By the tail end of the festive season, most people feel like they’ve overindulged in one way or another – be that through stuffing themselves with turkey on Christmas Day, taking advantage of the sudden influx of sweet treats and snacks, or having one drink too many on New Year’s Eve.
Whatever the reason, many see the new year as an opportunity to make a positive change in their lives, and very often this relates to diet. There are, however, right and wrong ways to change your diet.
Fortunately, our resident dietician, Phaedra Dhimis, is here to talk you through making 2020 as healthy as possible when it comes to what you eat and drink.
Don’t make any drastic changes
It’s never a good idea to go on a crash diet because you can’t maintain that. Usually if you try and do something too drastic, you end up putting on weight. So the idea is to adopt some healthy eating principles that will benefit you for life – not just in the short term.
My 6 healthy eating principles to live by
- Eat less processed food. This is high in salt, trans fats and saturated fat – none of which are good for your health. Hopefully this will be a lot easier now all the Christmas nibbles have been nibbled away!
- Eat regular meals that are high in fiber. Not only will this help fill you up, but the fiber will do wonders for your digestive system. So, for example, you’ll be looking to eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to aim for five a day – that’s three portions of fruit and two big portions of different vegetables.
- Eat more slowly. Not only does this mean you’ll be taking in fewer calories, you’ll also be digesting your food better and you will feel less inclined to snack between meals.
- Be mindful of snacking. Everyone loves a snack, so you can’t be expected to cut snacks out entirely. That said, you should avoid snacking in the evening because you won’t get the opportunity to burn those calories off – and things like crisps, nuts and salty processed foods are very, very calorific.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Not only will this perform the crucial function of keeping your body hydrated, but it will also boost your immune system and aid digestion.
Anyone who follows these six simple principles is more than likely to lose some weight, and they will certainly begin to feel more energised, will be able to concentrate better, and will find their mood elevated – lowering the risk of depression.
The same principles are true for anyone aiming to lose weight…
… though there are a few simple tweaks to the plan.
The main difference is that you should be more particular about your protein choices. You should seek out foods that are rich in omega-3, such as salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna. Beyond that, you should focus on lower-fat foods and proteins such as chicken, turkey and veal – while making an effort to cut right back on red meat.
You would also be aiming to cut the portion sizes of your proteins, and to ensure that half of your plate is full of a variety of different coloured vegetables. Another important point would be to avoid eating carbohydrates as much as possible in the evening.
Finally, an extremely vital factor in losing weight is never to miss breakfast. Not only does this set you up for the day, it also boosts your metabolism in the morning which makes it easier for you to lose weight.
Dry January certainly won’t do you any harm and the benefits could be colossal
There is no nutrient value to alcohol and it’s very calorific, so many people cut out alcohol just to lose weight. However, there are a number of even bigger benefits to stopping drinking – it also lowers your chance of heart disease, stroke, liver disease, depression and dementia.
Finally, one big change you could make for 2020 is cooking more
I would love it if more people started cooking in the new year because you can cook at the weekend or when you’re off work, and freeze it to eat later or throughout the week. So, for example, maybe some lovely, warming homemade soup that can be cooked up in batches and frozen, but made with good quality vegetables and ingredients. I would encourage everyone to experiment more with that sort of thing.
The food in restaurants or ready-made meals can be very, very high in salt, and they’re usually a lot more processed than the equivalent food made at home. It’s much healthier – and more rewarding! – to cook simple, good, honest food yourself.
To book an appointment with Phaedra Dhimis please call on 07710724638