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Spring has finally arrived and now is the perfect time to spring clean your lifestyle, say goodbye to any health hindering habits and make a few changes to see you make the most of the rest of 2019!

Here I share with you 5 easy changes you can start making today which focus on the 3 main aspects of health – movement, mind and diet:

Increase your steps
I am sure you have heard it before, but walking and incidental movement is just as important (if not more) as structured or routine based exercise. Some of us fall into the trap of thinking a 30-40min work out, counteracts the negative consequences of sitting at our desk all day. However, in reality, pairing this work out with a high step count and incidental exercise is key to supporting health. Thankfully, walking more shouldn’t take up too much extra time and is free. The only challenge is prioritising it enough to make it part of your day. Its also important to remember going from 2,000 daily steps to 10,000 in one go, may not be achievable so aim to increase by around 1,000 daily over the course of a week or two.

Practice self-compassion daily
Have you ever stopped to consider the inner conversation you have with yourself daily? Is the tone used, one of criticism or compassion? If the former, this spring, try showing more compassion towards yourself and see how your relationship with yourself and others changes, for the better. This is a very beneficial tool to use when it comes to our relationship with food. For example, if you eat a food which you feel guilty about, the usual inner conversation is “you have no restraint, you’re a bad person, you’ve blown it’ etc, this sort of talk, only causes us to feel worse, which keeps the cycle going. Instead, be kind to yourself, tell yourself that you are doing the best you can, you’ve got this and everyday is a new opportunity.

Start a hobby
What do you do just for fun or me time? Many of us struggle to answer this question because most of the things we do are done because there is a tangible outcome or to please others, including socialising when we may not feel like it! Write a list of activities that you get pleasure from and nothing else and start trying to include time for such activities or hobbies daily.

Try a new meal each week
If you have been stuck on autopilot throughout winter and eating the same range of meals, start to break away from routine and aim to try at least one new meal per week. Changing your meals not only means you will be trying new ingredients which can mean we are getting a wider spread of nutrients but also prevents us from getting bored by our food. When we are bored, we are more likely to rely on unhealthy convenience food or disconnect from our food and not feel satisfied. Jump online or go through your cookbook selection and bookmark some new meals, pick a night to try it, write your shopping list and make sure it happens!

Add an extra serve of colour to each meal
There has been a lot of talk lately around how eating more plants is something we should all be doing to improve health. I have shared previously ways to achieve this but another way to eat more plants, without really thinking or too much effort, is to aim to add an extra serve of colour to each meal. For example:

  • if your breakfast is:
    • vegemite on toast > add some sliced avocado
    • eggs on toast > add a handful of rocket or spinach
    • porridge or cereal > add some berries
    • protein smoothie > add some fruit
  • if your lunch is:
    • tuna & rice > add some spinach and leftover roasted veg
    • ham and cheese toastie > add some tomato and spinach/rocket
    • baked good from the bakery > purchase a greek salad to have on the side
    • leftover Bolognese or curry > stir through some fresh spinach leaves
  • if your dinner is:
    • stir-fry meat & veg > pick another colourful veg to add such as red capsicum, bok choy, red cabbage or spinach
    • curry > instead of just meat and sauce, add pumpkin, sweet potato, capsicum and spinach
    • steak & 3 veg > add some home made guccamole and a fresh tomato salsa

Enjoy the change of season and I hope some of the above ideas, serve as inspiration to make a change to your lifestyle, for the better!