Tips to transform your health and wellbeing in 2020
Make little changes to better manage your health and wellbeing – it’s never too late. The start of a new year and a new decade is a great motivator!
It’s easy to make a pledge to set new health and wellbeing goals but it can be hard to stay on track. With the new year ahead of us, now is the time to hit refresh on your health goals and kick the year off with a healthy start.
The little habits you form now will not only help manage your health and wellbeing but also help prevent chronic health conditions in the future.
Did you know that being overweight or obese not only makes you feel sluggish and tired, it also increases your risk for chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, osteoarthritis, mental health issues and some cancers.
Here are some tips to help you manage your health and wellbeing and make a big difference to your health in 2020.
Calculate your BMI
Typically, this is measured by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI score will determine whether you are in a healthy weight range for your height. Get your score by using a BMI calculator.
If you are overweight or obese any weight loss is beneficial, however it’s good to aim to lose around 1-4 kg per month. If you’re in a healthy weight range, keep maintaining any regular physical activity and eat foods based on your needs.
Food for thought
Try to think of your main meals as a break from your busy day and as time to be mindful of what you’re eating. This can be done by slowing down the speed that you eat, aiming to consume a main meal for at least 20 minutes and listening to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness.
Aim to eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables per day, choose wholegrain cereals and avoid food and drink high in sugar and saturated fat like energy drinks.
For heart health, the Baker Institute recommend reducing saturated and trans fats found in foods such as deep-fried foods, butter, coconut milk/cream, marbled and fat cuts of meat.
Try and incorporate healthy proteins into your meals; this includes tofu, legumes, nuts/seeds, fresh seafood, eggs and poultry as well as lean meats.
If you already have high cholesterol try to pick reduced fat dairy products. When cooking add herbs and spices for flavour instead of salt, and if using fats, try to stick with healthier options such as olive oil and avocados.
READ MORE: Discover our delicious and health recipes
Drink more water
Drinking water is crucial for health and wellbeing, but many people do not drink enough. Our body is made up of 60 per cent water so it’s crucial to hydrate to refresh our bodies of the nutrients water provides.
The best way to drink more water is to anticipate thirst. Don’t wait for thirst to hit. Drink water throughout the day by keeping a water bottle handy or track how many glasses you’ve had on your phone. Many studies show a link between increased water consumption and weight loss.
Reduce the booze
Alcohol may cause weight gain because it stops your body from burning fat, it's high in kilojoules, it can make you feel hungry, and it can lead to poor food choices (hello, 3am kebab). Studies show that as we get older our daily level of alcohol consumption increases.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Aim to increase your number of alcohol-free days per week and try to stick to a minimum of two alcohol free days per week. If you’ve got a special occasion, try to limit your celebrations to two standard drinks or try a mocktail! There are lots of fantastic mocktail recipes.
READ MORE: How to drink alcohol more safely
Try and incorporate more movement and activity in your day; take the stairs, get off a stop or two early if you’re on public transport, try to stand up more during your day.
Combining exercise with a healthy diet is a more effective way to lose weight than calorie restriction alone. Exercise can prevent or even reverse the effects of certain chronic health conditions.
Aim for at least 30 mins of physical activity each day. This doesn’t have to be in the gym, simply take the dog for a walk or go for a swim. If you find it hard to get motivated use an app that tracks your progress, enlist a friend or try a different activity.
Medibank offers Live Better activities to help get you moving.
Get lots of sleep
Not having a good night’s sleep can lead to poor food choices and can decrease our motivation for exercise. Aim for at least 7 hours sleep per night; anything less than that is linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Tips for better sleep:
- don’t look at electronic devices at least 1 – 2 hours before going to bed,
- limit the amount of light and noise in your room,
- reduce alcohol consumption as this can trigger disruptive sleep,
- try not to have caffeine at least 6 hours before bed,
- try and maintain the room at 15 – 20 degrees,
- keep up with regular exercise.
Set achievable goals to create healthy behaviours. Often, especially when it comes to new year’s resolutions, we set goals that are too unrealistic. Reframe your goals to be more positive and compassionate to yourself, rather than negative self-belief. For example: think less about being on a diet and more so about the benefits of a new and healthy lifestyle.
When it comes to goal setting in the new year, try to think SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. Pick one of the simple tips listed in this article like 30 minutes of exercise each day or swap alcohol for mocktails. If you achieve these small goals it will boost your confidence and motivate you to keep making healthy choices.
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