Humans are creatures of habit. We love routine and we have mini-rituals that form part of our daily lives: when we eat, sleep, move and wake. Adding structure to the day not only lightens the load in terms of decreasing decision fatigue, but it also gives one a deeper sense of achievement and freedom.
My typical daily routine is what grounds me. It is my guide to managing my day, increasing productivity and most importantly optimising my health – by improving body composition and not promoting weight gain.
Here’s a rundown of the blueprint for an optimal day in my world…
Wake up naturally
Your natural 24-hour day/night cycle is called your Circadian Rhythm (CR), your biological clock. The CR automatically knows, without looking at the time, when your body needs to sleep and wake. A regular nocturnal/diurnal pattern is key for daily healthy functioning and is critical for longevity and health. Your biological clock also regulates the daily fluctuations in your body temperature, metabolism and hormone release, so it is important to stick to a healthy routine.
Movement and meditation
Time: Fit this in when you can – I do mornings before work
Whether walking, yoga, Pilates and even stretching – any movement is beneficial for your muscles, bones, joints, heart, lungs and cognitive function. Find activities that bring you joy and happiness. I love walking, on my own, with my dog or with friends – and especially in nature or with beautiful scenery. If time allows, I also do 10 -15 minutes on my Rebounder.
Combine your movement, if you can, by getting some natural vitamin D from sunlight – it’s so important for your health. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body and is needed for strong bones, teeth and muscles. Aim to get 10 – 30 minutes of sunlight, several times per week.
Meditation is one of my favourite techniques to ground, centre and appreciate myself. It gives me the power to breathe within, to spend time with myself, and it has incredible wellness benefits. It may be a full 15-minute meditation or just some quiet time thinking. Each day is different but I always find a way to connect with my higher self.
I prepare a nutritionally dense meal, prioritising protein, vegetables (usually a salad packed with raw green veg) and good fats. A well-balanced meal sustains me for 4 to 5 hours. There are 7 core principles that I encourage my clients to follow to make sure they’re creating plates of food that will nourish their bodies. These nutrient-dense meals are devoid of any processed foods and refined carbs, which lead to constant blood sugar imbalances, bloating and gas. Good blood sugar control is always determined by your last meal.
I don’t snack between meals because every time you eat you raise insulin, and too many insulin spikes throughout the day are unhealthy, plus insulin is also a fat storage hormone. Another benefit of not snacking is that you’re giving your gut time to digest food and take a break between meals.
If you do feel the need to snack, check whether you’re thirsty, simply munching out of boredom or possibly you’re emotionally eating. Snacks or treats are energy-zapping.
I prefer drinking water with a splash of ginger, lemon or cinnamon to aid digestion.
When you eat a meal, eat slowly. IF you are lean and have low body fat, have a few raw activated seeds and nuts, or any form of protein (the most satiating nutrient) or some fresh berries.
Breakfast: For those who need to eat breakfast, then totally add that meal to the day. Just stick to the guidelines of protein, fat and fibre. Never start the day, say, with sugar, cereal, orange juice or bread. It only sets you up for uncontrollable hunger and mood swings.
Download my guide: Refer to MY GUIDE TO THE IDEAL NOURISHING PLATE for tips on creating a balanced meal.
Time: Around 6pm
This is another nutrient-dense meal. 60% of my plate is greens and vegetables (mostly cooked), 20% protein and some healthy fats. I love a dash of flavour such as kimchi, chilli, tahini and lemon juice.
I stop eating at 7pm, allowing 3 – 4 hours before bedtime, as late-night eating disrupts sleep hormones, the gut and blood sugar. To enter into deep sleep, avoid any stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, sugar and alcohol before bed.
Watch the sunset
Time: Depending on the season – anywhere between 5.45 and 8pm
A great time to reflect on the day, acknowledge gratitude for all the good experiences I have enjoyed, and for all the loved ones who surround me.
Bedtime & sleep… bliss!
Time: Work backwards, depending on what time you wake up – and aim for 8 hours of sleep. My time works out to around 9pm.
By now I have switched off from any blue light, news and social media.
I advocate sleep in a big way for health, and cannot emphasise enough what it means to have 8 – 9 hours of good quality sleep a night, and every night. Don’t try to catch up on sleep on the weekend, it messes up your circadian rhythm which, as mentioned above, is involved in a whole lot of balancing functions. In fact, sleep controls over 600 genes and bad sleep may switch genes on and off with negative consequences.
When finding your way to optimising your daily routine, keep it simple. A daily structure helps remove decision fatigue with the knock-on effect of boosting productivity.
Focus on connecting with yourself, connecting with loved ones, optimising sleep, optimising gut health and improving body composition, and NEVER worry about weight gain.
It is super simple.