Am I the only one who feels like this has been the shortest January lived so far? Very dramatic yes but too short for a January. Oh and less cruel I must say. For me at least. But regardless we move.
This first month has been packed with lots of activities and it could be the reason I feel it is short that one could forget it is the first month of the year. There is always something about the flip of the calendar, there is always a renewed energy to reinvent and re-strategize certain things in life although this year I have heard so many people say they will go slow about it given the way way 2020 turned out. Being an ambassador for healthy living, let me share 6 habits that I would recommend to ride with in this year.
1. Look out for the seasons
Who has heard the notion that eating healthy is expensive? A friend of mine confessed that he would love to eat fruits everyday as recommended but they are just expensive and he cannot keep up. Well guess what, it is just about time you stopped buying expensive health foods that you cannot keep up with and start buying seasonally. An apple a day keeps the doctor away true but if you know you can afford to spend 1000/= for just one apple daily, how about finding out what fruits are in season that time. Is it bananas, mangoes or pineapples? When things are in season, they tend to be more affordable so you will not feel the strain of eating healthy. If peas are not in season and the prices are not favorable, what alternative legume is in season? Buy that and wait for the peas to bounce back. It usually does not take long. One way of knowing whether a particular food item is in season or not, you will see a difference in the prices on the market to what you expect them to be.
2. Embrace variety in your meals
The habit of eating the same exact thing everyday needs to stop, even when this is a healthy choice. Variety is the key of health. Having the same thing every day, week on week is never going to help you reach peak energy levels. I understand that at times this is what we have most available to us but I also cannot ignore the fact that it could be the most convenient choice in terms of cooking. The way this can be beaten is by planning way in advance. This is something we call meal planning where you sit and brain storm on the meals that you plan to have the whole week for yourself together with your family. Variety can be as simple as having beans on Monday with potatoes and dodo to having beans in groundnut paste with rice and Sukuma on Tuesday. When you plan in advance, it helps you to be well prepared rather than trying to figure out what to cook after a frustrating day at work.
3. Look out for interesting healthy recipes
Making healthy meals does not require complicated recipes. The trick is to make the recipe very easy until it becomes a default. Very many times when you talk about recipes, very many people are quick to say that they do not have an oven so those recipes can not work for them. Well just to help us understand, a recipe is a set of instructions that describes how to prepare or make something, especially a dish of prepared food. So looking out for interesting healthy recipes can be as simple as looking at someone cook a particular dish in a different way than you cook it or even trying to cook something a little different from the way you normally do. Some time back I visited a friend and saw the way she cooked her posho (ugali). She added butter and salt as she cooked it and boom I had discovered a new recipe. A healthy one at that because this person had added value to the ordinary dish that I have eaten for most of my life.
4. Band wagon dieting needs to take a rest
Put up your hand if you are currently on a diet because you have seen it being overly advertised online or because your friend said this is the wonder diet to get rid of your tummy.
Many people have fallen victim of attempting to do diets that are not tailored to their nutritional needs only to be disappointed later when it does not work or even harmful to their own health. There is a lady I know who was recently diagnosed with scurvy ( a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, characterized by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds ) and this is because this lady was convinced to do the keto diet as it it would be her ‘wonder drug’ for the tummy she had that had refused to go ever since having her twins. Unfortunately this lady decided to take up this diet and even did not consult a professional and ended up doing it wrong hence falling victim of scurvy. If you must subscribe to a diet, at least reach out to a professional to give you an informed guide.
5. Break a sweat doing something you enjoy
The pressure to stay fit and have a ‘perfect’ shape is real and unfortunately very many people begin an unending journey of things they do not exactly enjoy only to fall out in just a matter of weeks. I for one have been a one embarrassingly unfit human but each time I would try to do exercises, I would give up on day two because by this day every part of my body is screaming in pain. After so many failed attempts, a dear friend of mine suggested that I should try to do dance routines since I love to dance. From the very first day I tried, I knew that this relationship would last. My fitness has greatly improved and it is something that I do without even trying so hard. So how about you look for something you enjoy doing and you shoot two birds with one stone.
6. Your body is not their body
Last but not least, the pain of comparison is not worth it. We have seen people want to alter their bodies for the perfect bodies they have seen on Instagram. I am sorry to break it to you that the bodies you see online are not all a result of healthy eating or exercise. Many of them are a product of filters and body shapers. Let the goal here be to adopt healthy eating habits and lifestyle and like they say, the rest will fall in line. Do not forget to have routine medical checkups rather than waiting when the body is falling apart.
May this year be a year of rediscovery in terms of our healthy life styles. We can make healthy fun and enjoyable