Eat, Drink and Still Shrink by Michele Chevalley Hedge,
Published by Plum, RRP $34.99,
Photography by Cath Muscat.
“Embrace the beauty of micro habits In order to live well – in good health, with adequate energy and vitality to live our best lives, and to be able to eat, drink and still shrink – there are some things we cannot compromise on. Some things we just need to do, every single day. We need sufficient rest. We need to drink water to stay hydrated. We need to consume nourishing foods to fuel our brain and body. We need to move. We need to look after our mental health and sense of connectedness.
Some people would simply call these things ‘self care’, and I see how that label fits. I call them my ‘non-negotiables’: micro habits I need to pay attention to, so that I can get on with the job of being me.
The great thing is, these micro habits are not difficult to do, but the difference they’ll make to your life can be enormous. You can fit them into your daily life almost immediately – and, even better, they will help support your overall health goals,which means you can still enjoy those little indulgences that make life so pleasurable: good coffee, chocolate, wine, champagne, a bit of pizza every now and then.
Sound good? Then let’s get started.” p75
Here are a few examples of the micro habits Michele shares in her book:
Micro habits for good sleep p78
• Restructure your bedtime. Start going to bed a little earlier every night, but make this change slowly. If you normally fall asleep at 11.30 pm, don’t try to get into bed tonight at 9 pm. Gradually move your bedtime earlier by 15 minutes until you’re in bed by 10 pm. If you know you need more sleep than this (like me!), try to eventually be in bed by 9.30 pm.
• No blue light after dinner. No computer, no phone, no laptop – or as little as possible, anyway (nobody’s perfect). Make your bedroom a sanctuary: keep it clean, tidy, cool and dark, and you’ll find you sleep so much better.
• Eat good ‘sleep food’. Too much sugar creates ‘monkey chatter’ in our mind and leads to poor sleep. Keep added sugar to a minimum, and eat protein at each meal to keep hunger and sugar cravings at bay. Protein also breaks down to an amino acid called tryptophan, which is the precursor to melatonin, the hormone which promotes sleep.
• Stay hydrated. Good hydration begins when you wake up in the morning, before you even go to the toilet. Hydrating all day long is important for your bowels, your skin, and so you don’t confuse hunger for thirst. It also keeps you energised during the day, and helps you sleep well at night. However, try not to drink too much after 6 pm so a full bladder won’t disturb your sleep.
Practice Gratitude p 89
The simple notion of gratitude can seem a little contrived, old-fashioned
or ‘self-helpy’. But, actually, there’s a lot of research on the benefits of
expressing gratitude. When you start to practice gratitude every day,
you will feel your mood lifting, and the flow-on wellness effects this brings. So quash your inner cynic and give it a go.
Numerous studies over many years have found that the act of expressing gratitude leads to greater happiness and fewer incidences of depression. While the field of psychology is often about ‘fixing’, this model of positive psychology is about amplifying wellness. Think of it as preventive health for
I firmly believe that gratitude can also benefit our physical health. In our busy world, I’m constantly looking for solutions that are not too taxing for my clients, yet yield great results. Since it’s scientifically proven that
people who are happier and less depressed are better able to nourish themselves with food, sleep and exercise, and since we know
that happy people practise gratitude regularly, I want you to develop a gratitude micro habit.
Micro habits for gratitude p90
“Write in a journal. Every day, write down three things you are grateful for and why. You can keep an old-fashioned journal, or simply write them in the Notes app on your phone. Keep the points specific. I like to do
this in the middle of a busy day when I’m eating lunch: it gives me pause, and because I’m thinking happy thoughts, my cortisol is naturally lowered. Honestly, it can be as simple as this. Here are my three things from
the other day.
• I am so appreciative of my husband, Steven, bringing me tea to the bathroom this morning when I was getting ready, without me asking. He knew I would love it, but he also knew I didn’t want to ask because I wouldn’t want to seem like a bossy boots!
• I am grateful that my hair is growing back. I lost a lot of hair when my brother, Greg, died. I always took my hair for granted, until it became super thin and I realised how much I like the thick, frizzy hair I had. Now that it’s growing back, I am grateful for every little strand.
• I’m thankful for my friend Libby. She is such a wonderful supporter of, and
advocate for, women working to find their purpose. When you’re working hard in your own business, you can often feel outside the friendship loop. Libby always takes the time to hook me in and make me feel welcome.
Write a thank-you note. Everyone loves thank-you notes. It doesn’t matter if it’s a text, email or the super-nice touch of a handwritten note. People love to be acknowledged and appreciated. And sending out your thank-you notes will make you feel good, too. It’s a win–win.”