Happy New Year! So… we’ve all made our new year’s resolutions and for many of us it probably includes exercising more, eating healthy or losing weight. And since Christmas where we’ve been gorging on Christmas food and lying around in fluffy slippers all day (just me?), a diet and some dedicated exercise is probably needed to get back into shape or finally start a healthier routine.
A great way to start a new year is to change the way you eat. Whatever your goals are whether it’s to get more nutrients in your body, lose weight or gain weight there are many diets for you to choose from and you’ll have to pick whatever suits you best.
A popular one is plant-based diets like a vegetarian, pescatarian or vegan diet which can help reduce meat and fat consumption. Plant based diets don’t necessarily help you lose weight as many falsely believe, but it can be a great change to your lifestyle if you’re doing it for moral reasons or simply want to save up some money as meat can be expensive. Just make sure your body is getting all the protein and nutrients it needs, veganism is a lot harder than just eating a bowl of salad for every meal.
If you want to lose some extra pounds, go on a calorie deficit diet. Going on a calorie deficit will essentially make your body use up the energy that it has stored as fat which makes you lose weight and excess fat. You don’t necessarily need to start any special diet; just count the calories you consume in a day and stay within your set limit. With this diet you’ll inevitably avoid sugary foods as they can quickly take up your calorie limit despite their small portioning. If you want to gain weight just consume more calories but don’t go crazy with the sweet foods.
A more complex diet but one that has been rising in popularity these past few years is the Keto or Ketogenic diet. A Keto diet is a low carb, high fat diet which puts your body in a state called ketosis. This state makes your body more efficient at burning fat and your liver starts turning fat into ketones to supply the brain with energy. This can be very good for weight loss, helping with type 2 diabetes and even epilepsy. Make sure to do some more research though and follow a strict plan as doing this diet wrongly can cause some serious issues.
I personally recommend for anyone who wants to simply eat healthier to just have a good balanced diet, this way you’ll ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to function. A balanced diet is great as you can eat all the things you like but in a controlled and healthy way, so it can be a great first diet choice as its easier to follow and has great health benefits.
Whatever diet you choose to follow whether from my suggestions or something else you want to try, make sure to stay reasonable and don’t make any drastic or unhealthy changes that your body can’t handle. Make sure you are not malnourished and if you get excessive headaches, pains in your muscles or fatigue, please see a doctor as there could be something really wrong.
The other way to get into shape this new year is exercising more! Exercise is vital for a healthy life and greatly benefits your body, confidence, mood, and energy. There are many ways to exercise, and you don’t have to go to the gym or use expensive equipment (do that of course if you want to). These recommendations are beginner friendly that you can do at home, outside or at the gym depending on what you’re comfortable with.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Put on some trainers and baggy/workout clothes and go for a jog. You can do a quick circuit around your street to start or take a run in your favourite nearby park. The treadmill at the gym will work too. Just make sure you have some water with you, do some simple stretches and warm up exercises and run for however long you want. The point is to build a routine so if you’re not used to running start with something small and slow.
Sit-ups are a great way to build your core strength and work out those ab muscles. To do a sit up, lay down on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Put your hands behind your head and curl your torso up to your knees. If you find this difficult find a ledge or get someone to hold your feet down whilst you do your sit ups.
For your arms, shoulders and core, push ups are a great way to build strength and balance. To do a simple push up, place your palms to the floor and stretch your legs out, keeping your feet aligned to your hip width (bring your feet closer to increase difficulty) and bend your arms lowering yourself to the ground and push yourself back up by straightening them. Make sure to keep your abs tight and don’t stick your butt in the air.
If you want to target your legs muscles, lunges are perfect. Lunges help work almost all of your lower muscles and are relatively easy to perform. Simply take a large step and bend down as far as you can go without touching your knee to the floor and repeat swapping which leg goes in front. Make sure to keep your back straight and core tight.
Squats help improve your fitness overall and help tone you lower body including your legs and butt. To do a squat simply stand with your legs apart and bend down moving your arms in front of you as you do so. Keep your spine tall and don’t curl your back in, keep your weight on your heels and as with most exercises keep your core tight.
The last exercise I’ll list are burpees, which help with stamina and building strength throughout your body. It combines four different workouts, a jump, a squat, a plank and a push up. Start with a jump and land with your legs wide apart after you land, then go into a squat letting your knees go out wide. Next, place your hands on the floor in front of you and kick your legs back going into a plank, then from that position do a push up. Bring your knees back in and land your feet on the floor keeping your knees wide apart and jump again. Since this exercise is a little more complex than the others, I recommend you watch this video here.
Building a Routine
Whatever exercises or diets you choose to take on this new year, try to keep up with it and make it a habit. It’s easier to make something a routine if you start easy and slow and gradually build up instead of starting with a difficult exercise or diet straight away. Good luck!
Isabel is a writer and editor with a passion for reading, art and philosophy. She often spends her time pondering the meaning of life and performing her rigorous skincare routine.