In February it’s tempting to dump your healthy resolutions and sneak a cheeky cigarette or a glass of wine. Research suggests that nearly 50% of us make New Year’s resolutions but only 8 per cent go on to keep them through the year – not a great success rate!
It’s common to overeat in December, and it’s also common to want to cut out everything that seems unhealthy in the New Year. It’s more important though to create a diet that’s sustainable and includes a treat every now and then. The kind of treats you choose can make a big difference to whether you’re able to stay motivated to lose weight and stick to your resolutions later on.
By choosing treats that are deceptively healthy, you might find it easier to find self control and feel fulfilled at the same time:
1. Fatty foods
Dark chocolate, avocado, nuts, salmon, pumpkin seeds, olives… all of these foods in moderation contain fat that is essential for your brain, and they’re also delicious! The health benefits include managing your mood, fighting fatigue and even controlling your weight.
2. Sun tanning
Following from the success of a certain vampire trilogy, pale is beautiful and sun tanning is not as fashionable as it once was. But don’t underestimate the value of 20 minutes walking in the sunshine soaking up that bone-strengthening, stress-reducing vitamin D.
3. A nice cup of Joe
The latest on the great coffee-health debate is that coffee consumption (even decaf!) is associated with reduced risk for type 2 Diabetes. Although many health experts advocate for the health benefits of coffee, it is still a stimulant and should be drunk in moderation.
4. Eat your pudding
Don’t deny yourself something that your body is really craving. If you’re physically hankering for a double fudge brownie, satiating this need is far better than loading up on a second helping of chips at dinnertime.
5. Get hungry
Eating only when it’s convenient or when you’re feeling stressed, bored, angry or sad rather than when genuinely hungry is really easy. Mindless snacking – at work and in front of the TV, for example – is another easy trap to fall into. Just for one day, plan your meals and snacks and try to take time to enjoy them (remember to stop eating before you’re full!).
Rewarding yourself with healthy incentives is a way to escape the kind of deprivation cycle that often comes with January resolutions. By paying attention to your hunger and satisfying your cravings (within moderation), you can keep your promises and stay healthy too.
Click on our accompanying infographic “Shapeshifter” from AXA PPP healthcare, one of the UK’s biggest health insurance providers, to find out what shape your body would be in if you lived as if it was Christmas every day…