I’m a Dietitian and eating healthily and being fit do come and part and parcel of the job. 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. Life is so hectic and crazy and self-care and looking after yourself is so important. We all need to put ourselves first now and then.
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.
10 Ways to Stay Healthy
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. 7-8 hours a night is a good number to aim for. Sleep is 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 a little earlier is one option. Think a little about sleep hygiene; no screens for an hour before bed, have a relaxing bath, read and practice mindfulness are some things that can help.
– Try and exercise. I aim for about 5 times a week at the moment, as have got into running over the last year or so but this is me and we are all different in what we enjoy and feel comfortable doing. I have my Fitbit and also aim to get my 10,000 steps a day (and more). I talk 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. It could be gardening or dancing around to Alexa; whatever you enjoy.
– 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. Routine and consistency are key for forming habits that you can maintain.
– 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. Any changes you make can be small and steady, aiming to
– You can however, reduce the sugar in your diet – sugar is found in fizzy drinks, sweets, chocolate, cakes and biscuits. Try and swap sweet treats for fruit, nuts, plain yoghurt and low-sugar cereal if hungry. It is an easy way to reduce the calories in your diet and swap for foods that contain other vitamins and minerals; beneficial for the body.
– Don’t drink you calories. This is a massive bugbear of mine. Why would you drink your calories when you could be enjoying some lovely food? It links to my point above about fizzy drinks and my point below about alcohol. Energy drinks, fizzy drinks, booze, juices and smoothies (despite the vitamins – eat the whole fruit!) pack in a lot of calories and they add up quickly. Water is always your best bet or a sugar-free squashes, teas and coffee (without sugar) are other choices.
– Watch your alcohol intake. 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 glasses, check out somewhere like Mouqy Eyewear for 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.
– 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. We are here to have fun and enjoy ourselves eh?
So there you have it! 10 things I do to look after my health. Hope some have been helpful and here’s to a healthy second half of 2022
Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.