The Wellness Report
Change your life
Improve the usual fitness resolutions for the new year with goals not just for a healthy body but for a clear mind too.
The new year brings with it the eager promise of self-improvement. Do resolutions such as going to the gym, quitting sugar, cutting down on alcohol or taking more time out sound familiar? While all of these can bring positive changes, many of us have forgotten about good intentions within a matter of months, or even weeks. Fast-paced lifestyles mean we often expect a quick fix or a magic pill. But what if the secret to ‘new year, new you’ was a simple resolution: ‘know yourself’? I caught up with Pilates instructor Hollie Grant and Jacqueline Hurst, a life coach and hypnotherapist, to discuss how to make positive life changes. Plus, discover three key lessons in creating change that lasts.
Start as you mean to go on
Hollie Grant: ‘When it comes to fitness, we need to learn more about how our individual bodies work. Taking ownership of our bodies is essential, rather than simply following the next trend or fad. What works for your friend is not necessarily going to work for you; hormones, stress and age all influence this. First, find your goal – is it about losing body fat or maybe reducing back pain? – then choose the best exercise regime based on your personal goal.’
Eve Kalinik: ‘Yes, it is about tuning into yourself. We tend to be in this “add on” culture, searching for the next new super food, supplement or diet, when really it is about stripping it back. If you just bring it back to basics and start eating foods in their most natural state without labels, boxes or bags then you won’t go far wrong. I dissuade clients from diets and haphazard elimination of food groups, as these rarely work and can leave you nutritionally depleted.’
Jacqueline Hurst: ‘Unless you get your mind right, the outcome won’t be what you want it to be. Change your mindset – if you come from a place of love you will get a lot more done rather than aggressively cutting things out. If you put restrictions on people they will automatically want to rebel, so it is important to pull it back and think about where you are coming from – health and self-love over restriction and pressure.’
Cut out the noise
HG: ‘There is so much emphasis on telling us how you should look or that you don’t look good enough and with that comes an incredible amount of pressure. That’s why it is important to bring it back down to yourself and knowing your own body.’
JH: ‘These messages will only pull on your insecurities if you let them. If you are in the right kind of headspace, you can see those images and think positively about them rather than beating yourself up. You have a choice to look at social media or magazine images and compare yourself. Or you can look at it and think, “Wow, she looks great and obviously worked hard for that.” It doesn’t have to affect you, if you change your outlook.’
EK: ‘As women, we have a lot of pressure to keep it all together. But this is where we tend to overcomplicate things, particularly when it comes to food. And it is not about being 100% perfect all the time. If you make positive informed decisions about what you are eating, how you are exercising or the way you perceive situations most of the time, then that’s a good thing. Be mindful and realistic in the way you approach this, then you won’t beat yourself up so much or revert to old habits.’
Take a holistic approach
HG: ‘I see a massive link between exercise and mental health. If you are more positive then you are more likely to work out. Exercise can be as effective as mild anti-depressants but knowing where to start is often the hardest part.’
EK: ‘We have to think of ourselves as a whole entity rather than compartmentalising. The whole body influences the whole body. Around 90% of our serotonin (happy hormone) production is in the gut, so mental clarity, focus and ultimately happiness comes not just from the mind but the gut as well. Health and wellbeing is always multi-layered, but once you tap into what makes you tick you can see things change quickly.’
JH: ‘It is also about giving your body a break when it needs it and having that true connection of mind and body. Knowing yourself can help you get the life you really want.’
Strip it back by Eve Kalinik
Eat real foods. Anything that doesn’t come in a box, bag or with heating instructions. Have foods in their most natural state.
Chew, chew, chew. A very simple principle but something many of us don’t actually practise. There is little point preparing nutritious food if you don’t absorb it properly.
Take a bit of time. Use an hour on a Sunday to make some things like boiled eggs or roasted vegetables to throw into lunches or batches of soup to freeze. Not only will dedicating a bit of time give you some quick go-to options throughout the week, but it is also about connecting with your food.
Knowledge is power by Hollie Grant
Record how your body feels on a day-to-day basis. Start keeping a log of how you feel from one day to the next. Once you are better at knowing how your body feels you will have a better understanding of when is the right time to exercise for you.
Be your own trendsetter. It’s very tempting to follow the newest fitness trends but you need to find something you enjoy and stick with it. It’s difficult to improve at something if you only do it in short bursts. Forget what everyone else is doing and do what you love!
Judge your body by how it feels, performs and moves, not on how it looks. The only way to sustainable wellness is to stop comparing ourselves to others aesthetically. Be the strongest version of you, not the skinniest. If we monitor our fitness levels, not our weight, we will see positive changes everyday and our motivation will be higher, our health will be improved and our confidence levels will be greater.
Change your thinking by Jacqueline Hurst
Get conscious. Start really thinking about what you are thinking about. A great way to do this is to get a pen and paper and start writing down your thoughts. Knowledge is power and we can’t get that knowledge if we are unconscious.
Thought work is really powerful. Challenge your thinking. Are those thoughts working for or against you? Are they making you feel negative or positive? Then ask yourself, ‘How can I think about this differently?’
Take your power back. Ultimately you are in control of how you feel. Remind yourself of this daily. Your thoughts create how you feel, not other people.