As February rolls in and we leave the first month of the year behind - the month of change - it's easy to look back on our new year's resolution and either feel proud of your accomplishments in your first month, or to put them down because your goals were unrealistic for you to meet personally, or perhaps feel guilt for giving up on them. Hey, we all do it. I made a resolution in January and I failed astoundingly by not even making a start on it! But February gives all of us the chance to try a restart, and I tell you: I will pick my violin back up! And February is the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate failed resolutions and reshape them into something actually obtainable.
Health is one of the most common themes of new year's resolutions, and it's also pretty important in general, but that importance also makes it kind of daunting. We live in a world of fast food, where a burger costs £1 and fresh veg £1.10, and where so many things are automated and easy, leaving us little need to really do things physically. So to get yourself healthy, even in the most basic terms of taking the stairs instead of the escalator, or choosing raw, fresh chicken over a quick drive through, takes a lot of conscious effort. It was hard for me back in 2013, and I had to make it a new year's resolution in 2014. Fortunately, despite muddling through with little idea what I was doing to start with, and goodness knows how many failures, I've managed to make stairs, chicken and veg a habit, as well as finding a surprising passion for exercise - it's more than just running, after all! Kickboxing and African dance are my favourites!
But making these conscious changes is very difficult, and while making small changes and building up is always best, it never feels enough on January 1st. So people resolve to exercise for an hour a day, every day, and if you're not used to exercise, that is simply unrealistic and, for most, doomed to fail. And of course going from nothing to quite a lot is generally difficult. It's easy to find the motivation on day 1 because it's new and you've not hit a bump in the road yet, but it's also easy to fly off the wagon when you do on day 6, and once you're off, it's so hard to get back on. The trick here is to not over-think it. But the other trick is to work up to it all slowly and gradually.
If you're not an active person, the best place to start with getting fit is to simply go for a walk for 20 minutes a day. It's low-impact so it's easy to find the energy, so you can do it whenever you have time, morning, lunch or evening. It also gets you outside and you'd be surprised how good the fresh air can feel - and odds are that you'll end up walking more than 20 minutes because of it. And once you're comfortable being outside, you may find yourself keen to pick up the pace and go for a run, and once you've warmed up to that, you may well want to try something completely different.
But exercise is easy in this regard - you only do it once or twice a day, for 20-40 minutes at a time. Once you've done it that day, you've done it. The harder part is making sure you're putting the right things into your body, because that lasts all day.
There are so many people saying you need this, that and the other in order to boost your health or to lose weight, and I've bought into many of them. It's all too easy to be suckered in, and it took me a long time to figure out what it is I really need, and it wasn't CLA, thermogens or silly things like that that claim to help you lose weight (and while you may well lose weight while using them, it's probably because you were exercising harder because you wanted to help them to work). No, what I really needed was simply a good dose of vitamins and minerals, Omega-3 and Co-Enzyme Q10.
Omega-3 isn't necessarily hard to come by in food, but is found mostly in foods like oily fish which many people don't like or aren't willing to eat - in which case the simple answer is an Omega-3 capsule. You get a daily dose of healthy and necessary dietary fats without having salmon for dinner every day. Don't be afraid of the word 'fat', by the way. In terms of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fibre, etc), dietary fat is so important, and good levels of healthy fats such as Omega-3 are proven to aid weightloss as well as helping your body to function correctly. Some vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin A, D, E and K, are only fat-soluable, meaning that, unless you've consumed dietary fat with a sources of Vitamin K, be it an egg or a multi-vit, your body simply won't absorb it.
Co-Enzyme Q10 is essential in energy production, and while it is made in the body, if you're active - either a frequent exerciser or simply looking to start getting fitter - you may become deficient and that can impede your body's functionality. And I'm not just talking about feeling low on energy, I mean it will perform, digest, absorb, protect and so on at a lower rate. So adding a Co-Enzyme Q10 to your health regime will really help get you started with exercise because your body will be more up to the challenge.
Of course, if you're just starting to get your eating in check, it's really difficult to ensure you're getting all of these vitamins, minerals, fats and so on in your food. Hell, my eating is really clean but even I struggle to get all of the essentials from food alone. The easiest course of action in this case is taking supplemental tablets and capsules with breakfast or lunch and getting through the day with extra strength, energy and a properly-functioning body while you mentally wrestle over whether or not you should have that chocolate cake in the break room. It's certainly the best start you can give to your health and fitness lifestyle.
It's a bit of a nuisance keeping stock of these kinds of things, though. Capsules come in all different size bottles, and some are two-a-day and it's easy to run out of multivitamins while having plenty of Omega-3, or vice versa. But VITL, which I started using this January, basically solves this issue.
VITL combine a powerful multi-vitamin, Omega-3, Co-Enzyme Q10 and additional super greens in an easy daily dosage, delivered every month to your door so you'll never run out nor have to remember to top up. The four caplets are sealed in a foil strip, each marked daily, making them easy to keep track of and easy to take to work or pack in your lunch box, giving you no excuse to forget. It's the healthiest, cleanest subscription box you can get - no additional nonsense, no snacks, just the bare essentials you need to kick your body into the best healthy start it can get. Plus it's cheaper to pay the £35 fee than it is to buy all four from Holland & Barrett every month, not to mention that super green capsules are hard to come by; you're more likely to buy the ingredients in individual doses which certainly adds up even more!
The code is valid until the end of February 2016, and then you can see for yourself what I'm talking about!
Often with things like this, they state that you'll 'feel a difference' and, in truth, you rarely do. But the quality of these caplets, as well as the fact that I know I'm getting everything I need every single day, mean that you will feel a difference. After a week I was feeling more cheerful and my energy wasn't as erratic. Similarly, when Mother Nature struck, I handled it much better than usual! This was probably the biggest upside, and while moods - especially then - can change hourly, my mood remained relatively consistent (barring one bad day when everything kept going wrong, but we all have our bad days!)
So restart your healthy resolutions this February with the bare essentials. Your body truly will thank you, and you'll feel happier just for the fact that you have made one easy but important change, with very, very little effort. Once you start to feel the benefits, you may well also find yourself motivated to try exercising again - and remember: don't take that too seriously. Put it on too high a pedestal and you'll fall a lot further when you hit a small bump. And try to find a kind of exercise you enjoy. Dance is the best, and if you feel silly doing Zumba or 'sexy' dances, African dance is simply wild and fun with no emphasis on femininity. Not to mention the most effective dance cardio I've ever done.
Disclaimer: I was sent this product to review by the brand itself. The quantity and precise products sent were their choice, not my own. All opinions and images are my own, and all appropriate research has been done by myself from a range of sources rather than relying entirely on the product's website, especially where health products are concerned. I do not accept a product to review if I do not believe it is safe or worth my own time, regardless of any kind of reimbursement. I trial the products for an appropriate amount of time before writing reviews to check for wear-and-tear on physical items and side effects from edible (be it supplements or food). If I have negative points to voice, I will voice them, and I never, ever accept product reviews or reimbursement on the promise of a positive review. My reviews are and will only ever be honest.