If you’ve been in hibernation, clocking up couch-time – you’re not alone! But with spring here to shine there’s more than cleaning the house to be done with that positive surge of hope and excitement - and spring cleaning your health can feel just as joyful.
Now is the perfect time to audit your current health habits so you’re both emotionally and physically ready to make the most out of the new season.
We asked the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Program team for some easy action steps to help put a spring in your step - and support your health goals.
- Soak up that sun
Even Australians get vitamin D deficiencies. If you’ve been indoors for most of the winter, you may not have had sufficient sun exposure to generate enough vitamin D. What you eat also plays an important role in supplying you with this vital vitamin.
According to the NMHRC, both sunlight and diet can support your vitamin D status. Australian guidelines recommend that Australian adults get roughly 15-30 minutes of sunlight exposure 2-3 times a week. Very few foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D but look to consume foods such as fatty fish including salmon, herring and mackerel, as well as eggs.1
- De-clutter your diet
Indulging in comfort foods over winter is part of the colder months’ charm, but it’s usually kilojoule dense, which can make you feel lethargic or sluggish, and may lead to weight gain if exercise is reduced too.
If you’re finding you need to work toward shedding a few kilos for your health goals, it’s helpful to stick to a meal planning habit by getting into a regular meal pattern. This can help you become less prone to unhealthy eating habits.
Try setting aside 30 minutes at the beginning of each week to plan your meals and write out your shopping list.
- Out of sight, out of mind
If there's no junk food in your fridge, you’re less likely to eat it.
Replace potato chips, chocolate, and lollies with fresh fruit and seasonal vegetables. Consider making it a habit to stock your fridge with carrots and celery sticks and cut them up and store them safely - ready for snacking with a fresh yogurt-based dip. Add some delicious apples and oranges to the mix for a sweet hit, or look into the fruits in season – spring strawberries could be calling.
- Start meditating
There’s a reason why so many people report feeling like they have landed on cloud nine after meditating. This supreme stress-reduction technique is free, takes a small portion of your day, and can be just the thing you need to change your perspective, feel brighter, or assist with managing the ‘hecticness’ life throws you.
There are many meditation techniques and disciplines available but, at its core, all you need to do is dedicate something like 10-15 minutes a day to yourself. This is your time to consciously relax, (preferably out in the sunshine or on a bench) a time to quiet the mind and focus on your breathing. Think of it as a mental spring clean, giving you the opportunity to let go of what no longer serves you.
- Go shopping - for gym gear
If your exercise routine suffered slightly during the colder months, give your motivation a spring boost with some new gym gear or trainers. While it might seem self-indulgent buying something new to train in, it can inspire you to exercise or change up your workout routine. Need more incentive to exercise? Why not sign up for a fun run or fitness event so you can have something to work towards or, even better, find a fitness buddy to train with so it feels more like fun than a chore!
- Get moving outdoors
Whether it’s taking a brisk walk, or joining a running, hiking, or tennis group, some outdoor exercise will get you a double dose of healthy goodness – burning kilojoules and getting some vitamin D. Love the water? Why not try water sports such as kayaking and windsurfing, or even just swimming at your local pool.
Looking for a spring support team to help with weight management?
If you’re an HBF member, you may have access to the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Program.
The programs offer:
Access to the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Program– a higher protein, low GI weight loss eating plan specially formulated by Australia’s national science agency.
- One-on-one Health Coaching sessions with an Accredited Practising Dietitian*.
- Digital health and weight loss tools to help you keep track of your food.
- Weekly tutorials about health, weight loss, nutrition, exercise, and mindset.
- A simple exercise plan to gently build up your movement every day.
- An active online community to encourage, support, and motivate you.
If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight is one of the key ways to slow pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes from progressing. Losing even a modest amount of weight can help you see positive effects; research conducted by the CSIRO suggests that losing 5 percent of your body weight has benefits for your health.
In a 2019 study of CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet members, 81 percent of respondents who lost the most weight saw improvements in their type 2 diabetes.
Total Wellbeing Health Coaching sessions.
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Program also includes one-on-one Total Wellbeing Health Coaching sessions, which will give you the opportunity to speak with an Accredited Practising Dietitian about your goals, lifestyle, and diet. These sessions allow you to receive ongoing professional support with the plan, help to keep you motivated along the way, and can keep you accountable for staying on track.
Visit myHBF to see if you're covered or call us on 133 423
This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.
* Health coaching is provided as part of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Program, available under some levels of hospital cover, and the Premium version of the program, available to claim benefits back under healthy living cover on some extras products. Health coaching is not provided on the standard version of the Total Wellbeing Diet. For more information on the different versions of the program available and inclusion for each please visit the HBF member page at https://www.totalwellbeingdiet.com/au/partners/hbf-csiro-total-wellbeing-diet-offers/.”