This time of the year, many of us are counting the cost of Christmas in more ways than one. Our waistline is often a key area that suffers and you may find yourself having to suck your stomach in a little more than usual as you button up those jeans.
Trying to lose some weight and simply get a little healthier causes many of us to turn to some radical diet with a view to shedding those extra pounds. In reality we should look to make small adjustments to our diets rather than radical changes if we want to succeed with long term better health. Steve Forrester, who provides personal training in Liverpool gives us his top tips that he uses with his own clients.
Eat from all food groups. Eliminating food groups is an unhealthy and altogether unrealistic way of eating and should be avoided. We need to eat from all the food groups in order to get the nutrients our bodies need. This includes lean protein from sources such as chicken, turkey, and fish, and then occasional sources of red meat (no more than twice a week). We should also consume plenty of nutrient rich carbohydrates in the form of fruit and vegetables. Choose foods with lots of different colours like bananas, peppers, carrots, spinach, etc. Finally we need to eat foods rich in heart-healthy omega fats such as nuts, avocados, and oily fish whilst limiting our intake of high saturated fats found in red meat, fast foods, and fried foods.
Reducing our Sugar and Salt intake. Food scientists blame our nation’s obsession with sugar and salt on the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular health risks. You’ll find salt and sugar added to almost every food you buy from bread to table sauces. It is therefore impossible to avoid but can be limited by making simple changes. Never add salt to your cooking or foods. If you want to increase flavour consider adding spices or garlic. Limit your intake of high sugar snacks such as soda, cakes, and biscuits and reduce your intake of salty snacks such as chips (crisps).
Don’t count calories. There is really no need to agonise over counting calories every day. Just by making the above changes you will automatically reduce your calorie consumption. Try to serve your dinner up on a smaller plate. Look at your food portions and use the eyeball method. The size of protein on your plate should be the size and thickness of your palm, the vegetables and salad the size of two clenched fists, the starch carbs (pasta, rice, potato) the size of one clenched fist, and the added fat (eg butter) the size and depth of the end of your thumb (where the thumbnail sits).
Alcohol in moderation. Figures reveal that alcohol consumption has risen dramatically over the last 40 years. Alcohol packs a serious punch when it comes to empty calories so try to reduce your consumption. Keep it as a weekend treat rather than a daily occurrence. You’ll look and feel healthier for it.
Don’t deprive yourself completely. Deprivation is a major cause of people losing focus and going back to unhealthy eating. Everything in moderation means that you can still have those things you enjoy but simply limit them. This means you can still have the odd glass of wine, or a bar of chocolate once in a while. You can go out for dinner or grab a take-away but all these things should be occasional treats. Work on the 80/20 method. This means being strict with your diet 80 percent of the time and letting your hair down for 20 percent of the time. This strategy is proven to work.
Changes take time. Understand that making changes to the way you eat takes time and don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up occasionally. When this happens the important thing to do is to pick yourself up and get back to your healthy eating plan.