I’m a Dietitian as a lot of you know. I do have a passion for spreading a healthy message and helping others achieve their goals.
I’m one of those “lucky” people who tend to stay the same weight. Even after having my daughter it didn’t take long for the pounds to fall off and my body weight was back to where it wanted to be (maybe a bit less but that’s breastfeeding for you!). I’m not sure if this is because I know what I am doing, I’m active or just genetics! However, from this I thought I would share my top 10 ways to stay healthy and keep a healthy weight (and these are not just food related):
- Try and get a good amount of sleep. Any parents will be exclaiming what the f**k?? Sleep? What it that? It’s true parenting young monsters makes your bed the place of your wildest fantasies for a good few years but sleep is so important. It’s good for your immune system, mood, brain skills and also stops you stuffing your face all day. Lack of sleep affects the hormones controlling appetite and you are more likely to read for junk and eat a lot more. Try and go to bed early to get a few more hours shut-eye.
- Try and exercise. I aim for 3 times a week at the moment and now I have my Fitbit I am trying (and failing to hit 10,000 steps a day. I have banged on a lot about exercise but it is an excuse for some alone time, helps you sleep, boosts mood, tones you up and helps maintain weight. You only need 30 minutes 5 times a week, as long as your heart rate is raised and you feel warm. This could be a walk in the park with the buggy and a fitness DVD when the littlies have gone to bed.
- Try and be consistent with your eating. I sound like a boring old fart but if you have a good routine with meals and eat pretty similar (healthy foods), you are more likely to maintain your weight.
- Have breakfast; you are more likely to eat and pick less unhealthy foods throughout the day. Try and pack in some protein, like eggs or have some slow release, fibre-packed oats to keep you going.
- Don’t try faddy diets; no sugar, 800kcals a day, Atkins, grapefruit diet….I could go on. Granted, these will probably work in the short-term and you will lose weight. However, who can survive on grapefruits or 800kcals a day for next 50 years? Certainly not me. The NHS website has a fab 8 weight plan which is sustainable and written by Dietitians.
- You can however, reduce the carbs, especially refined sugars (found in fizzy drinks, sweets, chocolate, cakes and biscuits) down a bit. I’m not saying cut carbs out completely, as they provide beneficial fibre and some B Vitamins but if you are not particularly active you can have less. Have a lovely chicken salad for lunch or an omelette and try and snack on nuts and seeds. Another tip is to half your usual portion of rice or pasta and bulk up with veggies.
- Don’t drink you calories. This is a massive bugbear of mine. Why would you chug down a tonnes of calories when you could be enjoying some lovely food? It links to my point above about fizzy drinks and my point below about booze. Energy drinks, fizzy drinks, booze, juices and smoothies (despite the vitamins – eat the whole fruit!) pack in a lot of calories and rack up quickly. Water is always your best bet or a sugar-free squashes, teas and coffee (without sugar) are other choices. I have a big Lucozade dislike. Why would anyone drink it unless unwell and needing some energy??? It is pure sugar!!
- Watch the booze. If any of you are like me, rat arsed on 2 glasses of wine it may not be a problem but alcohol is a depressant and the next day effects can affect your motivation for fitness and you are likely to eat a tonne of crap. Alcohol causes your blood sugars to drop and dehydrates you. In my job, I see people who are tee total and then I see others who drink a hell of a lot. It can become a habit easily. Track your intake with a drinking app and try and cut down a bit. Less calories is also a bonus for your weight too.
- Take care of your mind. This is so important If you feel low, anxious or depressed this will have a massive affect on your body (as so many of you lovely readers will have experienced). You may sleep less, lose your motivation for activity, either overeat or under eat. If you feel like you are not coping there are loads of self help books and clips on YouTube, including mindful meditation and mindfulness. You may want to try this or go and have a chat with your GP first.
- Finally don’t deprive yourself! Life is for living and not all about calories counting and stressing about Fitbit steps. If you have had a good few healthy, active days, that glass of wine won’t hurt. Or that bit of chocolate. Don’t feel guilty; all in moderation and part of a healthy lifestyle!
So there you have it! Please feel free to ask any questions or make any comments.