PLAY BY THE RULES
These will carve out healthier behaviour without being so strict that they seem unachievable
NEVER EAT AT YOUR DESK
You’ve heard this one before, but it bears repeating because it’s a rule that’s commonly broken. According to a poll from 2017, 37pc of people rarely leave their offices at lunchtime. Most of them eat at their desk. The problem with this is twofold. You don’t get any incidental exercise, because your body is static; and you don’t switch off from work, so your brain doesn’t get a breather.
GO TO BED 15 MINUTES EARLIER
It’s a bugbear that I will probably take to the grave with me: the simple fact that we’re not making enough time for sleep. Research shows that people on average lose an entire night of sleep every single week. You could seek to reverse that trend by going to bed just 15 minutes earlier than normal every night. You will wake up feeling more refreshed and happy.
FOLLOW THE TWO AND FIVE RULE
Getting my alcohol consumption under control has had a profound impact on virtually every aspect of my life – sleep, weight, relationships, bank balance. I used to work in the City and live a boozy life, but it wasn’t sustainable, so I adopted the two and five rule: no more than two drinks in a night and no more than five drinks in a week. I soon realised that I didn’t need to drink more than two beers a night to enjoy myself. And the good news is that once you’ve learnt to control your behaviour, you can loosen the ropes a little, because now you’re in charge.
NO MORE PHONES IN THE BEDROOM
We know the research about the light on our devices inhibiting melatonin production and delaying the onset of sleep. Even if you have a blue light filter it doesn’t stop the cognitive stimulation we get from our phones. It’s just not helpful to have all your working and social life next to you all night. Leave the phone outside the bedroom and invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock. GM
PUT 10 ALMONDS ON YOUR PORRIDGE
Most people don’t eat enough protein, and breakfast is traditionally quite carby. In a bid to include protein at every meal, add 10 almonds to your porridge – or a scoop of soya protein powder, which won’t affect the taste but will boost the protein punch. Protein feeds our muscles – if you don’t feed them, they get broken down for energy. All you’re left with is your fat stores. Gasp!
EAT – STOP – EAT
Decide on your meal. Eat it. Then stop eating for at least three hours. Drink only water. Try that for a week if your snacking habits are getting the better of you.
THE 80/20 RULE
There’s a lot of confusion about nutrition. Should you be eating carbs, a high-fat diet, or going vegan? Fundamentally, I always say that if you’re cooking from scratch with real ingredients, you’re on the right path. To help propel you further down the road, adopt the 80/20 rule: for 80 per cent of the time, take care to get your nutrition right – that means good quality dairy, nuts, lots of vegetables, fruit and fish, and no processed food. And for 20 per cent of the time, eat whatever you like. ML