Being Britain’s youngest ever European gold medalist and a two-time bronze Olympic medalist, it’s fair to say that Tom Daley knows a thing or two about focus, determination and health. I mean, he didn’t get those abs and 51 (yes, 51!) medals overnight. So when his first book, Tom’s Daily Plan (£6.99, Harper Collins) landed on our desk at YF HQ, we took note. These three life hacks are just what we need to help us achieve our daily health goals.
Morning life hack: Meditation
“You might think meditation is not for you. I wasn’t too sure at first, but I started meditating in 2013 and now I’m hooked,” explains Tom. “Most mornings I like to get up early enough to eat a proper breakfast and to meditate. Then I head off for training feeling calm, focused and rested. Here’s a 10-minute meditation exercise you could do at home before you start your day. It’s so worth it.”
1. Find a quiet spot and sit comfortably on a chair with a straight back. Shut the door and try to make sure you’ll be left undisturbed for 10 minutes.
2. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and breathing out through your mouth. Focus on the physical sensations in your body. Think about how your feet feel against the floor and your back against the chair. Can you feel your abdomen rise and fall with each breath you take?
3. From your head downwards, scan through your body, working down to your feet. Notice the feelings you have: which parts feel relaxed, tight or numb? Note the sensations but don’t try to change them.
4. Once you’ve scanned right down to the tips of your toes, come back to focusing your mind. Notice your breath and how it feels. Count 10 breaths. If thoughts come into your mind, just bring your attention back to your breath.
5. Now turn your thoughts to your body. Count to three and then gently open your eyes when you feel ready.
Lunchtime life hack: How to boost your energy
“Like lots of people I’m usually at my best in the morning, then after lunch or in the early afternoon I can start to run out of steam,” Tom admits. “I’ve learned how to give my energy levels a boost so I can keep going and make the most of my day. Here are some simple tips that have helped me and might help you too.”
Water is the main source of energy in the body and I always carry a bottle of water around with me. Thirst is a sign that your energy levels are depleted so don’t wait until you feel thirsty to grab a drink of water because by then you’ll already be dehydrated. Always choose water over fruit juices and other drinks – if you get bored, add a slice of lemon or cucumber to your water.
AVOID SNACK FOODS
We all know how easy it is to reach for the biscuit tin when you feel you need an energy boost but don’t! Keep away from temptation and have some healthy snacks, such as a handful of nuts or some power balls to hand.
TAKE A BREAK
As soon as you feel a bit tired and sluggish, walk for 10 minutes, preferably outdoors. If you’re really pushed for time, even a five-minute stroll around the block will boost your energy levels.
If you can’t get outside, do some simple and rejuvenating stretches like shoulder rolls. These will get the blood flowing and fight feelings of tiredness.
GRAB A COFFEE
Caffeine can be a great pick-me-up – but don’t have too much of it. Simple black coffee is low-calorie, cheap and easily available. You’ll get energy fast because there’s no milk or added fats, so your body will metabolise the coffee more quickly.
Evening life hack: Eating mindfully
“You hear a lot about ‘eating mindfully’ and at first I wasn’t sure what this really meant. In fact, it’s very simple. It means paying proper attention to the experience of eating and drinking and to the textures, flavours and smell of food,” Tom explains. “If you ever find yourself having a meal in front of the television or while catching up with some emails and hardly noticing what’s on your plate, it’s time to change. Mindful eating plugs us back into our body’s cues, so we know when we need to eat and when we’ve had enough. Here are some ideas to try.”
ENJOY EACH BITE
Think about the texture and flavour of each mouthful you eat. How do you feel before and after?
Never eat in front of the television and remove your phone from the table! Did you know that it takes 20 minutes for our brains to register that we are full? That means if you’re distracted by other things at mealtimes, it’s all too easy to overeat.
RELAX AT MEALTIMES
It’s generally accepted that if we eat when we’re stressed, the body does not digest food in the same way and cannot derive the same full nutritional value from it as when we’re feeling calm. Try to eat at regular times.
THINK ABOUT YOUR FOOD
Thinking about what we’re eating can help us to develop a healthier relationship with food and to lose weight. Also, think about your food and where it comes from? If you take the time to understand more about the origins of the food you eat, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation and this might change your eating habits.
KEEP A FOOD DIARY
Write down everything you eat and why. Did you eat because you were hungry? Or were you tired, bored or stressed? By becoming more aware of our emotional eating triggers and patterns it’s easier to adjust them and make healthy changes.
This post has been extracted from Tom’s Daily Plan (£6.99, Harper Collins). For more life hacks and 80 fuss-free recipes for a happier and healthier you, pick up a copy of Tom’s Daily Plan here.