It’s so tempting to say “the diet starts tomorrow” right before you have one last hoorah and a boozy, indulgent weekend. Intuitively you know it’s not the best way to prepare yourself, but there’s a rebellious voice in you and it dares you to do it anyway. Maybe the sense of failure from indulging will fortify your resolve for the restriction that lies ahead.
There’s just something so tempting about starting with that “clean” slate at the beginning of the week. Manana you cry! But the truth is that there’s no right or wrong time to begin your body transformation journey.
Body transformations don’t really have a set period — no clear beginning or sweet release at the end — or at least they shouldn’t. When we start to think about our body transformations in that way, we separate the journey from our everyday lives — and that’s when results stall or simply become unsustainable. It’s why our method focuses on long-lasting, sustainable and effective lifestyle changes that become habitual.
Our four-pillar method is built upon the importance of positive habits; eat beautifully, workout intelligently, think successfully and live well. We know that your life is hectic and that you need a plan that will stand up to your lifestyle. So we take time upfront to understand your lifestyle and build in habits that are flexible and tailored to your needs. There’s no beginning, no end, just a “new normal” that we jointly create.
7 Positive Habits to Adopt Today
You probably have thousands of habits that you’ve naturally built into your daily routine without giving them a second thought, such as going through the motions of having breakfast at a particular time or brushing your teeth. All those little acts that seem like second nature to you are your habits. Positive habits are the same — they are things that we do daily without thinking about them that boost our health and well-being.
Unlike fad diets and extreme exercise regimes, positive habits don’t require inhuman levels of self-control because once they form, they become self-perpetuating. That’s why the Louise Parker TRANSFORM programme builds new positive habits into your life to help you to sleep better, eat more beautifully, workout more intelligently and live your happiest, most healthy life. Once established, they’re easy to keep up with and will keep you feeling your best.
And the best bit about forming positive habits, is that the consequence of your habit change are the results you’re looking to achieve. Whether it’s weight loss, boosted mood or improved performance. It’s not a choice between lifestyle change or amazing results. You really can have both.
Here are seven things that you can do today to build up positive habits and to transition into your “new normal” effortlessly. Try with building one or two of these habits into your daily routine and see for yourself the difference a few tweaks can truly make.
1. Start the Morning with Lemon Water and a Hearty Breakfast
The morning is important. A 2012 study by the American Psychological Association reveals that self-identified “morning people” claimed to feel “happier and healthier than night owls.” But whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, whatever time you get up, starting your day right is integral. Establishing a healthy morning ritual helps to jump-start your day, get everything moving, balancing your mood and setting you on a healthy track for the rest of the day.
So, start your morning by hydrating with a delicious cup of warm lemon water. Simply add lemon juice to warm water and drink first thing (do remember to drink it even before brushing your teeth to help protect your teeth and gums). If you find you struggle to drink enough water during the day, this citrusy morning brew can ensure you don’t start on the back foot!
Once you’ve finished off your lemon water, it’s time for a hearty breakfast to keep you full of energy all morning long. Try Louise’s delicious smokey paprika mushrooms for an alternative to the same old toast-and-butter brekkie combo.
2. Visualise Your New Normal in Technicolour at the Beginning of the Day
Now that you’ve broken your fast and refreshed your body with lemon water and a hearty breakfast, it’s time to stimulate your brain. In the morning take some time to visualise your new normal in technicolour. Think about what you want from the day, the week, the year. Think about the kind of food you want to eat, the type of exercise you want to complete, your goals and ambitions — and give these images substance and life in your mind.
Create a clear vision that can motivate you through your day and that pushes you through the afternoon lag. Be bold, think big, and get specific — the clearer and more fleshed out your vision of your “new normal”, the easier it will be to get yourself through the day. We encourage our clients to “think in ink” – taking 5 minutes to write it down helps you to focus and reinforce the importance of your goals.
3. Prep Your Lunch
Many of us don’t have the luxury to cook nutritious lunches during the week when we’re at the office or ferrying children around. And for all too many of us, that means we opt for the quick over the healthy option. But it doesn’t have to be that way because a little bit of forward thinking prep can go a long way. As the saying goes, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”.
Taking your own, homemade lunch to work is the easiest way of ensuring that your midday meal is healthy and delicious. Louise’s Tex Mex tortillas are easy to prepare the night before and are quick to assemble all while packing a serious flavour punch.
If you preparing your lunches isn’t your thing, taking a little time to plan a nutritious lunch you can grab on the go is a great alternative. There are loads of great highstreet options these days. In the UK, Pret a Manger has a great range of salads which are perfectly balanced and fit the bill for optimum nutrition.
4. Take a Stroll at Lunch Time
Days at work can be long and intense — and for many of us, that means we’re reluctant to take a break from our desk. Instead, we opt to eat at our desks — in the shortest time possible. A recent survey has found that only one in five of workers actually take a break from their workspace — but that respite can improve your concentration and boost productivity.
So, don’t be afraid to step out of the office and clear your head on your lunch break. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Take the opportunity to get some vitamin D from the sun, to feel the breeze on your face, and clock up some of your daily steps. It might feel like you don’t have the time to do this, but you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient you become in the afternoons once you introduce a quick walk. You’ll earn the 15 minutes back and more by being more efficient and making sharper decisions.
5. Indulge in Some Post-Work You-Time
Our lives are full of often-conflicting responsibilities, and we are constantly required to balance our jobs with family life, household tasks and good old ‘life admin’. However, one responsibility we often neglect to give its due time is the responsibility we have towards ourselves. It’s vital to create a little pocket of time each day when you are your priority.
Taking ten minutes to sit quietly with a cup of tea, no phone, no chores, no emails — just you and your thoughts can work wonders. Remember, you deserve some time out to indulge your interests and dreams!
Walking has been shown to be the optimal relaxation activity. You use just enough brain power concentrating on stay upright and heading in the right direction that it interrupts your conscious thought. It’s why you arrive at your destination and can’t remember which route you took or what you thought about on the way – you’ve body has forced you to switch off and rest.
In his book “Peak Performance”, Brad Stulberg talks about this in detail and the importance of having peak rest if you want peak performance.
6. Do a Pre-Bedtime Digital Detox
Screens dominate our lives — be they phone screens, laptop screens, TV screens — and all that screen time can have some pretty negative effects. Some of the more hazardous include:
- Disruption of circadian rhythms — which means disrupted sleep
- Increase in the likelihood of Metabolic syndrome, a nasty combination of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure
- Eye strain and retina damage
While it’s not possible to steer completely clear of our screens and nor would we suggest it (there’s certainly a place for Netflix in our lives), committing to digitally detoxing for at least half an hour before you go to bed allows some screen respite and so is a habit well worth developing.
7. Create a Restorative Bedtime Ritual
Ending your day the right way is just as important as starting it correctly. Take the time to wash away the stresses of the day and indulge yourself in a decadent nighttime ritual. A warm shower or relaxing bath with a scented candle — whatever helps you to unwind — primes your body and mind for a restful, restorative sleep.
To learn more about how to build and develop healthy habits into your lifestyle, contact our expert team of personal trainers and certified dieticians.