New year, new you – or is it?”
“New year, new you!” – the post-Christmas marketing is about to begin.
Now is the time we will be made to feel guilty about having over-indulged during the festive period, so now you feel bad about yourself and are frightened by what you see in the mirror; now you are open to quick weight loss fixes.
From 1st January, we will be inundated with quick fix, fad diet and detox products marketed to get us back in shape quickly. However, short term fixes do not last past February! Remember, diets always come to an end and so do their benefits.
So, what is the best diet? Do I eat more protein? Cut out Carbs? Cut out all fat? Reduce calories? What foods should I avoid? What superfoods should I add? Should I drink shakes or eat branded weight loss foods? Should I eat only organic or should I just fast for two days each week?
Let’s break the habit this time. Why not begin 2017 by developing a new relationship with food. Simply paying better attention to what we eat is a great place to start on our journey to improved health, to weight loss and a more energised body. Let’s start by caring about what we consume.
The best diet to follow is one that works for you in the long-term. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, a meat eater, a “carb monster” or a fruit muncher, the best diet is one that you will be doing all year long. No matter which camp you are in, the eating regime that works will be the one that involves eating whole, unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods.
The right dietary approach for you will also depend on what you can afford, your body shape, your nutritional knowledge, your lifestyle and the time you have available to prepare meals.
Here are some ideas for you:
• Why not clear out the Christmas processed foods, sweets and chocolates? If they’re not there you can’t eat them!
• Why not improve the quality of the food you buy? Avoid the cheap deals on nutrient-lacking, processed foods.
• Make sure you your meals are colourful – more colours mean more nutrients.
• Try a new food every month – add a new vegetable to your shopping trolley.
• Consider portion sizes – try a smaller plate for your meals. (If you struggle with portion sizes then think each meal should have a palm-ful of protein, a fist full of vegetables, a cupped hand full of quality carbs and a thumb length of quality fats – this can be doubled for an active or larger person).
Basing your meals on a mix of protein, high fibre vegetables, ‘smart’ carbs and healthy fats is important to balance your nutrition and give your body everything it needs to keep you well, and not craving quick treats which might upset your ability to maintain a good physique.
When preparing meals, it is easy to mix and match your ingredients to give a balanced plate of food. Think protein first, then fibrous veg, then a small amount of starchy carbs that will fill you up but not be too heavy in sugars, followed by a small amount of healthy fats.
If you only do one thing, cut down on processed foods and alcohol. Detoxing is done naturally in the body through the liver. So reducing or eliminating toxins such as alcohol and the chemicals in processed foods means the liver does its job more efficiently. A body under less stress will perform better, look better and a healthy body is more likely to be able to lose excess body fat.
By improving your eating, you will be more energized and more likely to exercise more – there have been studies done which show that people who ate a lot of fruits, vegetables and fish were less likely to be depressed too. When you feel low in mood you are more likely to eat from food groups that are bad for you.
Unless you have been specifically advised to, you do not need to follow a meal plan. They can be tough to follow, are only temporary and sometimes get in the way of our normal daily life, such as when eating out with friends.
Making small changes by improving the meals you eat and enjoy can transform your body without leaving you feeling like you’re missing out. Keep it real and keep it simple. Also, forming new habits and improving your relationship with food will make sustained change easier to maintain.
Whatever you do make sure it works for you. The next time new year comes around you won’t have to think about the next fad diet – you’ll be eating healthily every day!
Better food – Better body – Better life!
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