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If it’s been a while since your last jog, or last salad – don’t stress. Making the first step towards getting back on a healthy track may seem overwhelming, but any changes are positive.

When we try to change too many things at once, it tends to become overwhelming and we give up more quickly. Instead, work on one thing at a time. Some of these simple healthy habits are a good way to get you started.

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1. Eat Breakfast

There’s a reason tucking into a bowl of creamy oatmeal or whipping up an egg-white omelette first thing in the morning gets such a good wrap. By eating breakfast, you’re kick-starting your metabolism for the day, causing your body to start burning energy and excess body fat.

It’ll also give you some much-needed fuel for the day ahead, and you’ll be surprised how much better your concentration is while you’re at it.

Eating breakfast may also prevent you from over-eating later in the day. But if the first morning meal really isn’t your thing, start slow and work up to it – even just a piece of fruit or one slice of toast will boost your metabolism and supercharge your weight loss goals.

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2. Ditch The Extra Sugar

Now, we’re definitely not asking you to go cold-turkey here. It can be hard to cut out all sugars from your diet, especially when it’s hidden in so many foods these days. Instead, make an active effort to stop adding extra sweetness to your dishes?

Take your coffee with sugar? Skip it. Go for a sachet of stevia or a tablespoon of raw honey instead. And if you’re partial to adding a few dollops of brown sugar over your morning cornflakes, give it a miss.

Avoid snacks like chocolate bars or lollies, which are completely nutrient-void and full of unnesccary extra calories.

When you’re starting off, don’t stress too much about the sugars in natural mueslis, granola and dried fruits as these still provide enough nutrients for it to make it a much healthier alternative to processed sweets.

These foods might be a good way to ween yourself off super sweet foods too, rather than swapping your chocolate bar for a banana straight away.

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3. Leave Alcohol For Special Occasions

If you’re someone who’s partial to a glass of red wine, we’re not going to tell you to ditch it. Instead, try and cut back your intake to certain days a week. It might be useful if you set yourself specific days, so you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself and have something to look forward to.

Some health experts recommend no more than four drinks in one occasion as a way of reducing alcohol-related risks on that day, but for long-term health, a maximum of two drinks per day is recommended for both men and women.

Set yourself one, or two, days of the week where you can indulge in two standard drinks. If this a huge reduction for you, try alternating with non-alcoholic beverages like mocktails or soda water with lime, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out.

Where possible, ensure your drinks are always being measured out, whether that’s at home or when you’re drinking out. This way, you’ll know your benefiting your overall health, and saving a tonne of calories while you’re at it.

glass of water and ice cubes
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4. Up Your Water Intake

This one seems like common sense, but there are many people who don’t consume any water at all every day, opting for fruit juices, soft drinks and coffees in place of a big glass of H2O.

Aim for drinking about 600 millilitres per day to start off with. This is around the standard size of most small bottles in supermarkets. If you want to step it up, buy yourself a refillable one litre bottle, and leave it on your desk at work so it’s always in sight.

Try adding things like fresh berries, slices of citrus fruit or herbs like mint to your glass or bottle as a low-calorie way to sweeten your water. It’ll look pretty, too, and you’ll be more likely to reach for it.

And don’t forget about tea. Light, herbal teas like green or peppermint are a fantastic way to drink more water without feeling bored by the ‘flavour’.

Drinking water will not only help up your metabolism and flush out any toxins, but it will leave you feeling more full and you’ll be less likely to confuse thirst with hunger.

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5. Reduce A Little Bit Per Meal

There are some times when all you’re craving is a big, juicy burger – we get you. And if you go for the garden salad when you’re really eyeing off the three-tiered cheese delight, you may end up feeling deprived and over-indulging later on.

Instead, have what you’re craving – but skip the extras. If you’re ordering a burger, leave the chips, onion rings or dipping sauces alone. Try and avoid anything overly fried or crumbed as these foods will add extra calories. If there’s a grilled chicken often, go for that over the schnitzel.

Feel free to make changes to your burger to healthify it for you, for example requesting to skip the aioli and replace it with a healthier sauce like homemade tomato relish.

Text: The Australian Women’s Weekly / Additional Reporting: Sean Tan

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