Have you ever heard about the “21 days” – the time needed to form a new habit?
Well, that’s not entirely correct. According to science, it takes more than 2 months, on average, before a new behaviour becomes automatic – 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes for a new habit to form can vary widely, depending on the behaviour, the person, and the circumstances.
If you’ve led a healthy lifestyle before, it might take less time to form another healthy habit, but if it’s totally new to you, it might take around 2 months – so hang in there!
Start with realistic expectations
Having realistic expectations increases your chances of maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviours. If you’re being overly ambitious, the goal might seem unreachable and it’s easy to drop out of the wellness routine. For example, if you pressure yourself to lose weight too quickly, your plan to improve your overall health may backfire. Scientists found that obese people who expected to lose a lot of weight were more likely to drop out of a weight loss program within 6–12 months. Setting a more realistic and achievable goal can keep you from getting discouraged and may even lead to greater weight loss in the long run.
Small steps, one at a time, will make the biggest difference in the end!
Find out what motivates you most. When you’re tempted to indulge in unhealthy behaviours, remembering what motivates you – it can help you to stay on track.
Our bodies require movement every day to stay healthy. A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate - intensity aerobic physical activity a day, such as a fast walk, is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). You might know that exercising helps to maintain muscle mass, bone density and your cardiovascular health. But did you know that physical activity also contributes to your memory, sleep quality and works as an antidepressant?
If you find it difficult to achieve 30 minutes of exercise every day, try to walk or bicycle to school/work and always take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Incorporate physical activity into your everyday life. Remember: small steps make a big difference!
You know the saying “Out of sight, out of mind”? Well, the best way to be able to eat healthy is to keep unhealthy foods out of the house, and instead stock up on nutritious food.
Fill your fridge, freezer and pantry with:
• Colourful fruits and vegetables – rich in vitamins & minerals, preferably in all colours of a rainbow, which indicate different types of antioxidants
• Healthy protein – chicken, fish, legumes, nuts & seeds
• Healthy carbohydrates – wholegrains, potatoes, brown rice, grain bread
• Healthy fats – oils, nuts & seeds, avocado
Start the day with a high-protein breakfast
A good way to start your day is to have a well-balanced breakfast that contains adequate protein. It is more likely to enable you to maintain a stable blood sugar level and decrease the risk of overeating for the rest of the day.
Carry healthy snacks
Are you on the go a lot or do you have a problem with finding time to eat healthy? When you get too hungry in the afternoon, you may end up grabbing whatever is available, probably high-fat, processed food. Having healthy high-protein snacks on hand – instead of high-fat snacks – can help you fuel up between meals in a healthier way.
A healthy high-protein snack could also be handy when travelling, to keep you on your healthy track.
Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating is about using mindfulness, as in awareness, to attain a state of full attention when eating. The essential part of mindful eating is to eat slowly and to listen to your body’s signals, indicating when you’re hungry and when you’re satisfied. It takes around 15-20 minutes from when you start eating until you feel satiation. You should, for instance, chew each mouthful about 30 times. If you’re used to eating with cutlery, try to eat with chopsticks instead, since it might slow down your eating pace.
As you can imagine, eating mindfully can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, both for reducing stress levels and to maintain weight. Additionally, it may also reduce emotional eating, such as binge eating, due to achieving a better relationship with food.
Healthy eating with Wellness by Oriflame
One of the most convenient ways of ingesting healthy protein and carbohydrates in the amounts appropriate for you is to drink a Natural Balance Shake. It’s a healthy snack, high in protein and dietary fibre, that’s easy to have on the go. If you mix it with, for instance, fruits, rolled oats and some sort of milk, you have the perfect breakfast shake!
If you find it difficult to eat the recommended 4-5 servings of fruits & vegetables a day, you may want to consider our Multivitamin & Mineral supplement to fill the nutritional gaps. Your immune and digestive systems will thank you for it.
If you’re having difficulties eating the recommended 2 servings of oily fish per week, you could also consider our Omega 3 supplement to ensure your nutritional needs for optimal heart health and moisturised skin are met.
The stress response has previously been necessary for humankind to endure, but in modern society you rarely have to physically get into a fight to survive. Yet, the same processes are still happening in your body, whether you are experiencing a real threat or only running to catch a bus. The stress reaction is also triggered by psychological stress, for example, when you have much to do and have a deadline to deliver upon.
As you can imagine, stress in itself is not dangerous, it’s actually a survival mechanism. It’s the lack of recovery that can be dangerous. Most of us have experienced physical effects of stress, like headaches, increased heart rate and tight shoulders. These reactions to stress are our bodies’ way of telling us to pay attention and make some changes to reduce our stress levels.
Here are some simple stress relief techniques that can be performed anywhere, anytime;
• Breathe deeply several times
• Roll your shoulders
• Stretch your neck from side to side (bring your ear to your shoulder, hold for 10 seconds, relax and repeat on the other side)
• Smile! When we smile, the cheek muscles contract, which sends signals to the brain to release chemicals that help us relax
Sleep is essential for optimal health. Adults should sleep for 7 hours or more each night on a regular basis. During sleep, the body renews and regenerates itself. Sleep is beneficial for your memory. Lack of sleep for a long period of time is linked to unhealthy conditions such as; weight gain, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression and impaired immune function.
Some tips for better sleep
Unwind before going to sleep. Take a warm shower or bath before going to bed. Do not expose yourself to strong light or sound before going to sleep. Avoid staring into a screen. The blue light from your screen is reminiscent of daylight and interferes with the body’s circadian rhythm. Choose to unwind with a book, a much better option than surfing the internet. Make your bedroom a screen-freezone and keep the room dark and cool. Pull the curtains and avoid having a night light on. Keeping the temperature down signals to the body that it’s time to sleep.
Social interaction is a vital component of well-being and provides great benefits to the mind, body, and spirit. Research has shown that a sense of belonging to a community is an important part of longevity. A healthy social network can actually help you live up to 50% longer. So, nurture your relationships with friends, family and colleagues. Think of the people that give you the most joy and energy in the world. Why not call them right now to chat and have a laugh together?
Improving your habits and getting back on a healthy track is not always easy. However, several strategies can help you stick to your plan of reaching your goal, regardless if it’s weight management, being more physically active, less stressed or getting enough sleep.
Remember three things:
• Make realistic expectations and goals
• Find the things that keeps you motivated
• Make small steps, one at a time
In Oriflame, we don’t believe in quick fixes. Find out what works for you in the long term. Whatever your goal is – choose YOUR OWN steps that will make the biggest difference in your life.