New Year, New You? How to Turn Your Health Around in 2015

Jacqueline Harvey is a London based author, personal trainer & health consultant

The arrival of the New Year often gives people the push to try and turn their lives around, and for many of us, our New Year’s resolutions focus on ways we can change our lives in order to ensure that we become healthier. Making resolutions at the beginning of the year is a cultural practice that extends back to ancient times; the Romans began each year by making promises to the God Janus, the deity after whom the month is named and the Babylonians started their new years with a vow to the Gods to repay their debts. Nowadays, our New Year’s resolutions tend to be more focused upon healthy lifestyles and in keeping with this, here is my advice on some good resolutions to take up in the New Year and how to keep them.

Breakfast

Breakfast still remains the most important meal of the day in 2015, although more and more people have become accustomed to skipping this incredibly important meal, because they are apparently “too busy”. I talk about this in detail in my latest vlog, Do We Need To Eat Breakfast?

A key reason why it is so important for us to eat a meal when after we wake up is because, unless you are a prolific sleep eater, the act of sleeping means our bodies go without any food for around eight to ten hours. Eating a decent meal soon after we wake up enables us to put nutrients into our bodies and helps to stabilise our blood sugar levels. Eating breakfast also means that we are less likely to over-eat an unnecessarily high amount of calories during the day.

I also feel it is important to stress that we should try to include as many food groups as possible into our breakfasts including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and good fats such as avocado, almonds and flaxseed. A good example of a healthy breakfast is a bowl of porridge mixed with coconut oil or linseed oil to provide your body with some good fats.

Finding an exercise regime you enjoy

One of the most common News Year’s resolutions is a commitment to spending more time in the gym. Every January, gyms across the country are filled with new customers attempting to turn their lives around, but by mid-February most of these new attendees have abandoned their attempts to exercise more.

A key reason for this is that many people who decide to join the gym, or go more often, find it boring and to be a chore. One way to avoid such an early abandonment of your new year’s exercise resolution is to find a way to exercise that you enjoy. This could include looking at the many ways to exercise outdoors or researching a more experimental exercise regime that suits your personality. If you have the funds, hiring a personal trainer is a fantastic way to motivate you to continue attending the gym and can also help you in finding an exercise that you both enjoy and that will reap effective results.

Kicking Bad Habits

In the same way people begin attending the gym in the New Year, many of us frequently make resolutions to rid our lives of vices such as smoking or drinking too much when the New Year arrives. However, much like exercising, many who do make these resolutions find they abandon them all too early. An excellent way to kick one’s bad habits for good is to seek professional help. Here, in the UK we are fortunate enough to have the NHS provide several excellent Stop Smoking programmes. Additionally, I have always been a firm believer in the effectiveness of hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming and these alternative practices can be incredibly useful in helping people to lead healthier lifestyles.

The turn of a new year can also provide the impetus to rid our lives of less commonly discussed bad habits that are just as detrimental to our health, such as eating and drinking products with excess sugar or allowing ourselves to become stressed too frequently. There are numerous books that can help us to quit these habits as well as exercises, such as yoga and meditation, that can do wonders for providing the focus necessary to action your resolutions.

Finally, I would like to sign off by wishing you a very happy new year and a healthy and prosperous 2015.

If you are interested in discovering more about achieving your goals, please see my Consultations page.