I am always telling my clients and friends that it is not that hard to get fitter and healthier – it’s about then that they get the same murderous look in their eyes and I have to duck for cover, but trust me you can do it with just a few changes.
I have put some suggestions together to help you to get in better shape, both mentally and physically, for the New Year …….. and the good news is that you only need to make a few compromises on your daily habits to reap the rewards.
Ok, If you want better health and fitness results you must cut down on Junk Food.
This will be a little challenging at first, especially if your body is used to having lots of high calorie, high fat, high sugary foods. Sometimes, the challenge comes a little later on – you start of well and run out of steam. So go slow and replace one bad meal or snack a day with a healthier option each day.
Eating too much junk food may well be a habit e.g having that take away pizza every Saturday night so break the habit and go for a healthier food choice like grilled fish or chicken with salad – once you’ve broken the habit and you feel the benefits of not having junk food, you won’t want to go back – less weight, more energy, better skin and improved mood all are yours when you make this small change.
They say it takes around about 21 days to break a habit, so take one day at a time and focus each day on the improvements in the way you look and/or feel, rather than what you are missing out on. Focus on the positives and if you fall off the wagon don’t give up – just start again the next day.
Also you need to be aware of your portion sizes, make a smaller plate than normal, but beware the temptation to pile your food high – unless it’s veggies of course! Eat more slowly – allow your body to digest the food from the moment you look at it – and this includes when you are choosing what you want to eat. More of your senses are involved in the digestive process – sight and smell as well as taste – and believe it or not – the brain.
It’s not just about portion size but also about the food choices you make. There are some great tricks you can include in your food choices and how you prepare your meals that will make a great difference over the longer term – not only in terms of weight, but also energy, how you feel and even motivation.
Soups are great choice as they fill you up but make sure you use lots of vegetables like sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, leeks and kale so that you get a good hit of nutrients as well. Great taste combinations are satisfying – you are full, but you feel it too.
You can use low fat ricotta cheese, yoghurt, miso or almond meal to thicken and make sauces instead of using butter and cream.
Filo pastry is a good alternative to the buttery puff pastry and if pasta is your favourite comfort food try using a wholemeal or wholegrain variety. Use other vegies to make chips like parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes make a good alternative to having deep fried potato chips and are perfect in the Tefal Actifry.
Research is continually showing us the benefits of eating a variety of coloured foods – these are often nutrient dense and calorie poor so are a perfect choice if weight management is your goal – and they have the added anti-aging benefits. Think blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and leafy greens such as rocket, english spinach, broccoli or kale along side the deep reds and purples of aubergine and beetroot.
Studies are also showing that we need some fats in our diets to help us feel full. The main problem I see about fats in the diet is they suffer from such bad press simply by virtue of their name – FAT – but there are good omega fats that you can get from salmon, tuna or mackerel, olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and olives and these should be a regular part of you diet.
You also must remember a couple of No-nos. Too many people think they are doing the right thing by not eating very much or skipping breakfast but this is not the way to go! Your body needs to have its metabolism kick started first thing in the morning – breakfast. And stimulating it during the day with healthy snacking – low fat/ low sugar yogurt, a piece of fruit with a handful of almonds or a boiled egg are good choices will also help keep your blood sugar levels steady. This will help to decrease cravings and bad moods – and keep you on the straight and narrow.
Finally, Get Active. Incidental exercise can make a big difference. Walk up the stairs rather than take an escalator or lift, don’t sit down for more than an hour at a time and move for five minutes every hour for best results.