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 don’t tend to set New Year’s Resolutions as such, but I do think having aims and goals isn’t a bad thing.
Staying healthy isn’t all about diet; it is a complex mix of factors. Things that we can change to help ourselves feel better generally. Being a healthy weight is a great thing but ultimately happiness and feeling good are just as important.
– These are my top 10 ways to stay healthy this coming year. -Try and get a good amount of sleep. Any parents will be exclaiming what the heck is sleep? It’s true, parenting young monsters makes your bed the place you dream about all day BUT sleep is so important. It’s good for your immune system, mood and brain skills. 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 earlier to get some more shut eye. This may mean practising sleep hygiene; no screens for an hour before bed, have a relaxing bath, read and practice mindfulness.
– 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 really boring 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.
– Watch the booze. If any of you are like me, drunk 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 pick your food less wisely. 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 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.
– Look after your eyes. If you wear contact lenses, take a break and wear your glasses. Drink plenty of water and use drops if necessary.
– 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.
– Caring for your feet is really important, especially if you on them a lot; a busy parent or as part of your job. It is important to look after the skin on your feet, to keep them clean and dry. You should try and moisturise and file any hard skin off with a pumice. It is also really important to wear the right shoes, like comfortable quality sneakers.
– 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! Have a wonderful, productive and healthy 2018.
Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.