Healthy living/eating is not just a fad diet, it’s a whole lifestyle change. One of the main issues with “dieting” is that it’s only a temporary fix to the problem you believe you have. You need to see the bigger picture when it comes to health. Just cutting out certain things from your diet for a set period of time will help you to lose weight or make you feel better about yourself but in reality as soon as you go back to your old ways it’s going to either put the weight straight back on or start making you feel bad again.
Cleaning up the way you eat/live from processed food to home cooked nutrient dense food you will naturally see quite a few benefits, not just weight loss but better skin, higher cognitive function, reduced fatigue, better mood and many more.
Many people think that switching to healthy living means that you can’t enjoy some of your favourite foods. However it’s becoming a lot easier to find alternative ways of making your favourite food and trust me this curry you can make at home with 5-10 minutes of preparation time will destroy the takeaway you buy on a Saturday night.
Accessing your health:
First and most important step to going down the healthy living path is to really assess what it is you want to gain from it, whether it be to improve energy, weight loss, improve or eliminate an illness or just a general improvement of health. Finding out this piece of information will give you the inspiration and motivation to follow it through.
Secondly write a food diary of what you eat on an average week, with this you have to be brutally honest with yourself, making sure to write down everything and not leaving out the stuff you’re embarrassed about. This will give you an insight into how healthy you are actually eating. You really should be cooking all your food with fresh ingredients and not buying ready made meals or takeaways. Making sure to also avoid ready made sauces as they are high in sugars and preservatives.
Finally write down alongside the food diary each day with your energy and mood scores out of 10.
Now that you have a understanding of where you’re at physically and mentally here are some tips to help you get onto the healthy living bandwagon.
10 top tips:
- Cooking from scratch- This is one of the most important life skills and has been mainly forgotten about as our generation has been brought up with less time and a “faster is better” attitude towards food. Learning how to cook from scratch allows you to really control and understand what you are eating.
- Eating a balanced diet- This is key to gaining the correct levels of nutrients from each food type.
- Always eat breakfast- Breakfast is classed as the most important meal of the day, kick starting your metabolism and helps to keep you alert and productive through-out the day.
- The more colourful the better- The more naturally colourful your food is, generally the better for you it will be. When it comes to fruit and vegetables the different colours in them actually mean that they are providing different vitamins and minerals than others. For example swapping potatoes with sweet potato, their bright orange colour dramatically increases the amount of beta carotene you get.
- Avoid empty calories- Lot’s of processed foods are empty calories, make sure you stick to food that is giving your body the vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre it needs.
- Read the labels- Make sure with all the food you buy to read the label. Generally you want to avoid anything that has ingredients in that you would never have in your kitchen at home.
- Don’t be fooled by labels and packaging- Just because it says on the pack that its “low in calories” or “healthy” doesn’t mean that it’s good for you at all.
- Drink more water- Making sure you drink enough water is essential, 2-4 litres throughout the day. Make sure to not drink fizzy drinks as they are jam packed with empty calories.
- Sleep- This is essential to healthy living, so make sure you get enough, try to avoid all blue light (mobiles, TV’s, computers, LED lights) for at least 1-2 hours before sleep as this really disrupts the quality and depth of the sleep you get.
- Keep active- Making sure you keep as active as possible, trying to stand at your desk or take a walk around the office every hour can really help.
If you would like a made up template for the food diary please send me an email via the “contact” page and I will send one over to you, also feel free to email me any other questions regarding this topic you may have.