So the thirteenth day of Christmas has arrived and within the seasonal conundrum of how to lose the half a stone gained over the previous fortnight and pay off the credit card purchases that didn’t seem a problem until the statement arrived.
It’s time to start #5stepping, and you can follow the campaign with daily tips and updates @5stepper and on Facebook http://ow.ly/GVb6H
So, in the spirit of seasonal panto, let’s start with a simple question: Do you take drugs?
Oh no I don’t…
Oh yes you do…
Although most of us wouldn't dream of consciously taking psychoactive drugs or drinking poison, how many of us down caffeine every day in our teas, coffees, colas and energy drinks – or even in products such as waffles, sunflower seeds, trail mix, jelly beans and chewing gum? The UK's Food and Drug Administration's recommended maximum intake is the equivalent of four to five (regular) cups of tea or coffee per day: without any extras from other caffeine containing products.
Then, when we’ve finished spending the day downing caffeine (a stimulant), we're countering it with a poisonous depressant – alcohol! Almost everyone thinks they drink less than they actually do; often by underestimating the size of home measures or the strength of the drink, and about one-third of the adult population are estimated to be seriously damaging their long-term mental or physical health by the amount of alcohol they consume.
Cutting down on coffee and booze are usually top of the New Year's Resolutions list but, rather than giving up, why not do something positive about it instead?
The first step is about as simple a lifestyle change as it’s possible to make: drink water instead. We are composed of 70% water, we can't live without it: we CAN live without stimulants or depressants … so, just replace two drinks of tea, coffee, cola or your favourite tipple with a two glasses of water every day – one in the morning and one in the evening.
It can be still water, fizzy water, water on the rocks, bottled water, flavoured water or even plain tap water. You can heat it up, cool it down, squeeze in a few drops of fresh orange, lemon or lime or take it straight. It will keep you hydrated, help reduce the number of 'wasted' calories you consume, save you money, cut cholesterol, increase brain power, improve bowel function and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Drink more water: it doesn't take any extra time, money or effort. It isn't a resolution, it's a lifestyle change that will have benefits straight away and will continue to benefit you for the rest of your life.