Plus how to switch your unhealthy habits to something actually good for you.

There’s something about the flip of a calendar page that pushes us to crave reinvention.

Overnight we want the pantry sorting prowess of Marie Kondo, the energy of Oprah mid-giveaway, the arms of Michelle Obama and the grit of Greta Thunberg. 

Oh and on top of that we want to be thinner – thinking it’s the solution to whatever might feel missing in our lives. 

Let’s be frank – 2020 was a binfire so if you picked up some not-so-brilliant health habits, it’s all good. But when they’re deeply ingrained, sometimes your brain doesn’t even clock onto them when they’re happening. 

Here are some of those habits and what to switch them out for this year.

Roll with me here. Image: Lyndi Cohen

1. Swap exercise you hate for exercise you enjoy

Repeat after me: if I don’t like HIIT, I never have to do it again. Think about it, a leisurely walk or one Pilates class you actually turn up to is better than five skipped HIIT classes, because you can’t face another burpee or battle rope. If exercise isn’t enjoyable, you’re doing it wrong. When you enjoy exercise, you’re far more likely to be consistent. You know deep in your DNA that 20 minutes of exercise you enjoy is better than an hour at the gym that never happens. So in 2021, forget the ‘fat loss zone’ and stick within the enjoyment zone.

2. Stop accidentally dieting and get back to basics

Show of hands who’s all-or-nothing? That sort of thinking aka counting points, calories or macros is a diet (albeit one in disguise). And so is fasting, or ‘trying to be good’. You know diets don’t work and yet you still have a bunch of food rules floating in your head. Offload them. Between the news cycle, social media, mortgage stress, emotional exhaustion, social calendars and career burnout, you’ve got enough on your plate. If it’s consistency you crave, my Back to Basics app has over 430 easy, family-friendly recipes that you can add directly to your online shopping cart in one click, might I add, so you know what’s for dinner every night. And carbs are very much on the menu. 

Enjoyment zone? It’s Pilates for me. Image: Lyndi Cohen

3. Stop buying expensive health foods that rot in your fridge and start buying seasonally

There’s no need to sell a kidney to pay for goji berries or climb the Himalayas for salt. Real health foods are affordable. When food is in season, it not only tastes better and costs less – it’s also better for you. And definitely don’t have lemon water because that stuff will erode your teeth (and will not detox your body as your lungs, skin, kidneys, and liver already do that for you). Netflix’s The Home Edit could use this tip: start an ‘eat now’ tray in your fridge. Add food that’s close to it’s best-before date to remind yourself to use that produce first, instead of finding a slimy sorry-looking zucchini a week too late. 

4. Stop eating the exact same thing every day – even if it is really healthy

Even if you eat the healthiest breakfast, if you have it every day, week on week – it’s never going to help you reach peak energy levels. Variety is key to health – and it’s recommended that you aim to have 30 different plant-based foods each week for good gut health. But most of us end up buying the exact same food week on week. Branch out. Flirt with some other foods. Try buying a different fruit or vegetable each trip to the grocer. 

Flirt with some other foods. Image: Lyndi Cohen

5. Stop judging other bodies and start accepting yours

When you’re out in the world, notice the thoughts that pop into your head when you see other bodies. Even if that’s the online world, and you’ve found yourself deep in a social media hate-follow. Often the things we judge others about are the things we’re most insecure about. Tearing down someone else in your mind? It’s a big old hint to do some work on yourself. Make 2021 the year you learn to accept the bits you love least about yourself. The question is: are you prepared to forgive yourself for not being perfect? (Find some nifty tips on how to be kind to yourself here.) Oh and about the hate-follow? Stop that and you’ll probably stop feeling bad about yourself, too. 

6. Stop trying complicated recipes that suck

The key to health is not better willpower. The trick is to make health feel so easy and enjoyable that it becomes your default setting. That way, you never have to conjure up willpower (because let’s be honest, willpower is flakier than that ex-friend from Uni days). If you want health that lasts longer than a manicure, make your life easier. Pick recipes that are super simple to make, with few ingredients and minimal washing up. Food can (and should) be healthy, affordable, and quick because that’s when it’s doable. They’re the golden rules for any recipes that make it onto my Back to Basics app.

Want a little help to make it happen?

If you want to count happy memories, not almonds or macros this year – and finally change your relationship with food and your body – then check out my Back to Basics App.

Oh, and you can try it free for 7 days! So there’s nothing to lose except for the guilt… and oh-so-much headspace to gain.