Dr Hazel Wallace is the girl behind The Food Medic. Hazel is a UK based health and fitness blogger and social media influencer, in addition to studying medicine full-time. The Food Medic grew out of Hazel’s medical background and interest in nutrition and fitness. She set up The Food Medic blog in August 2013, in the hopes of using it as a platform to show people that eating healthy, or eating ‘clean’, can be enjoyable, uncomplicated and easy to incorporate into busy lifestyle – like that of a medical student!
Hazel shares with us her best tips to gain and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Dream Big, but start small
No goal is too big but don’t expect drastic results over night! Your goal doesn't need to be anything grandiose or life changing, the key is to start small and build a habit first. For example, instead of setting yourself a goal to run a marathon by the summer, instead start by creating a daily habit to reach that goal. For example, you could schedule in a for a short run everyday and each week set a target distance that you hope to reach. Trust me, you’ll be running marathons without even realising it!
Say no to the ‘D’
The word diet has been incorrectly used by all of us. By definition our diet refers to our dietary habits, “i.e the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats”, but we have started using the ‘d’ word as a label, (and a form of punishment!), to describe a restricted form of eating. Any form of restrictive diet -whether it’s low cal, low carb or low fat - more often than not leads to cycles of strict dieting broken up by periods of binges, and then the aftermath of guilt and negative feelings. My advice? ditch the diet mentality. We are doing this for life, not just for a quick fix. Focus on the long term goals and focus on balance - Move more, eat better, but don’t beat yourself up if you have a cocktail with your best girlfriend on the weekend!
Take a “selfie”
The rise of the “selfie” has made it totally acceptable for people to share their progress pictures with the world. Social media news feeds are plastered men and women in their underwear, all shapes and sizes, proudly displaying their hard work. I am very much pro-selfie but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to share it with your friends, family, or followers if you don’t feel comfortable. Whether you share it or not, take a weekly picture in the same mirror, wearing the same clothing, and by comparing the pictures from week to week you will notice the gradual changes your body is making. If that’s not motivation enough, then I don’t know what is!
Schedule a date with a gym
Plan your workouts a week in advance and put them in your diary. Treat your gym session or class like you would an important business appointment – don’t cancel and don’t be late! It can be easy to consider your workout as less of a priority over work, family and social commitments. However, working out is just as important as many other responsibilities in our lives as it is essential for maintaining and improving both our physical and mental health. By taking care of ourselves we are instantly in a much better position and mind-frame to take care of the other commitments in our lives.
Find a swole mate
Tell your friends and family about your goals and ask them to get involved and support you. Chances are at least one of your friends will share the same goal to get fit and healthy, so why not do it together and support one another? By training together to can try out new classes together, keep one another motivated, and celebrate your achievements together! Plus it’s a great chance to get in a cheeky gossip.