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Conscious that I’ve enjoyed a very merry Christmas and an over-indulgent season of goodwill (and pretty sure I won’t be alone in this), I have invited two “experts” for some advice: Angela Stone from the world of health and fitness and Jo Menneer from the food and drink industry have shared their thoughts on how I can make manageable changes that will last beyond the first week in January.

Angela and Jo each have over 20 years experience in their respective careers and have teamed up to bring their best tips to help us achieve a healthier 2016.

“Every January, I meet a new tribe of “resolutionists” who commit to overhauling their lifestyle to achieve a healthier/fitter/leaner body” explains Angela. Jo meanwhile describes how many magazine articles at this time of year outline short-term programmes designed to lose all the weight and guilt associated with our post-Christmas state of health.

They both agree on the following golden rules…

DON’T – launch yourself into a combination of new/faddy diet and exercise regimes – this can often lead to frustration, disillusionment and a sense of failure.  

DO – Go easy on yourself! Set realistic goals and acknowledge little achievements – the key to achieving and maintaining steps towards a healthier lifestyle is moderation.

Angela suggests that you understand your obstacles first…

Lack motivation? Why not try a new activity with a friend (if you don’t go every week you’re not just letting yourself down)!

Stuck in a rut? Try something completely new which will challenge your preconceptions – you never know, you might even enjoy it!

Is making time an issue? Don’t let time become your excuse. You deserve to take time to look after your body and your health, don’t let others “steal” your time (work/family commitments). If you think you might fall into this trap, sign up for a block of sessions rather than pay as you go – you may be more likely to achieve regular attendance if you’ve already paid up in advance!

Similarly, Jo asks you to think about your current/previous food habits….

Any diet based on restriction or deprivation often goes hand-in-hand with feelings of guilt and inadequacies if we falter along the way. So-called ‘yo-yo’ dieting is all so common and unless you are someone who has an iron will of determination, most of us will have experienced the highs and lows, both physically and mentally, of losing and gaining weight at some point in our lives.

“We need to think of healthy eating as part of our everyday existence rather than just being something we fall back on when we need to make changes to our physical state” explains Jo, “the basis of healthy eating is simple, home-cooked and nutritious foods. This means cutting back on processed foods (particularly those high in fat and/or sugar) and increasing the amount of ‘natural’ foods in our diets. Natural foods are in essence those which have no labels – fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, grains, pulses etc. We are extremely fortunate to have access to all these foods in the UK.

Jo and Angela are working together to deliver ‘Jantastic’, a workshop at Step Up Studio (Howden) on Saturday 9th January. The 3 hour workshop will consider wellness and practical suggestions on altering our mindset so that we learn to ‘nourish’ our bodies, rather than ‘depriving’ them. They will encourage you to feed the body full of all the good stuff, whilst enjoying an active lifestyle so that our bodies and minds can be tuned into a healthier year ahead.

See further details at www.stepupstudio.co.uk and book a place today.

Angela and Jo’s Top 10 tips for a Healthier 2016  

  • Set yourself realistic goals
  • Make daily exercise a part of your lifestyle
  • Think about asking a friend to join you at a new exercise class
  • Consider your eating habits and how you could improve them
  • Shop simply and cut back on processed foods in your diet
  • Be kind to yourself and learn to nourish your body rather than deprive it

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