Five healthy lifestyle swaps for positive change

If you, like many of us, have mixed feelings about the road map out of lockdown, you’re not alone! Although most of us yearn to get back to some kind of normality, it’s understandable that the last year may have left you feeling like you’ve been through the mill – and then some.

With the summer looking set for a return to business as usual – all things crossed – it’s also natural for us women to start thinking about getting back to a healthy mindset after 12 months of Netflix binges, take outs and extra-large glasses of wine at home!

Although there is absolutely no need to put any extra pressure on yourself by losing any extra pounds super quickly, or making any huge changes straight away, there are small things you can shift to start your slow return to “normal” – whatever that may look for you. 
Here are five suggestions for healthy lifestyle swaps that you can make now, that will have a big impact if you sustain them…

SWAP: Take-aways for fake-aways

Take away food has been one of the few saviours of the three lockdowns, and with local restaurants and fancy eateries pivoting to package and deliver their delights to your door, it’s no wonder that many of us have turned to take outs for a weekly treat.

The good news is that you can happily take inspo from your favourite pizza, Chinese or burger joints and make healthier versions for yourself at home, with all the flavour but less of the fat, stodge and calories.

Experiment with flavourful stir-fries, home made salt and pepper wedges, veggie–packed curries and cauliflower-crust pizzas. We love these fakeaway recipes from Pinch of Nom, which are Weight Watchers and Slimming World compatible, but are also just great, all round healthy recipes if you need some ideas.

SWAP: Naughty snacks for nice ones

Snacking on the sofa of an evening is easily done, but instead of reaching for the crisps, chocolates and sweets, opt for healthier snacks such as houmous with crudites, unsalted nuts, apple slices with peanut butter, sliced fruit, frozen grapes, rice cakes with nutella or wholemeal toast fingers with almond butter…

Naughty snacks are hugely calorific and fat laden, so making this one healthy lifestyle swap will do wonders – and make you feel far less guilty the next morning!

SWAP: Slow walks for brisk ones

If you have been using your lockdown exercise time to mooch slowly about the streets or local parks, step up the pace and walk briskly instead! You can even get the kids involved too, or push the buggy at a pacier speed.  Brisk walking can burn up to 300 calories in just 30 minutes, so it’s far more cardio-friendly than walking slowly.

SWAP: Late nights for early mornings

Ok, we appreciate that this is a biggie! Watching a few episodes of your favourite show when the kids are in bed is a habit many of us have slipped into over the lockdown periods, but waking early and getting stuff done will make you feel so much better.

Aim to go to bed half an hour earlier than usual and get up half an hour earlier too, and then you could increase it slowly until you reach the perfect time for you. That way, you can re-set your body clock more easily and with less stress.

A recent study has found that there are loads of psychological benefits to waking early – and the scientists involved recommend that the extra morning time is used for peaceful activities – such as yoga, reading or meditation – that have usually been squeezed out of our hectic lives. Sounds good to us!

SWAP: Wine for water!

Ha ha OK, please don’t hate us – but swapping out your evening glass of Savvy B for loads of water will reap huge health benefits. Staying super hydrated may help you to maintain a healthy weight, improve mood and memory and keep your body healthy, too. You can read more about the potential benefits here

For the sake of balance, why not have one coffee in the morning and a couple of glasses of wine, gin and tonic or beer at the weekend, and stick to water for all of your other drinks. Give it a go and see if you feel any better after a week…

What healthy swaps will you be making before summer?