Inspired by all the success stories about former coach potatoes who ended up running a marathon in one year, you go all in. You work out at the gym five days a week and you start a juice fast before definitely cutting out all sugar, gluten, dairy, alcohol and caffeine all at once.
At first, the positive effects of exercising and healthy eating rub off on the rest of your life. You wake up early and refreshed and you have no trouble saying “no, thank you” to that piece of chocolate cake on birthday parties.
Until after two or three weeks, life suddenly throws you off course. After being up all night with your child, you’re desperate for another shot of caffeine, and you miss your yoga class because you’re so swamped with work. When you finally get home at night, you feel too tired to cook up a healthy bowl of quinoa with grilled vegetables.
Of course you’ll jump back in the saddle tomorrow, but you can’t shake that feeling that you’ve somehow failed. It starts to feel like a lot of effort to keep up this perfectly healthy lifestyle, and the next time life gets in the way of your resolutions, you automatically fall back into your old routine of crashing in front of the TV with a microwaved meal after a stressful day.
Does this story sound familiar?
A total transformation of your health surely sounds appealing, but too many drastic lifestyle changes at once usually isn’t the recipe for longterm success. Research shows we only have a limited amount of willpower each day. So when you want to improve your health, it’s much easier to focus on creating small, doable habits – those automated, healthy behaviours you do without thinking about it.
Start small: pick one tiny health habit at a time, until it’s a natural part of your routine.
1. Spice up your food with herbs
Adding herbs and spices to your meals is one of the tastiest ways to boost your health. Not only are these seasonings packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that protect your health, but herbs and spices can also be used to replace salt and sugar in recipes without sacrificing flavour. Spicy food may even help you control your weight, as studies show people eat smaller portions of meals with fat-burning chili peppers than of bland-tasting dishes.
So make a conscious effort to spice up your favorite foods. You can sprinkle cinnamon on your cappuccino, sip on a fresh mint tea or cook up a flavoursome dinner – make your own tomato sauce with garlic, basil and oregano; add ginger or turmeric to a stir fry; or toss fresh parsley into your salad.