Life Fitness

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Game on for 2013

Hilly Janes

Published 25/01/2013 | 06:00

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Our 13-step guide to leading a healithier lifesyle for the year ahead. By Hilly Janes

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Have an Irish breakfast

Grill a rasher of back bacon, a tomato, some mushrooms and a slice of wholegrain toast; add an egg poached or scrambled in a little semi-skimmed milk and enjoy it all with an Americano or a cuppa.

It's a more nutritious, more filling option than fat and sugar-laden "Continental" pastries, juice and lattés.

Stop multitasking

Keep your anxiety levels down by stopping trying to do lots of things at once. It takes longer than completing them one at a time, brain researchers believe. Multitasking only works if you are very practised at both activities – like talking and walking.

Give up perfectionism

Perfectionists tend to be people pleasers, but often end up driving colleagues nuts because they take on too much and fail to deliver on time. Good enough is fine.

Make new connections

Bored by friends or colleagues? Don't feel bad. The most creative executives, research has shown, have excellent "discovery skills" – they are always seeking out new connections and ideas.

Let your mind wander

Are you a bit of a daydreamer? Congratulations – trying to stay focused all the time prevents different parts of your brain make creative, surprising connections, neuroscientists suggest. It's why "Eureka" moments often occur when doing something unrelated to the task in hand.

Avoid meetings

Sometimes the whole day can be taken up by meetings, preventing you doing your own work. So keep them to a minimum, and rest assured that contrary to received wisdom, brainstorming produces fewer high quality ideas than working independently – probably because we can't pass the buck.

Eat pasta

If you love Italian food, a small portion of pasta and lots of sauce full of veg and/or lean protein like Napolitana or marinara is a healthier option than a pizza – which is mainly dough and cheese with only a sprinkling of nutritious bits.

It's a wrap

Swap your lunchtime baguette or sandwich for a wrap with lean meat or fish and lots of salad. Yes it looks bigger, but there's a higher proportion of filling to bread, which is more nutritious and sustaining.

Pub lunch

Tuck into a couple of slices of chicken or lean roast beef, a colourful range of veg (to get the biggest variety of nutrients) and two small roasties.

That is a better balance than a Ploughman's with a hunk of cheese, butter, white bread and pickle.

Frozen food

Frozen food like peas and fish often has fresher ingredients than chilled ready meals – which come with expensive packaging and more preservatives. Frozen may be cheaper, but it's not always junk food.

Play a computer game

They can make hard things seems possible, encourage our active involvement and unite strangers or friends in a common cause. You can't say that about a DVD of Downton Abbey.

Cry, baby

A 2012 study suggested that eight-month-old babies whose parents had used "controlled crying" techniques to get them off to sleep had come to no harm when followed up five years later – but the parents were in better shape than those who had left their babies to cry.

Let teenagers sleep

We all know about teenage hormones, but less understood is that they affect sleeping patterns. Teenagers whose sleep is disturbed have similar symptoms to jet lag, so don't get wound-up by those weekend lie-ins.

Latte or Cappuccino? 125 Decisions That Will Change Your Life by Hilly Janes (Michael O'Mara Books, £9.99)

Irish Independent

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