Every New Year marks a new milestone, and many of us embrace this by making a New Year’s Resolution.
These resolutions usually involve improving ourselves or changing something in our lives; you may want to achieve certain career aspirations, or perhaps spend more time with friends and family – but most of us also dedicate at least one resolution to our nutrition and lifestyle.
In the UK, the top 5 resolutions for 2020 were:
• Eat more healthily
• Exercise more
• Lose weight
• Spend more time with friends and family
• Live more economically
Another thought to bear in mind is that many animals hibernate during winter, so if you really listen to your body, you may decide it’s best to use this period for reflecting, resting, and recovering, before implementing change.
So if you feel like you need more sleep or rest, then make that your New Year’s Resolution!
Improve Your Nutrition, Improve Your Life
Many people in the UK are committed to self-improvement through nutrition and lifestyle changes, and as a Nutritional Therapist, I cannot think of a healthier or more positive way to start the year!
Once you are ready to embark on a realistic program of change (as opposed to unsustainable fad diets, slimming programmes which require strict calorie counting, or excessive exercise regimes), you should consider ways to improve your overall health which are not necessarily about exercise and dieting.
It is also wise to be suspicious of any program which offers quick and easy weight loss solutions, as these will often do more harm than good.
Debunking Common Myths About Nutrition:
Myth 1 – Snacking Is Bad For You
You should never starve yourself to lose weight. If you avoid the signal to eat when you are hungry, your blood sugar levels will crash, and you are more likely to overeat later. You will also burn fewer calories, as your body enters starvation mode.
Try eating five small meals each day, or have healthy, nutrient-dense snacks to hand. Eating nutritious, well-balanced meals should leave you feeling fuller for longer – thereby diminishing cravings and the need to snack.
Myth 2 – All Carbohydrates Are Bad
Do you suffer from mid-morning/mid-afternoon slumps which make you long for a sugar fix?
White, refined, processed, and sugary carbohydrates should be avoided, as they are low in nutrients and can cause our blood sugar levels to fluctuate too quickly – leading to energy crashes and cravings. When sustained over time, this can lead to various health complications such as diabetes.
However, other carbohydrates provide an important source of fuel, and are full of nutrients and fibre to keep our systems moving. Beans, lentils, wholegrains, brown rice, pasta, and a wide variety of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables all help to remove waste and toxins from our body.
Myth 3 – All Calories Are Equal
All calories have the same amount of energy, but they are not all equal!
Different foods have different effects on our brain and hunger hormones, while certain foods will provide many more of the essential nutrients needed for whole body health than others.
To properly nourish your body, opt for nutrient-dense carbohydrates, good quality proteins, and healthy fats – instead of a sugary snack.
For instance, one large egg has the same number of calories as a scoop of ice cream – but the egg is a good source of healthy protein, meaning it will keep you feeling full. The ice cream, however, is high in sugar, which will spike your blood sugar levels and leave you craving more!
Top Tips To Nourish Your Body And Mind:
Eat The Rainbow:
Include at least 5 different coloured fruit and vegetables in your diet each day to provide a wide range of plant-based nutrients (phytonutrients).
Where possible, opt for those that are grown locally and organically in rich, living soil to enhance nutrients and decrease environmental toxins.
Avoid Refined, Processed, And Sugary Carbohydrates:
Minimise sugar, cereals, white bread, pastries, white pasta/rice, chips, biscuits, and cakes, to avoid blood sugar spikes and cravings.
Instead, swap for complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, root vegetables, brown rice and pasta, lentils, and beans.
Include Healthy Protein And Fat Sources With Each Meal:
Healthy fats don’t make you fat, but they do contain essential nutrients to keep us healthy and feeling fuller for longer. Opt for oily fish, eggs, avocados, nuts and seeds, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, and butter.
Choose Healthy Snacks And Treats:
When snacking, go for dark chocolate, nuts, crudites, flaxseed crackers or oatcakes topped with hummus or smashed avocado, fruit slices with almond butter, or yoghurt with berries. All these foods are good sources of fibre, antioxidants, and a wide range of nutrients.
Eat Your Calories – Don’t Drink Them!
Avoid fruit juices and fizzy drinks that contain sugar and artificial sweeteners. Drink alcohol in moderation, and when doing so opt for small amounts of red wine, as this contains the antioxidant resveratrol.
Cut down on tea and coffee, as these can be dehydrating and may stop the absorption of certain nutrients. Instead, opt for filtered or spring water and aim to drink at least 1.5 litres daily.
Poor quality sleep can impact your health. Turning devices off in the evenings, reading before bedtime, and going to bed and waking up at the same time every day to balance your circadian rhythm, are just some of the ways to promote good sleep.
Rest Your Mind And Body:
Practicing relaxation techniques, keeping a gratitude journal, spending time outside in nature, and taking gentle exercise, are great ways to nourish your mind, reduce stress, and calm the inflammation in your body which can lead to ill-health.
But My Ultimate Top Tip Is To Get Help With Achieving Your Goals!
Contact Mel at Foreshore Nutrition to discuss your individual nutrition and lifestyle needs, and book a Nutritional Therapy consultation to begin your journey to optimal health and wellbeing.