20 small, simple changes that will make 2020 your healthiest yet

#5 might be our favourite – and the most delicious – way to get in shape this year. 

A new year means you’ll be hearing (and probably setting yourself) some “new year, new me” resolutions. But, as much as we’d all like to be the healthiest and happiest versions of ourselves, chances are, those New Year resolutions may not stick. And, usually, it’s because they’re just too overwhelming to follow through with.

Instead, try these small, practical and effective tweaks you can actually stick to all year round.

#1. Wait 2-3 hours after eating dinner before going to sleep

Eating then going to bed impacts your diaphragm, thus influencing the position of your heart, gall bladder and colon. Wait an hour after a snack or two to three hours after a meal.

#2. Swear more

Letting your swearing vocab loose is beneficial for your soul. Studies have proven that not only does it relieve pain, but it also makes you feel stronger, relieves stress and helps create closer bonds with people.

#3. Swap your burpees for skipping

Celeb PT, Tegan Haining, says skipping is a total body workout, which can help improve coordination, strengthen the core and even help calm the mind. She also says that 10 minutes of skipping can have similar health benefits to 45 minutes of running. Just let that sink in…

#4. Go for a short stroll after every meal

A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that walking for less than two hours per week was associated with a 35 per cent lower risk in respiratory disease, a 20 per cent less risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and nine per cent less risk of cancer mortality.

#5. Go out for breakfast, not dinner

Because our metabolism is faster in the morning, aim to have your biggest meal for breakfast and a light meal for dinner, making sure you have 10 hours without food overnight.

#6. Include protein in every meal

Because protein is digested slower than carbohydrates, it helps control hormone levels in the body and keeps us fuller for longer. Including 20-30g of protein in each meal (and 5-10g for snacks) will help with appetite management throughout the day.

#7. Give up the scales

It gives you one piece of information, rather than the whole picture. If you want a clear understanding of the shape you’re in, the simplest way is to get a physical.

It’ll help loosen tough knots in your muscles, and improve circulation and blood flow, allowing the muscles to return to its normal function.

#9. Swap cardio for weight training

Weight training enables the body to boost muscle mass and increase metabolism, meaning you’ll still be burning calories hours after your workout.

#10. Be in bed by 10:39pm

A study commissioned by mattress company eve Sleep, found your optimum sleeping time should be eight hours and the perfect time to go to sleep is 10:39pm. Putting your phone down 37 minutes before hopping into bed also helped with a better night’s sleep.

#11. Start your day off with lemon water

Starting the day off with the juice of half a lemon in a cup of water not only kick-starts your digestion and primes your body for nutrient absorption, but lemon water benefits the enzymes that stimulate the liver and therefore accelerates toxin elimination.

#12. Spare 20 minutes a day to meditate

Science has proven that setting aside time to meditate on a daily basis helps to de-stress, improve concentration, encourage a healthy lifestyle, increase happiness and, if nothing else, get you off your phone for a little bit!

#13. Try meat-free Mondays

Research shows that plant-based diets are linked with a lower risk of obesity hypertension, heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon, too. Going meat-free for just one day of the week can have major benefits on your overall health, help you increase your wholegrain and veggie intake, and benefit the environment.

#14. Eat till your 80% full

The people of Okinawa in Japan are famous for having the world’s longest life (and health) expectancy and low rates of heart disease and cancer. Their secret lies in their calorie-control rule, which involves conscious eating, by chewing slowly and mindfully, until they’re 80 per cent satisfied.

#15. Laugh more

The University of Maryland School in the US found that 30 minutes of exercise three times a week combined with 15 minutes of laughter daily is the key to a healthy vascular system.

#16. Start a new relationship

If you’re single and in a bit of a slump, a Nature Communications study found that the high serotonin levels associated with finding a new partner is linked to better metabolic processes a.k.a. a kickstarter for fat loss. Time to get swiping!

#17. Ditch deskside snacks

Snacking on cakes, sugary drinks and chips is the biggest issue that’s adding an extra 2240 calories a week to office workers’ diets. To resist the mid-morning and arvo snacking, have a nutrient-dense breakfast, lunch and dinner, limit your access to snacks, and opt for a small handful of nuts or a piece of fruit when the cravings hit hard.

#18. Listen to your body

If your muscles aren’t repairing and you feel worn-out, it’s time to take a rest-day from the gym. Recovery days give your nervous system a break, allow your muscles and tissues to repair and become stronger, and even help improve your workouts.

#19. Switch off

Clinical nutritionist Jess Sepel swears by switching off her devices by eight PM or nine PM every night to help her wind down and prevent mindless scrolling late at night – which we are all guilty of…

#20. Delay your morning coffee (but just slightly)

If you drink coffee, try to avoid having it first thing in the morning when your cortisol levels are naturally higher. Instead, grab your daily latte around 9.30 AM, when your body’s natural cortisol levels start to drop. This will help you avoid that jittery feeling and give you the energy boost when you’re more likely to need it.