For many of us, it’s easy to form bad habits such as snacking on high sugar foods, being too tired to exercise and getting complacent in taking care of ourselves. By making a few lifestyle changes, you can avoid the pre-holiday rush to get a beach body or plummet back into bad habits once winter hits.

1. Take the Stairs
As simple as it sounds, trading the lift for the stairs can contribute a huge change to your day. If you’re someone with daily meetings, start off by using the stairs twice a day (up and down); not only will you build muscle tone but you’ll be burning more calories per minute than if you were out jogging!

2. Smart Snacking
Snacking on foods with poor nutritional value is the worst contributor towards an unhealthy lifestyle, whether you’re at a desk or running from one meeting to the next. Wonder why you’re piling on the pounds? Some foods can be misleading and while you think you’re making the correct choice, often times you’re doing more harm. Checking the labelling on snacks especially will allow you to make more informative choices. Over the coming weeks, I will do a specific blog about smart snacking, keep an eye out!

3. Choose Low GI (Glycemic Index)
Ever see ‘Low GI’ plastered on a loaf of bread in the supermarket but don’t know what this means? You’re not alone! High GI foods, such as our doughnuts and white bread release Glucose into the bloodstream quickly which can give us a sharp burst of energy. However, consuming High GI foods frequently can lead to diseases such as Diabetes and Heart Disease in addition to feeling tired and experiencing multiple daily ‘slumps’. In contrast, Low GI foods are slow releasing allowing our blood sugar to gradually increase, produce insulin and release energy at a more sustainable pace. One of the ways I tend to identify High GI foods (apart from the nutritional labelling) is thinking of what you would deem ‘Stodgy Food’. Swapping High GI for Low GI can be easy –

4. Water 
Sometimes we eat because we think we’re hungry when in fact we’re actually thirsty. Not only does drinking 2+ litres of water per day help with overeating but it has a multitude of health benefits and the best thing about it is it’s free. If you’re someone who finds it difficult to drink water, add a slice of lemon/lime/orange or a handful of mint to help wash it down. Whether you’re driving or sitting at a desk, keep a 750ml/1 litre of water with you that you can refill. We tend to keep eating/drinking until it’s gone therefore it’s an easier way of making sure your daily water intake is met.

5. Getting the right Coffee fix
Anyone else suffer from the mid-morning or afternoon slump? Again this can be related to eating the wrong foods but it can also be associated with your regular caffeine intake. If it’s a strong coffee you opt for or a milky latte, there’s no harm once it’s not overdone. What some people don’t realise though is the caloric and nutritional variance between our caffeine options. Below is an example of the different choices available, but remember for every teaspoon of sugar added – this is an additional 10 calories.

1 Medium Latte = 201 Calories
Alternative: Skinny Latte = 109 Calories

1 Medium Cappuccino = 101 Calories
Alternative: Skinny Cappuccino = 94

Coffee with Milk = 42 Calories
Black Coffee = 5 Calories

6. Get Active
Summer is here and there’s no better time to start getting active. For a lot of us, the issue is time and our lack of it. Being active doesn’t have to take hours out of your day though, it can be easily incorporated into your daily routine – here are a few ideas to get you started:

• Cycle to Work
• Get off/on the bus 5 stops earlier/later
• Take 20-30 minutes on lunch to go for a walk or run – make it more exciting by doing it in pairs or as a team
• 5-a-side football one evening per week; combining exercise and networking/teambuilding/socialising
• Sign up for a charity event – more often than not this will require training for the weeks leading up to the event and it gives you a goal to work towards in addition  to doing something good for the charity in question

7. Everything in Moderation 
Ever hear your mother preaching “everything in moderation”? Well, mother does know best! There are so many ways we can improve our lifestyle from nutrition and exercise to mindfulness, but taking on too much at once is not a good idea because we can end up achieving nothing. The best thing to do is make one big and one small change per week e.g. a big change may be changing from High GI to Low GI foods and a small change would be taking the stairs 4 times per week. Once you’re satisfied you have achieved these, you can increase goals or set new ones but don’t forget to enjoy life and treat yourself along the way!