Image: Diana Simumpande
By now the mantra ‘new year, new me’ has become a well-worn phrase. Most of us have embarked on the familiar routine of Christmas excess swiftly followed by New Year guilt, signal: a well-intentioned mission to embark on a healthier lifestyle. We read the stories and chuckle at the quips about the increase in gym memberships in January, which drastically nose dives months later when the novelty wears off. And the reason why? Well, most of us aren’t really cut out for drastic change. Lifestyle changes stand the best chance of becoming a fully formed habit if they are implemented slowly and consistently. Whether you want to lose weight, get fitter, de-stress, or take up a new hobby, if you’re ready and waiting to harness a healthier, happier version of yourself in 2019, take these easy steps.
1. Don’t deprive yourself
As mentioned beforehand, real change takes time (there’s certainly truth in the phrase, old habits die hard). So, if you’re trying to give up chocolate for example, omitting it altogether will only make you obsess over it. It’s the reason why most experts state that diets don’t work – deprivation leads to a binge cycle of overeat/under-eat. So instead, restrict your intake slightly and try healthier options, such as swapping milk chocolate for dark chocolate, which actually has health benefits associated with it. Small lifestyle changes won’t leave you feeling that the healthy journey you are embarking on is joyless and restrictive. The key is to still enjoy a quality of life that is conducive to your overall well-being.
2. Switch up your fitness routines!
Get a bit creative in your thinking when it comes to getting active and don’t restrict yourself to obvious choices like the gym. Again, the idea is for your new healthier lifestyle to be ultimately a source of inspiration, fun and excitement, it shouldn’t feel like work or a chore. Think back to when you were a child, what activities set your heart on fire? Were you a keen tap dancer, a wonder kid on the netball court? There are numerous adult classes for dance and sports, put your research skills to use and find your fitness tribe online and get involved.
3. Phone a friend
Going it alone is half the fun, to really maximise your chances of achieving your #fitnessgoals ask a friend or gather a group of like-minded friends to come along for the ride. There are a number of women’s running groups such as lazygirlrunning.com which encourage group participation and fellowship through sport. Having a companion on a similar fitness journey will also make you feel accountable. You won’t be so quick to skip a body conditioning class (or three) if you know you have to answer to your fitness buddy.
4. Sweat and waterproof your hair
Invest in suitable protective sporting headwear so you won’t have to worry about your hair getting damaged or sweated out before or after your workout. There are a number of swimming caps designed for Afro hair, and likewise, a number of protective headbands created for curly hair types. Wear a protective style like braids or cornrows that can withstand vigorous training. Post-workout, cleanse your hair with a shampoo such as KeraCare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo, following up with a rich conditioner such as KeraCare Humecto Conditioner. There are so many options out there to protect your strands, don’t let your hair prevent you from getting a good workout.
5. Pile on the veggies
We all know that vegetables are good for us, providing a great source of nutrients, fibre, water and being very low in calories. Pile them on your plate in generous proportions, and use herbs, spices and citrus fruits to make them more flavourful if you’re not really a fan and struggle to get in your five a day. Make vegetables the central feature of your meal, and reduce your intake of carbohydrates and protein to maintain a healthy diet.