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5 Tips to Keep the Balance

yoga Image by @onehotyoga

As we come into the busiest time of year it can be quite hard to juggle our social activities with our work deadlines. Our healthy eating and fitness routine generally get pushed aside until our New Years' resolutions kick in for another year and we start the process all over again.

Finding the balance in your life isn't only hard during the "silly season", but it can be difficult to maintain long term. If you follow these five tips, you will start to feel better about your overall wellness and set yourself up for better holistic health.

1. Hydrate Properly
If you find drinking water consistently throughout the day is something you forget to do, this is a behaviour definitely worth changing. When you're dehydrated your cells aren't getting the nutrients they need which can make you tired, affect your brain function and blood sugar control. As a standard rule of thumb, we need 2 litres of water a day, however for every hour you exercise, you should add an extra litre.

Tips: Drinking from a water bottle while you're at work, can help you keep you on track as to exactly how much you've drunk throughout the day. Also, adding flavour to your water like tea (herbal low caffeine varieties) or fruit are also great ways to make drinking water a bit more fun.

2. Remove Guilt
Don't make food about your emotions as this can trigger negative thoughts around food and affect your ability to make good decisions about what you eat. Never eat when you're stressed or upset as this will make you feel like food fixes that feeling.

Tips: If you're out with friends and there's a delicious cake at the service counter, have it. Tell yourself you've made the choice to eat a piece of cake today and that's okay. You haven't broken your diet or need to bust your gut at the gym to make up for it. You've just made a conscious decision to eat it because you really want it. If you can do this, you'll find that you'll eat better quality treats less often, which will change your mindset around food.

3. Plant Power
Eat as many plants as you can. We're not saying you have to go vegan, just try to introduce more veggies and fruits into your meals and reduce the quantity of fillers like rice, oats, cereals and pasta. You'll find this tactic will help to keep you fuller as your meals will be much more nutrient dense, giving your body all the goodness it needs.

Tips: Try to eat with the seasons wherever possible as this will mean you're getting the freshest produce and when the nutrients are at their highest. Visit your local green grocer or farmer's market instead of the supermarket as these guys will generally only stock what's in season. Organic delivery boxes are another great way to receive a bountiful supply of fresh fruit and veggies each week and will also encourage you to mix up your food repertoire!

4. Listen to YOUR Body
You need to get to a point where you can understand what your body wants and be able to react in the right way. Make a point of listening to your body and recognising any changes that may occur (stressed, bloated, tired, moody etc).

Tips: If you strip back to a clean plant based diet then slowly introduce things back in (like meat, coffee, grains and dairy) you will be able to understand what works with your body and what doesn't. Create a journal of what you've introduced and how you feel which will surprisingly uncover links you'd never seen before.

5. Eat Whole Foods
By removing processed foods from your diet and eating whole foods, you won't need to calorie count. You will be full from the good food you're eating and will in turn eat less snacks and much more nutrient dense meals.

Tips: Preparation is the key. You need to start by cutting out any "convenient" processed snacks (muesli bars, flavoured yogurt, muffins, crackers) as they are not only lacking nutrient value, they are generally packed full of sugar. These choices may be low calorie but they will give you a sugar rush and make you succumb to a cycle of cravings. Instead, introduce some mixed raw nuts, veggie sticks and homemade homus, full fat greek yogurt with fresh berries or organic peanut butter (no sugar added please!) on some apple or straight from the jar!