How to overhaul your health in 7 days
The party season has been and gone and now we’re all left to deal with the fallout. For many of us, that means confronting the fact that we majorly overindulged throughout all those festive celebrations and Googling ‘how to lose weight fast’ in the New Year. But getting back on track after the holidays is about so much more than just figuring out how to lose weight in a week. If you want to see real, healthy results you’ll need to focus on changing your mindset and creating a healthy lifestyle that you can stick to.
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That being said, a new year is the perfect opportunity to set yourself some goals around your health and wellbeing. If you want to start off on the right foot, try committing to just 7 days of overhauling your diet and exercise regime – if you enjoy it, you could find yourself embarking on a whole new healthy journey this year. Fitness and wellbeing expert and author of The 7 Day Quickie Tegan Haining (who has trained celebrity clients such as Natalie Imbruglia, Jessica Gomes and David Beckham) gave us her tips on how to get healthier in just one week. After all, as Tegan herself says – anyone can do seven days!
The post-holiday slump
We’ve all been there – you’ve thrown caution to the wind over the holidays and well and truly subscribed to the notion of ‘eat, drink, be merry’. And there’s nothing wrong with that – the festive season is meant to be enjoyed! But it’s also common to feel less than great about yourself afterwards. Whether it’s a lack of energy from all the late nights, weight gain from one too many servings of Christmas lunch or just a general lack of motivation, the holidays can sometimes bring us down. “We can feel disheartened, sad, unhappy, angry, disappointment – all negative emotions about ourselves,” says Tegan. But the good news is, you can turn it all around.
Start by changing your mindset towards your health and identify small changes that you can make. But before you jump in, ensure that these changes are realistic to your lifestyle. “Often we try to do too much too soon, like drastically changing our diet or working out everyday, all from day one,” agrees Tegan. “This can lead to injury or burn out. Instead, try committing to 3–4 days a week of exercise, reducing your cheat meals to three per week instead of daily, and getting to bed before 10pm.” Once you’ve made small changes and successfully achieved them, you’ll be much more inclined to continue with your healthy lifestyle.
Next, identify what you’d like to achieve. Making the choice to focus on your health and fitness at the start of a new year is a great time, as it can help you to strive for other things you want. “Achieving our goals in life can often be greatly affected by our health and fitness,” says Tegan. “When we feel good in the body, we feel good in the mind.” So set your goals, make a commitment to yourself and follow a plan to achieve them.
Overhaul your health and fitness in 7 days
If you’re ready to see a change in your health and fitness, giving your body some TLC over the next week will help to get you started on your journey. To help you get going, we’ve broken down some healthy changes to make over the course of a week. Before you start, Tegan suggests going for a big grocery shop for lots of healthy food that will keep you on track and feeling good over the next seven days.
Day 1 – On the first day of your health overhaul, Tegan suggests keeping it simple. “Make sure you have breakfast and drink two glasses of water,” she says. “This will set your ritual for the week. And ensure that you do a warm-up before your workout to help prevent injury.”
Day 2 – As day two settles in, it’s important to be prepared. “Make sure you are armed with snacks!” says Tegan. “The first few days we can feel the worst when starting a new health program. It’s important to have snacks like green apples, cashews, hummus and cucumber to snack on to get us through.”
Day 3 – On the third day, it’s time to give your body a break. “Allow yourself to have this active recovery day, as this is the time your body gets to regenerate,” Tegan says. “Have a stretch, get a massage, or do whatever it is that helps you lower your cortisol.”
Day 4 – By day four, you’ll probably haved moved through any cravings. “Hopefully you are over any headaches by now and can take your training up a notch today,” says Tegan. “If you haven’t already, add in some extra elements to your workout, such as sprint training or core exercises to ramp up the intensity of your exercise.”
Day 5 – Get some Vitamin D on day five. “Take your training outdoors,” suggests Tegan. “Maybe today you can something new, such as skipping intervals to create a new challenge in your workouts.”
Day 6 – It’s time to take some rest again on the sixth day. “Spend some time writing in a journal about how you are feeling and what you have enjoyed about your healthy change so far,” says Tegan. “It could be a meal, a workout or a wellness ritual like an Epsom salt bath. Writing down which healthy processes you enjoy makes it easier to remember to do them in the future.”
Day 7 – Last day! “You made it, so train hard and take some time to consider how you feel after the last week,” says Tegan. “Do you feel good? Do you want to keep going? If so, then great! Go back and redo the week, making adjustments that make it an easy process to integrate into your routine for life!”
The journey beyond
Hopefully after making some healthy changes to your life, you’re already feeling loads better. “At the end of the week you should be finding that you’re re-energised, well rested, happier and more motivated to reach for your goals in life,” says Tegan. “Or you simply might just feel better in your skin with less bloat and tiredness.” Either way, you’ve made a positive change and stuck to your goal – go you! Now you can take what you’ve enjoyed back into your everyday routine and keep going.
But wait, oh no – it’s only three weeks into your new healthy lifestyle and you’ve already fallen off the wagon again! Don’t beat yourself up because it’s only natural. When it comes to getting back into your healthy routine, Tegan says the best way to do it is just to do it! “Life is going to keep on happening to you. Slip-ups are a part of life, and sometimes to be enjoyed too!” she says. “You now understand how to use diet, exercise and wellness tricks to get you back to feeling good fast, so you won’t have to feel so guilty about indulgence moments anymore.”
Most importantly, be gentle with yourself throughout your health journey. “Change won’t happen overnight; it’s something you’re always going to have to work at,” Tegan says. “So be kind to yourself and just keep the tools in your tool kit to keeping yourself healthy 70 per cent of the week.”
For the full rundown of getting healthy in just one week, pick up Tegan’s book, The 7 Day Quickie by Tegan Haining. The book is published by Penguin Random House Australia and is available in all good bookstores now.
What’s your best tip for getting your health and fitness back on track after the holidays?