Christmas is over, the turkey’s been eaten, the Prosecco has run dry – are we ready to tackle the next festive ritual – the New Year resolution. This quite often involves some kind of dieting and a ‘get healthy’ regime, after all the excesses of Christmas. Eating well can be a challenge, especially when there is such an overwhelming range of advice. Your personal trainer will tailor a program specifically to your needs but in the meantime here are a few things to think about.
- Are you heavier than you were a year ago, do your clothes feel tight
- Do you feel you don’t have much energy and you are you tired all the time
- Are you eating more convenience, ready meals or take away fast foods than healthy meals you have prepared
- Are your meal portion sizes increasing
- Is your exercise regime non-existent or very little
- Do you smoke
- Do you drink more alcohol than the recommended weekly amount
Well if you have more YES than NO answers, then maybe it’s time for a healthy challenge. Decide what you want to achieve over the next month, and over the next year, maybe you want to lose weight, or to be able to run up and down your stairway without becoming winded, or you want to reduce cholesterol or lower your blood pressure. Maybe you just would like to feel healthier. Once you have decided you could speak to your personal trainer who will help you to set up some achievable goals.
Your diet is a good place to start. Sometimes even something as simple as making and taking your lunch to work with you instead of having that fast food lunch, can make a difference. And after that healthy lunch maybe a walk, even a couple of times around the car park, it all helps.
Choose crunchy raw vegetables instead of chips and serve them with a little of your favourite dip.
Whole grain bread and pasta to replace white bread and white pasta. Skip the sugary desserts and have a small dish of fresh berries, maybe with a dab of plain yoghurt then add a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. Use lemon juice instead of oil for as salad dressing. Reduce your intake of saturated fats and increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, flax and walnuts.
Make a grocery list before you go shopping that way you will stay away from the snack food aisles and the prepackaged foods aisles when you shop. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, lean meats, fish, and legumes and avoid foods high in saturated fats, sodium, trans-fats and sugar.
The best cooking methods are essential for healthy nutrition, such as sautéing is better than deep-frying which just adds fats and calories and doesn’t add any nutrition. Steam your vegetables instead of boiling them to mush. Steaming will preserve the vitamins found in the vegetables. When you cook your healthy meals at home, be sure to make a little bit extra to take to work for your lunch.
Tell your friends and family about your goals as you are more likely to get support and want to avoid failure. To help you stay motivated, make a checklist of how achieving your resolution will help you. Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a goal, which will help to motivate you and give you a sense of progress. Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time but treat any failure as a temporary setback rather than a reason to give up altogether and get back on track.