Hourly guide to have a healthy day
We plan an hourly guide to help you lead the healthiest day possible. Read, replicate, repeat.


AT 6 AM: SNOOZE SOME MORE

Quality sleep, and enough of it, affects not only your metabolism but also the quality of your day. Instead of hitting the snooze button at dawn, set your alarm to an hour later. For instance, if you generally set an alarm for 6.30 am only to wake up 30 minutes later, you are better off setting an alarm for 7.30 am. You need adequate sleep to think clearly, problem solve, rest your brain, control hunger and even lower your blood sugar. Inadequate sleep throws your body off the charts, and along with it, your day.

AT 7 AM: GO FOR A RUN
Jumpstart your day by working out in the early hours – this will rev both your metabolic and cognitive engines. Fixing a morning schedule for your workouts ensure both – your regularity (skipping a gym session in the evening is rather easy as your mind is more in the mood to unwind than hit the treadmill) and better energy levels for the rest of the day. Exposure to sunlight in the morning will also help you tank up on vitamin D.

AT 8 AM: HAVE A HIGH PROTEIN BREKKIE

Research shows that folks who skip breakfast have a four-and-ahalf time greater risk of obesity compared to those who regularly eat a morning meal. Opt for a masala omelette with toast, make yourself some oats upma, or prepare the traditional lentil and rice based idlis and dosas. Highprotein, higher-calorie breakfasts result in lower blood sugar, decreased insulin resistance and decreased production of the hormone that stimulates appetite.

AT 9 AM: FLOSS AND RUN

So you have exercised, had a protein breakfast, and sprinted to office, just about on time. Now, attend to your teeth. Experts point out, if you brush too close to your morning coffee, the acidity may weaken your enamel. Wait for at least half an hour after consuming something acidic before taking out your toothbrush.

AT 10 AM: PASS OVER YOUR SNACK

Snacks are helpful for weight loss when they keep you satiated in between meals, but breakfast and lunch are so close together that you really don’t need to take in those extra unwanted calories. So save your snack for sometime between lunch and dinner, which often has a gap of six hours.

AT 11 AM: THINK FOOD

Close to lunch time, your body starts getting hungry and you are more likely to make a hasty eating indulgence. Stop what you’re doing and take a moment to think about the healthy meal you’ll have to fuel your body. Talk yourself into committing to the plan and sticking to it.

AT NOON: GRAB LUNCH

If you can, step away from work and other distractions to take the time to enjoy your lunch. It’s easier in theory than in practice, but instead of gobbling up the meal, savour every bite, so that you feel satiated and satisfied. And, it’s not a bad idea to eat lunch a bit earlier than you might be accustomed to. If you put lunch off until you’re starving, you’ll be more likely to grab whatever is easiest rather than what’s healthiest.

AT 1 PM: CHUG SOME WATER

If you feel tired or are facing a splitting headache at the beginning of the afternoon, you might be dehydrated. Keep a glass or bottle of water handy to help keep your body well-hydrated and your mind in the game, especially in our tropical climes. It’s easy to confuse hunger with thirst, so if you feel hungry in such a short time after a meal, there’s a good chance that what you need isn’t actually more food.

AT 2 PM: OPT FOR SOME CAFFEINE

Studies after studies show that coffee is full of disease-preventing antioxidants, plus it’s been shown to improve mood and concentration, and helps protect against type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. This is the ideal time for your second cup, since the caffeine will help you perform better throughout the afternoon, but will be out of your system before it’s time for bed.

AT 3 PM: WALK THE TALK

Whether or not you work in an office, many of us are glued to our computers or devices all day long, which is why it’s so important to get up and move. A midday exercise will get your blood flowing, boost your energy, and may even ward off depression. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take a 10-minute walk around the block, the parking lot, up and down the building stairs.

AT 4 PM: GET SOME SNACK

Experiencing a mid-afternoon slump is not unusual. If you feel irritable, you might be experiencing a dip in your levels of serotonin, the brain neurotransmitter associated with well-being. Eat poha or khakhra, as carbs are known to increase levels of serotonin in the brain.

BETWEEN 5 PM AND 7 PM: PREP FOR DINNER

Making a meal at home with as many fresh ingredients as possible can improve your family’s health — less fried foods and trans fat, and a more balanced plate. But figuring out what to cook can be stressful and time consuming. And whenever possible, swirl while you cook. Not only might a little salsa action make dinner prep more fun, this non-exercise activity can add up in expending calories.

AT 7 PM: EAT WITH FAMILY

When you sit down to dinner, take time to enjoy meal time. Use your evening meal as an opportunity to savour the food and appreciate being with your family. Eating dinner together at home can improve your children’s nutrition, have positive effects on portion control, and has even been shown to relieve stress. As tempting as the couch may be at this time of day, try to force yourself to do something mildly active after dinner. Tidy up the kitchen, or take a stroll around the block while catching up with friends on the phone. Walking will help boost your mood without neglecting your to-do list.

AT 8 PM: BRUSH YOUR TEETH

If you tend to nibble all night, you need to set up a new ritual to break the pattern. Brushing your teeth sends a mental signal that mealtime is over, plus you’re a lot less likely to nosh if you know you’re going to have to brush your teeth all over again.

AT 9 PM: UNWIND

It’s common to think of a million little things you need to do once you finally get into bed, which isn’t very helpful when it prevents you from relaxing and falling asleep. Try keeping a notepad by your bed, so that you can jot down reminders and prepare for the next day so that when you eventually turn off the light, your mind will be clear.

AT 10 PM: TURN ON THE AC

Sleeping in cooler temperatures helps to boost the production of brown fat, which burns energy, unlike white fat, which stores energy. And while this study only used male subjects, consider that cooler temperatures help everyone sleep better, and people who are more rested make healthier food choices.

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