Don't just make mindless resolutions - make a change in your life in 2014 with our 14 tips from our top health and beauty experts. Ayesha Muttucumaru guides you to a great year
A new year often holds the potential for a new start for most, so no matter what fitness and health-related resolutions you make this time around, let our GTG experts encourage and motivate you with some inspirational advice for achieving your goals in 2014.
We asked some of the industry’s most well known beauty, health, fitness and wellbeing experts for the one thing that we can all do to change our lives in the New Year. Whether your aim is to do more exercise, to eat healthier or to make more time to relax and de-stress, let these handy tip-offs show you how and act as your go-to guide for making next year your best one yet.
HEALTH & FITNESS
1. Dig deeper for your motivation
"Figure out the ‘why’ of your workouts - try and dig a bit deeper than 'to lose weight', and go into the reason why losing weight would please you. Most people fall off the New-Year's-resolution-wagon because just losing weight doesn't hold inspiration like loving the way you feel post-workout, sleeping better on nights you train or the positive mood you have when exercising regularly.”
2. Be positive
"State your outcome out loud in a positive way as if it is currently happening. For example, ‘I am going to the gym to run 5km in under 25 minutes today.’ The unconscious mind only works in positives so say what you do want, as that is what you'll focus your effort on and ultimately achieve your goals."
3. Go nuts for coconuts
“Eat more coconut: coconut fat is good for you in so many ways. For example, it helps with your digestion and boosts your immune system. It can also help you to lose fat if eaten in moderation, since it boosts your metabolism. The coconut yoghurt COYO, is an easy and delicious way to get your daily coconut intake. Otherwise, add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to your coffee instead of low fat milk and always choose an organic virgin coconut oil.”
4. Make changes to see results
“The Einstein 'insanity theory' is quite a personal fave of mine - ‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’
“People can spend years eating the same thing, doing the same exercises, having the same daily routine and expecting a different outcome OR they spend their time 'trying' to have a good week, only to fall off the wagon. If you can't make change consistently then it's obviously not working for you so you're probably trying to change too much which isn’t realistic. Take a long term YEAR view to achieve your goals! Insanity would be to spend another year trying to do the same things you've always done and expect different results.”
5. Take one hour of me-time
“Take an hour, or even half to do something that makes you feel good and completely takes your mind to a different place. It may be a spin class to an electric mix of music that boosts your energy, cooking some healthy treats (I recommend organic banana bread!) or for ultimate relaxation, treat yourself to a massage even if it's just one area, (a head massage is a great tension reliever and my personal favourite).”
BODY & SKIN
6. Know when to splurge
“Get rational about skin care by investing wisely in high-quality leave-on products that have proven active ingredients and save on smart, economic buys that don’t have to cost the earth. Splurge on: a good-quality vitamin C serum will benefit the complexion of most. Save on: cleanser. This product should do no harm and get your make-up off.”
7. Adapt your diet to reduce ageing
“Everyone should improve their diet and stop consuming high-calorie carbohydrates, candies and sugars as they have been linked to give glycation damage, the destruction of protein structures and ultimately the wrinkling and sagging of skin.”
8. Stick to the skincare essentials
“I am seeing more clients with congested and dull-looking skin as a result of overloading products and blocking pores, so for the New Year I am encouraging my clients to detox their skin by stripping back their regime and just using the skincare essentials. A simple yet regular regime can be just as effective as a complicated one that involves lots of products.
It is essential to always cleanse, tone and protect the skin throughout the day, and then to cleanse again in the evenings and immediately follow with a hydrating product like a facial oil. Sanctuary Spa Therapist’s Secret Facial Oil (£17.35) is my favourite, as it nourishes, repairs and replenishes the skin, revealing a gorgeous radiant glow the next morning. Once these bases have been covered, skin should stay clean, clear and radiant.”
9. Focus on what you eat, not when
"Forget the idea of eating little and often, simply educate yourself with what are nutritious foods, and simply eat when you are hungry. Breakfast as we traditionally know it is not the most important meal of the day."
10. Think before you eat
Amelia Freer , Nutritional Therapist and Founder of Freer Nutrition
“I think it has to be MINDFUL EATING. Of course I want to say quit sugar, experiment being gluten free and cook everything from scratch, but I think mindfulness comes first. When we are more conscious around food, we are more able to make healthier choices.
“I see so many clients who aren’t yet ready to embrace the nutritional changes I suggest – they eat in a hypnotic state and they don’t stop until the bag, plate or box is empty… so we have to start simply with their relationship with food, which can often be highly complex. There are many books, CDs and free guides available to help understand what being mindful means and I think it’s one of the most important things anyone who wishes to improve their nutrition can do. No fad diets, no short term starvation, no processed substitutes, no grazing, no over-exercising to burn off chocolate lattes! None of these are educational to long-term food relationships. Mindfulness is essential to deepening our connection with food to enable us to make healthier choices.”
11. Feed the body and mind
"There is increasing recognition amongst both my clients and the health industry that wellbeing begins with a healthy mind. Stress and para-sympathetic nervous system dominance (i.e. running around like a headless chicken and chronically multi-tasking!) is at the root of many of my clients’ health conditions. Therefore adopting an integrated approach that supports psychological as well as physiological equilibrium is fundamental in helping them to feel better. Adopting small strategies to support this will be a 2014 focus for me in my clinic and for myself.
“I also see a growing trend in health conscious consumers wanting to know more about what exactly is in their supplements. I see more people choosing Food-State rather than synthetic forms of nutrients and checking labels for excipients such as talc which are commonly found in cheaper, off the shelf products."
MIND & WELLBEING
12. Follow your gut
“My intention for 2014 is to follow the path of my heart. I think that learning to develop our instinct is going to become more valuable than ever. We have become so reliant on Googling for our information and have forgotten that within each of us we possess a great gift; the gift of our innate intuition. So I intend to spend time on a daily basis connecting to the voice inside me - that one that comes from the heart. This voice knows better than anyone else what the right thing to do is, be it for my patients or in my own life.”
13. Take control of your hormones
"A decline in hormone levels is a natural occurrence as women and men age and unfortunately there is no way of preventing it. But exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help to maintain certain hormone levels, in particular testosterone levels."
14. Get some head space
“How would you like the year ahead to look? Would you like to experience a mind which feels calmer and clearer? Would you like to be less caught up in your thinking or less overwhelmed by your emotions? Would you like to experience better physical health, less stress? Would you like to experience more positive relationships? And would you like to be able to rest your mind in a place of happy contentment, at will?
“Well, the good news is that all of this is possible. The bad news is that none of it will happen by chance. We need to create the right conditions for our life to be this way. So, no matter what your plans for the year ahead may be, make sure you take the time to look after your mind. Make it Priority Number One. What could be more important than providing the right conditions for a healthy and happy mind? What could be more important than providing the right conditions for enjoyable and harmonious relationships? All these things can be addressed by taking 10 minutes a day to yourself to meditate.”