We show you how to give yourself the ultimate inner makeover, in five easy steps.
HAVE A EATING PLAN
Eating the right foods helps us maintain a healthy mind, which is why it’s important to know what food to eat and why. Fruit and vegetables are your miracle foods, as they provide the right amount of nutrients and vitamins to promote a strong immune system and help with digestive health and steady energy levels. For vegetables, be sure to eat plenty of leafy greens, as they’re a great source of iron and chlorophyll and are great for digestive health and cleansing. Lots of fruit (though high in sugar if eaten too regularly) is also a great source of vitamin C, E and zinc. Of course, keep up your protein intake too, with lean meat and fish, as they will also provide you with a steady amount of energy throughout the day.
SET YOURSELF GOALS
‘A goal is a dream with a deadline,’ says clinical psychologist Dr Janet Hall. Setting yourself goals in life not only gives you something to work towards and look forward to, it also gives you an immense amount of satisfaction when you’ve achieved it. Here’s where to begin. Think about the things you’ve always wanted in life – from losing a few kilos or getting your dream job to owning your own piece of real estate. Dr Hall recommends writing down the goal you’d like to achieve and giving yourself a date or deadline to work towards. ‘It’s believed that if you write down your goal and the expected date for achieving it, the universe actually helps by speeding up the process and you get your goal much sooner than you think,’ she says. Well, there’s no harm in trying, is there?
PERFECT YOUR SLEEPING PATTERN
We all know that we need eight hours of sleep a night, but how many of us actually get it? First up, take a look at your bedding. Is your mattress comfy? Are you happy with your pillow or are you waking up with a stiff neck or headache most mornings? If you’re not entirely confident answering these questions, you should go out on the hunt for a new bedroom package. Secondly, take note of your diet throughout the day. Studies show that the food you eat can also interfere with a good night’s sleep, so avoid rich meals for dinner and caffeine in the afternoon/night is also a definite no-no. Lastly, keep your bedroom for a place to rest only. Remove the TV and try reading on the lounge instead of in bed. Keep your mind inactive when you hit the pillow, and you’ll find you’ll relax and fall asleep much faster.
We all hate the word ‘diet’ and one of the main reasons for that is because it means we’re banning ourselves from the things we really enjoy: treat foods. While maintaining a balanced diet and keeping up your daily exercise routine is important, don’t be afraid to treat yourself every now and then for all your hard work during the week. Whether it’s a delicious three-course meal at your favourite five-star restaurant, or an ice-cream or chocolate after dinner, enjoy it. However (yes, there’s always an however!) be sure that you’re not eating those Tim Tams to combat boredom or perk yourself up after a tough day. According to The Biggest Loser trainer, Michelle Bridges, emotional eating is the biggest downfall for many who struggle with their weight. ‘The key is to identify emotional eating as it is happening and in doing so understand what triggers an eating binge,’ says Michelle. Ask yourself if you’re really hungry before running to the pantry. If the answer is no, and your last meal was in fact, not that long ago, distract yourself with an activity. Go for a walk, take a shower, or do some house chores.
MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Whether it’s job related or general lifestyle worries, we all encounter bouts of stress at some time in our lives, so it’s important to know how to manage it before it takes a serious hold. Exercising is a great way to relieve tension, especially when you take it outdoors. Go for a walk or jog to allow yourself to clear your head of negative thoughts, and you’ll find that sweating it out will help burn all that pent up energy. Taking regular breaks at work is also known to help reduce work-related stress, so be sure to take your hour-long lunch break (if you’re entitled to an hour for lunch, why not take it?) and occasionally walk away from your desk for a minute to take a breather. Other ways of relieving stress are taking the time to catch up with friends and doing things you enjoy, meditating, having a therapeutic massage, and sex. That’s right, a good love-making session is also known to reduce stress levels.