9 Tips to a healthier, happier 2014

New Year is when we take stock and consider changes for the future. For many the resolution will be to lose weight, get healthier and fitter and get more out of life. But how do you actually start these types of changes? Without a concrete plan the routine of life tends to dominate and nothing happens. Below is a list of 9 specific things that can start to make the change happen. Choosing even one will make a difference.

1.    Start the year with a detox: It may seem repetitive, but cutting out rich foods for a few weeks and focusing on some specific nutrients to enhance natural detoxification pathways does wonders to improve energy, hormone balance and knock-off a few excess holiday kilograms. For some people a detox involves a few dietary tweeks and some short term supplements, for others a more comprehensive support plan is needed. Our naturopaths Ruth and Rachael can match your detox needs with the right program for you.

2.    Cut out added sugar. Sweet cravings may have been an ancient survival trait to identify energy rich foods. Today with energy rich food and sugar easy to come by there is no need to add sugar to the western diet. For some people the simple step of cutting out sugar and sugary foods and drinks (eg there is 44 teaspoons of sugar in an extra large coca-cola served in cinemas) is all they need to propel themselves to weight loss and away from pre-diabetes. Between Chinese medicine and naturopathy there are many strategies to help with stubborn sugar cravings if help is needed. Just ask your practitioner at your next visit how they can help.

3.    Factor exercise into most days. Everyone seems busy today, but a lot of that being busy involves sitting down staring at a computer screen. The result? Sore backs, stiff necks, sore arms, excess body fat, headaches and cranky. Even with good office ergonomics it’s important to get up frequently, stretch, perhaps have a walk at lunchtime and structure some exercise to keep the muscles and joints functioning as they were intended. If you have struggled in the past to stay with regular exercise then make a formal commitment in your diary with either an exercise class or personal trainer.

4.    Have a massage once a month. Massage frees up stiff muscles and is great to treat muscular pain and stiffness, and reduce the effects of stress such as tension headaches. A flexible body makes exercise easier and occupational and sports injuries less likely. If you haven’t had a massage before try it this year. Uli, Teena, Mary and Kessie are all skilled remedial therapists who can help you on your way to better flexibility and musculoskletal health.

5.  Treat chronic painful conditions. Chronic back pain, headaches, arthritic joints and hormonal pain; whatever its source chronic pain reduces wellbeing and quality of life. There are many options to dealing with chronic pain from medication to exercise, massage and acupuncture. Just because you’re getting older it doesn’t mean that you have to put up with pain. Our acupuncturists Ian Murray and Stephen Janz have a special interest in managing painful conditions with acupuncture and Chinese medicine and can direct you to other therapy such as massage if needed.

 6.    Have a dental checkup. The idea that prevention is better than cure can be found as far back as the ancient Chinese medicine text the Nei Jing written about 3000 years ago. Maybe they were thinking about dental problems which are much easier and cheaper to prevent than to treat.

7.    Get adequate sleep. Poor or insufficient sleep leads to poor energy, reduced focus and concentration and can affect mental health. Just targeting good sleep hygiene and seeking help if this isn’t enough can have major impact on both metal and physical health. Check out our 10 tips to beat insomnia article to get you started at https://www.kenmorecentreforhealth.com.au/articles/#article12. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are very effective in supporting a return to normal sleep patterns.

8.    Make time for regular fun. If I have to explain it – you definitely need more.

9.    Try the Mediterranean diet for a couple of months- you might find it suits you. The research continues to pour in with the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet such as reduced allergies and reduced risk of heart attack or stroke. A new study has found that  middle-aged women following a healthy Mediterranean-type diet — with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish, moderate amounts of alcohol, and little red meat — were 40% more likely to achieve healthier aging free from major chronic illness. Our naturopaths Ruth and Rachel are experienced in matching people with the right diet for their body types and are happy to assist if you need individual advice to get on the right dietary track.