7 Ways To Be Kinder To Your Health23.04.20
I have a question for you.
What is your go-to ‘vice’ food?
This could be a large pizza from Dominoes, your favourite biscuit or sumptuous chocolate bar.
Visualize the taste. The smell and the texture as you eat it.
How does it make you feel?
I bet for most of you the answer is guilty.
But why? It makes you feel good, doesn’t it?
Let me explain why this happens so often.
Adding a little understanding of what it means to be healthy is important when it comes to being kinder to yourself.
It will leave you feeling less guilty and more focussed on a lifestyle full of health.
You see, health is much more than whether a food is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you. But in the quest for understanding what it means to be healthy, we often turn to the media for advice.
Looking at the newspaper or news station on TV, you often get met with health ‘absolutes’.
‘Studies have shown that ‘x’ food has shown to increase your chance of ‘y’ disease by ‘z’ percent.
Will this have an influence on your emotional connection to that particular food? Of course, it will.
But will you stop eating it altogether? I doubt it. The outcome is the inevitable pang of guilt. You believe that you are harming your health by eating said food.
So how can we be kinder on ourselves?
Through my 15 years of experience, there are steps to understanding health that will work for you.
These will contribute to a healthier outlook on your daily life.
Want to know what they are?
Understanding context and perspective in health.
Every decision you make will have its upsides and downsides. From the food choices you make to the exercise you do. From how you choose to relax to the way you deal with stress.
That chocolate bar you ate and felt guilty about. Is it bad for your health?
A Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Physiology study shows the effects on the body when eating processed foods on a regular basis.
If you looked at these negative effects then sure, it may have a detrimental effect over time. But wait, didn’t it make you feel good when you ate it?
Surely mental health counts towards overall health?
A Health Service and Population Research Department at King’s College London study outlined the importance of psychological well-being in recovery.
This enhances further the need to give your mental health the attention it needs
So, I ask you again, is it healthy for you?
The answer lies in your individual context and will be dictated to by one thing – Your goals.
To be kinder on yourself you MUST have a goal.
A recent study showed the interaction between dietary and life goals.
It suggests that having goals can have a positive impact on a person’s ability to achieve dietary and other health goals.
It showed that having consistent goals leads to improved levels of success in all parts of your life.
Essentially, you end up being kinder on yourself in every aspect of life.
Goals are the driving force behind every decision we make. From food to training, jobs to family.
Without a focussed outcome we are exposed to feeling guilty or anxious. Anxious about things that would be acceptable if it contributed to your goal.
Let’s look at the chocolate bar example further.
If including it makes you feel good and you continue to make progress towards your goal, does this mean you’re being kind to yourself?
In my opinion, yes!
Start your day the right way
I’m sure you would have read or heard about how important routine is both at the start of your day and the end. Studies seem to back this up.
But which way is right for you?
Well, in all honesty, there is no one way to do it. The fun here is definitely in a little experimentation.
Below is a list of activities that I and my clients practice. As you will find out, they add many benefits to you to keep both energy and spirits high throughout the day.
You can start with one or go all in and put in place a combination of strategies to build a new, healthy morning routine.
- Head straight to the shower upon waking, start with tepid water to wake you up immediately. A recent blog from Tony Robbins outlines the benefits of cold water therapy on your health. The blast of cold water will make you feel focussed!
- Make your bed! This small win will allow you to keep ticking those health boxes throughout the day. In fact, there are health benefits to doing this. The guys at spruce.com outline those benefits.
- Drink some water. Half a litre throughout your morning routine will improve almost every bodily function. Physically and mentally you become more prepared for the day ahead.
- Have Breakfast. Getting good quality nutrients at the start of the day will affect decision making. Not only that but your focus and productivity too. If you’re struggling to find the time to fit in breakfast, why not invest in a meal prep plan and get KBK to do it for you? Or, if you’re unsure of the benefits of using a meal prep service, I’ve written a blog on ‘9 reasons why UK meal prep delivery is worth it‘.
Stay hydrated all day
It’s very simple.
Drinking more water and staying hydrated improves the health of every single cell in your body.
From skin to eyes, muscles to organs and bones to the brain, every process within your body requires water.
Want to focus more? Get hydrated.
Want to be more focussed at work? Get hydrated.
Want to increase your motivation? You know what to do.
Gotta keep moving
When I mean move, I mean move!!
In any way, you can. This could be walking, running, biking, training, group classes or anything in-between.
Did you know that walking can utilise a good amount of calories each day?
For example, did you know that 1,000 steps (which equates to roughly 8-12 minutes of walking will use up to 40 calories? (depending on walking pace and stride).
Imagine hitting the recommended 10,000 steps (Roughly 90-120 minutes of moving) per day. That could be up to an extra 300-400 calories burnt. Couple these burnt calories with a meal prep delivery service and you’ve got a recipe for weight loss success.
Imagine what achieving 10,000 steps a day would do for your physical and mental health.
That’s 300-400 calories a day while using that precious time to relax, recover and clear your mind. It’s a win-win!
The benefits are clear. A combination of outdoor activities and resistance training can protect your joints. It can improve your physical appearance and leave you with a more optimistic and energetic outlook. Re-invent lifestyle has outlined these benefits in a recent blog.
I go into more detail as to how your daily steps can help with weight loss in a different article. There is even a nice graph to look at!
Allow yourself to recover
How you recover both physically and mentally is the ultimate kindness. But it is something that as a country, we are notoriously poor at. We work long hours, look after partners and kids, prioritise our phones over our rest.
But what kind of recovery is right?
Again, like the morning routine, you will find your own sweet spot.
The below list will certainly enhance your health during your personal recovery time.
It is something that I use myself every day as well as clients to keep energy and performance levels high.
- Turn off all screens (blue light) at least 30 minutes before sleep. This includes phones and laptops. Research suggests that this blue light can affect your health over time.
- Follow points two and three!
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. This blog outlines the benefits of getting the right amount of z’s.
- Massages and other remedial therapies offer many benefits above relaxing!
- Journaling. The practice of ‘brain dumping’ as I like to call it, will give your brain the space it needs to recover. Rochester university wrote about the benefits.
Get yourself organised
Have you ever felt disorganised and unable to make those all-important decisions?
I know I have.
Planning and preparing for your day or even better, your week, can have a dramatic effect on your health.
It allows you to have a clear vision of the important tasks that need prioritising over those that can wait. It also gives you a more specific idea of where you can fit in your food sourcing and meal prep, training and any other activities.
Do you think a weekly plan would help you to achieve more and deal with stress?
I know it would.
There’s Logic in self-care
I hope this article has given you a simple but good insight into what being kinder to yourself means. It isn’t something that you ask the universe for. It is a 7 step plan.
One that, when implemented daily, will give you everything you need to live a more positive and healthy life.
It begins with having a broad understanding of health.
Follow this understanding with a clear goal.
It doesn’t matter what your goal is. It may be fat loss, muscle gain, a performance goal or an event-based outcome.
But, make sure that your goal is specific. Set a time for achievement and prepare your environments (home, work). This will allow you to connect to the process.
Once your goal is set, your plan will allow you to be more organised daily. It will transfer to how you eat. How you sleep, train and recover. And it will fit with your new positive outlook on health.