Ditch The Extreme Diets
People often start the New Year with the best of intentions – eating right, regular exercise, cutting back on the booze. Often people will hop on the bandwagon of some extreme or ‘fad’ diet to kick start these New Year goals. The problem is, many of these fad diets aren’t nutritionally balanced and they are often too unrealistic and restrictive, so most people can’t stick to them.
When trying to set yourself up with long-term healthy habits, it’s important to approach it holistically – have a balanced diet, train regularly and try to adopt a good mindset where you are kind to yourself. This will have a far greater effect on your mind and body than adapting to strict and restrictive diets.
Dr. Muriel Moes has some expert tips to help you achieve the balanced diet component of your overall holistic health:
It’s important to set goals that are realistic and achievable. Yes, you may want to lose a little bit of weight, but what are the long-term goals of your new eating patterns? Is it to achieve balance and overall health and wellness? Try not to view a ‘diet’ as for a specific moment in time or for one purpose (i.e. a weight loss diet). Rather, trying seeing your ‘diet’ as a long-term pattern of lifestyle and eating choices.
Balance & Variety
Having a healthy diet is all about choosing different nutritious foods throughout the day. Variety and balance with your meals will help meet nutrient requirements and will still allow you to enjoy an occasional treat.
Watching serving sizes is important as this will help from over-eating as well as ensuring you’re getting the right amount to provide the body with energy from carbohydrates, protein, and fats as well as essential vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Try and remember the five core food groups to be consumed each day:
- Dairy products
- Animal products (beef, poultry, fish, and eggs) or vegetarian alternatives such as legumes (beans, lentils and tofu)
Essential healthy fats from nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and spreads are also very important as these support cardiovascular health, cholesterol regulation and brain function.
Last but absolutely not least, drink plenty of water. Water keeps us hydrated, it helps to clean toxins from the body and it can help us feel fuller after meals and snacks.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Eating breakfast helps to kick start the body’s metabolism after a night of resting and fasting. It’s preferable not to skip it because you can be left with less energy throughout the day which can lead to uncontrollable food cravings. This could lead to uncontrollable food cravings later in the day. Having breakfast helps meet daily nutrient requirements of vitamins and minerals and having a good metabolism can help to maintain a healthy weight. So many benefits! It’s also delicious, so why would you skip it!?
A complete breakfast should include a serve of whole grain or high fibre grain food (e.g. bread or cereal), a serve of dairy (yogurt or milk) and a serve of fruit.
Keep A Food Diary
Keeping a food diary can be really handy in keeping you accountable as you get used to new patterns of eating and it can also help you to track your great progress! It doesn’t need to be anything too complicated, just a simple table where you can note down: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, water intake and any exercise you do. You’ll be surprised how useful it can be in helping you be consistent as you work towards your goals.
Don’t Eat Your Emotions
Often when we are feeling stressed, tired, and emotional we’ll reach for the closest treat food and gobble it down without a second thought. This can lead to excess calorie intake and over consumption of certain unhealthy nutrients. Instead, try taking five deep breaths, drinking a glass of water and going for a 10-minute walk to clear your head. It might be the last thing you want to do in the moment, but you’ll be surprised how much calmer you will feel.