change we make does create a difference. A lot of little changes may add up to a significant improvement to our wellbeing. Let's make 2019 the year we start to live healthier, live smarter, live happier and live life to the full.