As the New Year kicks off many of us make ambitious resolutions about losing weight, eating better, saving more money, learning a language… only by early February those resolutions so earnestly made can become a long distant memory.
So why not change it up in 2018 and make some resolutions you can actually stick to?
Here are our top eight easy-to-stick-to resolutions for 2018:
1. Add some fruit and vegetables to your breakfastWe all know about the recommended 7+ fruit and vegetables per day, but how often do we actually get there? If you want to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, start with breakfast. Throw some vegetables in your omelette, serve spinach and mushrooms with scrambled eggs, add berries to your porridge or granola, top toast with avocado and tomato or try a green smoothie. On busy days, Xtend-Life’s Zupafood Elite is a convenient way to add more goodness into your diet. With kiwifruit powder, grape seed extract, grape juice powder, red grape skin extract, apple fibre, organic wheat grass and organic barley grass, it’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to get your day off to a great start.
2. Drink up
Drinking more water is about the simplest thing you can do to improve your health and energy levels. Our bodies are more than 70% water and H20 is fundamental to just about every single bodily process, from thinking through to digestion. Drinking more water will help boost energy levels, prevent headaches and improve concentration. Water is a powerful detoxifier, helping rid the body of waste through sweat and urination which reduces the risk of kidney stones and UTI’s (urinary tract infections). It’ll also help keep you regular, and get your skin glowing!
Aim for 2 litres of water a day, more in hot weather or when exercising. Bored of plain water? Try herbal teas or jazz up your water with the addition of strawberries, lemon, kiwifruit or other fruit. To enhance water’s detoxifying benefits, try adding a couple of capsules of Kiwi-Klenz to your day. Made with New Zealand kiwifruit, Kiwi-Klenz is packed with soluble fiber to keep everything moving, along with prebiotics and enzymes to support good digestion. It’ll help ease that all-too-common sluggish feeling after too many festive foods and drinks!
3. Eat more beans
Swapping some of your meat meals for legumes is good news for your waistline, the planet and your wallet. Not just for vegetarians, legumes are packed with soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol, keep you regular and promote a healthy balance of gut flora. They’re a great source of protein, and are high in B-group vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium. A low-GI source of carbohydrates, legumes will help keep you fuller for longer, promoting stable blood sugars and assisting with weight management. Eating less meat helps the environment by reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also a great way to save money.
Haven’t cooked legumes before? Dahl, falafel, hummus and chickpea curry are all simple to make, and there are countless recipes online. Family favorites like cottage pie and spaghetti bolognaise can also be made vegetarian by replacing mince with lentils. Make sure you always rinse and soak legumes before cooking to reduce their wind-producing effects.
4. Say no to chemical-laden skincare products
Would you eat your skincare products? Most of us wouldn’t, but eating them might actually be healthier than applying them to your skin. When we consume food, it passes through the highly acidic environment in the stomach, which destroys many chemicals and toxins. By contrast, what you apply to your skin is absorbed directly into your bloodstream. Have a think about that.
Now have a think about how many different personal care products you use every day – deodorant, cleanser, soap, toothpaste, moisturiser, foundation, lipstick, sunscreen….all adding up to hundreds of different chemicals.
A 2004 study evaluated 2,300 people’s use of personal care products for six months.  It found that the average adult uses nine personal care products each day, containing 126different chemicals. Women use at least 15 different products, meaning they’re exposed to a great many more chemicals.
Scary stuff right? So what effect do all these chemicals have on our health? Experts aren’t yet completely sure, but some of the most common additives in commercial skincare products such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Parabens have been strongly linked to skin and eye irritation, neurotoxicity, hormonal disruption and some forms of cancer. Parabens have been found in some breast tumors, suggesting a possible connection.
The jury is still out on whether there is a causative link or just a correlation, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Be gentle with your skin and reduce the chemical load on your body by selecting organic, natural skincare and beauty products. Xtend-Life’s range of skincare products contain natural, clinically-proven ingredients which fight free radical damage, and help reduce fine lines and wrinkles without harsh chemicals.
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Make sure you also pay attention to the products you use to clean your home, as many conventional cleaning and laundry products contain harsh chemicals that can harm the skin and respiratory tract.
5. Cut down on alcohol
We all love a tipple, but if you’re looking to lose weight or improve your health, cutting down on alcohol is one of the most important things you can do. Alcohol is very high calories but adds no nutritional value to your diet. And if you’ve ever experienced the wine munchies, you’ll know that a heavy night of drinking makes poor food choices a lot more likely - it’s hard to say no to a bowl of fries after a couple of wines! Sticking to a morning exercise routine is also a lot harder after a night out.
Cutting down on alcohol will make it significantly easier to lose and maintain weight. Limiting what you drink will help reduce the load on your liver, and is also good news for those who need more shut-eye, as alcohol can interfere with your ability to fall or stay asleep.
Commit to at least 4 alcohol-free days per week and limit yourself to two drinks when you do indulge.
We know, we know… You don’t have time, you’re too busy, it won’t make any difference etc etc, but hear me out. If there’s one thing you can do to dramatically improve both your physical and mental wellbeing, it’s meditation. In our fast-paced 21st-century lifestyle of long working hours, family and social demands, technology and social media, meditation helps us take back control of thoughts, calming the mind and reducing anxiety.
It helps lower stress levels, reduces blood pressure and increases self-awareness, improving your ability to manage the ups and downs of everyday life. Far from distracting you from your work, meditation may even help you work better – regular meditation practitioners say it can help improve focus and concentration. And it needn’t be a huge time commitment – even 10 minutes 3x a week will make a noticeable difference.
7. Get moving
Exercising more often must be one of the most common New Years Resolutions. But how often do we actually do it? The reason many people don’t stick to their commitment to get fit is because they make their goal too ambitious – training for a marathon or going to the gym 6x a week can be too much for many people. So this year, why not set a goal you can realistically achieve? You’ll get much better results from a daily 30 minute walk than a bootcamp you never go to. Commit to 20-30 minutes of movement every single day, whether that’s yoga, walking, swimming, cycling or just turning on the stereo in your lounge room and having a bit of dance. Just move.
8. Get outside
Vitamin D is essential for building strong bones, regulating the immune system and boosting mood, but thanks to our largely indoors lifestyle and the well-meaning sun safe message, many people are coming up short. To get your daily Vitamin D fix, make sure you spend at least 15-20 minutes outdoors every day with arms, legs and face exposed. Go for a short walk before or after work, eat lunch outdoors or take work meetings outside – it’ll not only boost your Vitamin D levels, but your engagement too.
A fresh start
Although the above recommendations might seem very simple, if you follow them regularly, they’ll add up to very big changes. Tackle a handful or why not challenge yourself to all eight? Let’s make 2018 your best year yet.
 Lopez, L. Natural Health: A New Zealand A to Z Guide. 2002. 24.
 Dieticians Australia. Legumes: What are they and how can I use them? https://daa.asn.au/smart-eating-for-you/smart-eating-fast-facts/food-and-food-products/legumes-what-are-they-and-how-can-i-use-them/
 Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database
 Dr Mercola. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate: Facts versus Fairytales. July 13, 2010.
 Environmental Working Group: Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
 Kirchhof, MG and de Gannes, GC. The health controversies of parabens.Skin Therapy Lett 2013 Feb; 18(2):5-7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23508773