Just like most people, I have a never ending list of things I’d like to do more of / less of / better, etc.! And it seems this year, I’ve finally started ticking some of those things off the list. Now we’re half way through February, it feels like they are no longer just new year fads, but things I have added to my routine. New habits that I plan to keep up. They’ve all definitely had a positive impact and I thought I’d share them with you to maybe inspire you to do the same.
I used to always floss my teeth when I was younger. Then I got out of the habit and really struggled to get back in to it. Now I floss my teeth every single night. I also use interdental brushes after flossing, and have bought an electric toothbrush too. The result is pretty obvious. My teeth look so much cleaner. And I’m annoyed with myself that I didn’t do it sooner. Yes, I’m spending even more time in the bathroom before bed (sorry Sean!), but it’s so worth it for the health of my teeth.
2. Dog Walking
When we first got Ned, I was 4 months pregnant with Ella. I used to walk him every day and, when Ella was born, that continued. It was part of our day. Then when Sienna came along, it all became a huge effort. And what used to be a nice part of our day, became a really stressful one. There would be the odd day that Ned wouldn’t get walked, and I felt really bad about that. Now, me and Ned head out every evening, as soon as the girls are in bed. We go for a 25 minute power walk. And I’m really enjoying the head space. I used to be more of a ‘flop on the sofa’ kind of person as soon as they went to bed. I think getting some fresh air early evening has really helped me sleep, gather my thoughts, and obviously Ned has really benefited too. As soon as the girls are in bed, he jumps all over me knowing what’s next!
3. Giving Up Sugar
This is the one that seems most extreme, and something I would imagine a lot of people think they wouldn’t be able to do. But it honestly is not that difficult at all. Now, I’m not talking a 100% sugar ban here. I still drink alcohol, and I have naturally occurring sugars too, like honey and fruit. Plus, I don’t scrutinise labels, and still have ketchup with chips! But I don’t have cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks, chocolate, sweets, ice cream, and so on, that you would typically associate with being sugary. I did it in September, planning to go sugar-free for a month, and I didn’t find it that hard, so carried on until around mid-October. Then I slowly started to cave, began having little treats, then Christmas came along, and I was back to being a sugar eater. As soon as the 1st January came round, I stopped again. I don’t really plan on ever really having sugar again. Maybe a holiday or birthday treat. But that’s about it. Once you get past the first two weeks, the craving and need goes away, and I no longer look longingly at desserts. I find I just don’t want them. I used to always have an energy slump around 2pm. Every single afternoon. I never get that any more. I still feel tired through the day, but not exhausted like I used to. I don’t seek out the next sugar hit. I feel so much better. And I feel as though my metabolism may be improving too. For someone with a horrifically rubbish metabolism thanks to thyroid issues, this is pretty impressive! Plus, there’s the bonus of weight loss too.
Now I’m in my 30s, I feel like skincare is becoming more and more important to me. This is another night time bathroom time-extender. But I really enjoy that time at the end of the day when I give my skin a proper clean and moisture boost. Where my skin care routine used to be a wipe followed by a bit of Nivea Soft, it now has multiple steps! I start by removing eye makeup, then use Clinique’s Take The Day Off balm to remove make-up, followed by Clinique’s liquid soap for a second cleanse. I then use Pixi’s Glow Tonic, which is definitely a game changer. I can’t believe the difference it has made to my skin and couldn’t recommend it enough! Around 3 times a week, I then add a facial oil, depending on how dry my skin feels, and always finish with an anti-wrinkle night cream. Morning routine is a simple cleanse and day cream. My skin is definitely much brighter and less wrinkly. Worth that extra 5 minutes in the bathroom for sure (again, sorry Sean!).
5. Eating Clean
I’ve been on ‘diets’ before. I’ve done Slimming World. And then I lost all interest in it. Having to count syns all the time just wasn’t appealing and it felt like a huge effort. This year, I’ve adopted a more clean eating approach for most meals. This means that most of our meals are freshly made. I avoid processed foods as much as possible, allowing one weekend treat to sneak in. I’ve cut back on carbs too, saving them only for post-exercise meals. Again, this has been much easier than I expected. I just have a load of extra veg. I’ve also upped my protein intake. I have a protein shake most days, usually after exercise. What I don’t want to do is lose weight fast by going on some extreme diet, then put it all on (and more) by going back to rubbish eating. Instead, I want to adopt a more nutritious approach that I can keep up forever. So far, I’ve lost 8lbs this year. No super fast weight loss, just slowly losing it, and keeping it off. I also meal plan for the week, and buy the food for those meals. And I can definitely recommend the Lean In 15 books for quick healthy recipes to make.
6. Water Intake
I used to find I’d get through a whole day having drank nothing but cups of tea. Then I’d gulp water all evening to get rid of the dehydration headache! We’ve now started buying packs of water bottles. Somehow having bottles, rather than filling a glass from the tap, has meant we’re drinking lots more water. I now aim for a minimum of 2l a day, but have managed 3-4l most days. Another great one for the skin and metabolism!
7. Varying My Exercise
I’ve always been into exercise. I don’t feel good if I’m not exercising regularly. In the past, that has meant going running every day. But I now find I’m enjoying mixing it up a bit more. I go to two bootcamp sessions a week, which I really enjoy. The rest of the week I do home workouts. I aim for 5-6 workouts every week. I used Christmas vouchers to buy some kettlebells of varying weights, and we already have dumbbells. And I then use Instagram and YouTube to find inspiration to create my own exercise programs, usually focusing on a different muscle group each time. I sometimes use YouTube too, sticking on a HIIT workout for the length of time I have. Or I jump on our exercise bike, and do 10 minutes of 30s sprint, 30s cycle. Each workout is different, and I’m really enjoying it! It does mean getting up at 5.30am most mornings, but I’m a morning person anyway, and it feels good to be showered and dressed by 7am having already done a workout. I used to exercise to try and make up for a bad diet. I now exercise to get strong, and for how it makes me feel. I like challenging myself too, and if there’s something I’m not great at, I work on it until I am (such as planking. I’ve gone from struggling to hold for 20 seconds to now being able to hold for 1 minute 20 seconds!). I love the feeling I get from hitting targets and achieving more and feeling my body get stronger. It’s becoming a real passion, and I definitely don’t want to lose that any time soon.
These changes have really helped me start 2017 the right way. I feel much healthier, look much healthier and am mentally much healthier too. Of course, the list is still there of things I’d like to achieve and make habits. But I’ve started ticking some of them off, and that feels pretty damn good!!! I really hope I can keep it up now, and will remind myself to read this post every month to remember how good it feels to do them!