Kick-start a healthy new you

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Photograph: Jonathan Eldridge

Okay, so another new year, new term and what seems like the majority of people vowing ‘this year I’m going to get fit, eat healthily or lose weight’. It has almost become clichéd, including all the hints and tips you find scattered around the internet and in every magazine you pick up. However, it is true that for many of us, after the seemingly constant eating over Christmas and New Year, we may benefit from a new refreshing diet and outlook on life.

It’s all about setting goals and being realistic. The general term ‘healthy eating’ may sound simple, but perhaps narrow this down to something specific. For example, you could cut down takeaways to once a month, or cut out crisps and chocolate throughout the week. Choosing your goals makes it easier to stick to as you know exactly what to aim for and what not to eat (or not to over eat in my case!). However, saying I want to lose a stone in a month will never work; you need to have small manageable chunks of time in order to achieve.

By being realistic you are actually on the path to making your New Year’s resolution a permanent thing. If you make small and manageable changes to your diet and exercise routine then this becomes your NEW routine and you will wonder why you never took the stairs instead of the lift or got off the bus a stop earlier before. The new routine will enable you to feel better about yourself, and enjoy the physical health benefits that come with it. So, here are just a couple of tips to help you on your way to a ‘happy and healthy new you’!

 

  1. Swap the bar of chocolate sat next to you while you slave away at endless assignments for a bowl of fruit. Whatever your favourite fruit is, cut it up into small chunks and snack on that throughout the day. Less calorific, still sugary enough to curb your sweet tooth, and fruit will also provide you with more energy to work! Soon this will become a good habit, and indulging in tempting chocolate bars will become a thing of the past.
  2. We all know how many times we vow we will go to the gym, yet running for an hour on a treadmill is not the only way to keep active. I’ve found swimming is a fantastic way to de-stress amidst University life when filled with endless deadlines and exams. Taking a friend ensures the time goes much quicker as you natter up and down the pool, and this will soon become another regular weekly activity you can’t live without.

 

Organisation is key in achieving something new, so if you can’t decide what to have for tea, then make a plan! This enables you to think through what you’re eating so you can then make some healthier swaps. Likewise, plan into your timetable when you can fit in an hour swimming session or an hour at the gym, and again this will become second nature, just like your lectures.

Do it with friends! Trying to achieve a new, healthier you is often much easier with the support of your friends and housemates. Watching your housemates scoff their faces with Domino’s pizza tends to be a killer (unless you have the will power of a god), so if you’re all facing the same dilemma, you can help each other resist. Sometimes it makes you feel a lot guiltier for sneaking in a chocolate biscuit if you have to ‘fess up to your friends too.