25% of new year’s resolutions are broken in the first three weeks. Instead of making a list of your imperfections and embarking on a Total Vice Ban all at once, choose one thing at a time. Start with cutting out only cigarettes, coffee, alcohol or sugar for the first couple of weeks, then when that one’s knocked over, move onto the next. This strategy is realistic and achievable and builds your confidence as you progress, making success more likely.
Stress eats away at the mind and nervous system like rust corroding metal. What’s needed is priority management. Stress is an inevitable part of adapting to the everyday demands of life. Instead of looking to eliminate all stress (a stress-inducing impossibility) look at implementing better coping mechanisms. Develop a positive attitude, take up a new pastime, pencil in a regular massage, plan a holiday, nurture family and friends and, ask yourself, are you following your passion in life?
After the excesses of the festive season comes the moralistic high ground of the new year. Usually directed firstly at cutting back the black stuff. Yes, a little red wine does bring benefits to the heart. But after a period of excessive intake the liver and brain deserve a break. The most often overlooked danger of alcohol is its sly ability to mask or perpetuate mental illness, especially depressive episodes. Ensure three alcohol free days are in place each week and of course, moderation in all things.
Research tells us that at least 50 per cent of the Irish population aged over 25 years is overweight or obese. After the festive season this statistic risks bulging further. Over recent decades fast food restaurants have induced us to eat more by increasing serving size. Cutting down the amount that is eaten will not only pay long-term dividends on the waistline, but also reduce the likelihood of western diseases associated with obesity. Cutting out all processed food is a great start.
From the moment you move the heart pounds a little harder, the blood vessels loosen and the blood pressure drops. Twenty-four hours after movement insulin receptor sites become more sensitive to insulin, thereby controlling blood sugar levels, preventing diabetes. The increase of lean tissue (muscle) in turn cranks up the basal metabolic rate (that determines how fast or slow we burn calories at rest). The belt goes in a notch and the next day you wake up refreshed and more productive.
Butt out your cigarette and carbon monoxide levels in the blood immediately drop. By this time next week the blood will have thinned and the chance of keeling over from heart strangulation has lessened. Five years from now there is a good chance that the risk of coronary disease has fallen to nearly the same level as that of a non-smoker. At around the same time the lungs return to their healthy pink state.
Fruit and Vegetables are the great purifiers. We all already know this but its worthy of drumming it in again. Vegetables can be eaten in large amounts the more green leafy and uncooked vegetables consumed the better. Vegetable juices are great too. Fruits however are best limited to apples, pears and berries. The indigenous fruits of Ireland. They should be eaten in there whole form. Tropical fruits and fruit juices can be too high in sugar and have an adverse effect on blood sugar levels and should be limited.
An addiction to sweets and sugar shows an imbalanced nervous system, emotions and insulin sensitivity. Sugar is void of the metabolism-controlling minerals present in other foods and causes the mind to reel (hence, sugar high). As a crystallized, bleached and addictive substance that does nothing but lower ones vitality and immunity it is worth reducing or eliminating altogether.
Instead of the very common and inaccurate advice to go low-fat, reducing or avoiding the intake of trans fatty acids and increasing you intake of good healthy fats is the way to go. The following are foods containing trans fats and should be avoided: Fried foods of all kinds (fried chicken, French fries), ready-made baked goods (biscuits, pastries), chrisps and crackers, doughnuts, margarine, hydrogenated oils - soy, corn, canola, cottonseed and safflower oils, and all fats heated to very high temperatures in processing. The good fats that can be consumed in liberal amounts are: Fish oil (high in omega 3 fats), Whole Butter (not spreadable, low-fat etc. the old fashioned block of butter is best), Olive oil (look for ‘cold pressed’ on the label), Flax oil(keep refrigerated), Coconut oil (an excellent fat which can actually increase your bodies fat burning capabilities). Nuts, seeds and avocados contain good fats
If your filing cabinet of memories is seeming out of order it’s not too late to sort it out. Memory is the mother of judgment. Without memory of what we have experienced, we would have no ability to change our circumstances. Memory is enhanced by correct breathing and awareness of the present moment, cultivated through meditation. Challenge the mind with puzzles you enjoy. Ginkgo biloba is a herb that enhances memory and is great for the heart and veins.