With more time spent at home given the latest lockdown, it is normal to feel fatigued and demotivated about the health and fitness goals we set ourselves at the start of the year.
However, there are some quick and easy to follow things you can build into in your day-to-day routine that will help you reset and focus on the most important factors that are fundamental to a healthier lifestyle. We caught up with Nutritionist and Consultant to Enzymedica UK (www.enzymedica.co.uk), May Simpkin, who reveals her top tips for feeling good on the inside so you can feel great on the outside.
Feeling Good On The Inside – Get Moving and Stay Active
You may be feeling tired and sluggish following the festive season and a big part of that may be due to inactivity in the first place. The vicious cycle of being less active and finding it harder to motivate yourself can be tough to escape. It is well known that exercise energises you and a lack of exercise can leave you feeling lethargic and low in energy.
The good news is that you don’t need to exercise for long periods until you’re hot and sweaty but instead, get started by simply increasing your general activity around the house. Embrace the household chores and work quickly as you dust, clean and hoover, not forgetting the benefits of stretching and bending as you do the laundry. Waiting for the kettle to boil is an ideal time to do a quick stretch routine or even simply march on the spot. It is the cumulative effect of these small actions that offer the benefits and you will start to reenergise and feel more productive in no time. Once you are already more active in the home, you can start to make a plan to walk or do an exercise class for 20-30 minutes, gradually increasing this to 45-60 minutes. You may find it easier if you schedule the session, so that you avoid other commitments or excuses that might get in the way.
Feeling Good On The Inside – Prioritise Digestion
Eating well and good wholesome foods is just one part of ensuring you are healthy. However, it is also important to ensure that your digestion is working optimally, so that the food you eat is processed and broken down in the stomach into small enough particles to pass through the small intestine wall, where the nutrients are absorbed into the body. Digestion begins in the mouth, with the release of the enzyme, salivary amylase that begins to break down the carbohydrates in the food. Chewing mindfully and allowing the time for this process will go a long way to helping the digestive process. Once the food reaches the stomach, further enzymes are released that then begin to break down the proteins and fats. It is very important that this process takes place efficiently and the larger food particles are broken down effectively, otherwise large particles will eventually make their way to the small intestine where they will be absorbed into the blood stream, forcing their way through larger gaps in the membrane of the small intestine, causing painful digestive symptoms such as stomach cramps and wind.
So, make 2021 the year you prioritise your digestion. Offering yourself a helping hand in the form of a digestive enzyme supplement can go a long way to ensure efficient digestion and effective breakdown of a meal. I recommend a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement such as Digest Complete (£24.99 for 90 capsules, available to buy from www.enzymedica.co.uk), which can be taken with the first bite of food.
Feeling Good On The Inside – Carefully Consider your Plate
Consider not only what you are eating but also how you are making up your plate. Try to avoid serving your food haphazardly and instead, build your plate with the following proportions as a guide:
- ½ Vegetables; these can be made up of greens such as broccoli, spinach, cabbage or cauliflower but also onions and salads.
- ¼ Protein; choose chicken, fish and eggs more regularly with red meats only occasionally and avoid processed meats. Pulses such as beans, lentils and chickpeas as well as nuts/seeds all provide vegetarian sources of protein and are good to include regularly.
- ¼ Complex Carbohydrates; these include root vegetables like carrots, squash, sweet potato and parsnips as well as wholegrains such as brown rice, quinoa and oats. Limit refined grains such as pasta and bread.
- If you are looking to lose weight, then you can adjust this ratio, so that you increase the protein and reduce the carbohydrate.
There is no need to weigh your foods, it is simply a case of visualising these proportions on your plate.
Feeling Good On The Inside – Add Colour to Each Meal
Eating more colour will naturally increase your nutrient intake, meaning your body will have all the vitamins and minerals it needs to support optimal function of the various systems in your body. If your body has all that it needs to function well and efficiently, you will feel well and energised as a result, which is a great feeling.
So, with the above proportions in mind, try to include two or three varieties of vegetables, varying the colours to vary the nutrients. Try to avoid eating a beige coloured plate and instead, add in more colour so your meal is not only healthier, but also looks delicious and enticing to eat.