A New Year’s Resolution: Weight Loss & Healthy Living

Diet & Weight Loss

Well, it’s that time of year again…yes, where everyone reflects on the previous year and contemplates changes; weight loss and creating healthier lifestyle choices normally making it into the ‘top ten’! Perhaps its your New Year’s resolution? Are you feeling hyped and positive going into 2015? … All ready with your new ‘kick-ass’ healthy-living regime to create a healthier you?! Perhaps you are now the ‘master of your temple’ and no one is going to stand in your way…not even yourself? If you answered yes, what is your plan of action?

 

Photo by: Israel Byrne_Flickr

Weight loss and living a healthier lifestyle should resonate further than a ‘New Year’s resolution’ though… because we deserve that much right? To be healthy and happy for more than 2-3 months of the year? Of course we do! But if you think it’s a simple process, think again (I’m not saying this to discourage you, I just think it’s better to be open and honest). If it was easy to lose and maintain weight loss, there wouldn’t be such an obesity epidemic!

 

Negative behaviours learnt over decades can take ages for us to convert into positive ones…but it is possible. It’s not a perfect system and we have to be able to accept the highs with the lows of this new journey that we’re about to embark on… and of course, how weight loss works. For example, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet”…well you can’t change unhealthy habits until you can explain and accept what is causing them in the first place either!

 

Successful weight loss stems from a combination of controlling your actions & emotions…

 

The 5 Building Blocks For Successful Weight Loss

  1. Motivation: You might of have had a recent health scare or received unsolicited comments from your family or friends… but unless you are motivated for healthy changes and a better quality of life (maybe this requires you to ask for help & support?), you’re not going to change your unhealthy habits…period!
  1. Exercise regime: Firstly, do something you enjoy, your more likely to stick to it. Making time to exercise (with a realistic schedule) will aid weight loss and create a healthier body and mind; check out my previous article for fitness guidance. The more you exercise…the better you’ll feel….and eventually you’ll start seeing positive changes that will motivate you to keep it up…but you know that this is only part of the healthy living/weight loss equation.
  1. Healthy Diet: Weight loss requires a daily reduction of calories. You can’t out exercise a bad diet…. So do not treat your body like a human dust bin and expect to be the epiphany of good health! Do you know anyone that spends an hour in the gym a few times a week and still eats takeaways, sweets and drinks alcohol because they think they have created the perfect energy balance? How do they look? Are they a model for healthy living?

Calories in vs. calories burned folks! Even if you reduce your calories throughout the week and have a big ‘blow-out’ (you know, the “I allow myself to eat anything for a day”)…might be enough to undo all your hard work! To loss 1Lb a week you must burn 3500kcal through diet and exercise….so everything in moderation. Enough said!

4. Self-analysis: It’s your rational, explanation and acceptance ….why are you overweight? Why are you changing your lifestyle? If your emotions are running high they can reek havoc on your lifestyle choices… not addressing your: overeating at meals, how your emotions trigger mindless eating, secret binge habits that are possibly followed by hours of exercise to try and counteract it, or induced vomiting will not create the ideal environment for change….you are more likely to fall back into old lifestyle regimes.

You can’t expect weight loss to make you happy (thin or overweight, everyone has problems and concerns) and equally you cannot eat to try and suppress your emotions…

It’s important to address your mental health. Your mind is essential organ like everything else. If your heart or kidneys were sick, would you not seek intervention? Why not do the same in this instance?

  1. Commitment: You love the results, but do you know how to keep the momentum going? You have to plan ahead to help instil your positive lifestyle changes and commit to making these changes ‘permanent’; keep them small and practical to keep yourself motivated!

 

 

 

10 Reasons Why Weight Loss Regimes Fail

Photo by: Anitarium Nutrition Team_Flickr

 

 

1. You do not take the time to plan ahead, e.g. preparing healthy lunches, making time for  exercise, meditation etc.

2. Unrealistic goals/expectations: being too fixated on numbers or body shapes, e.g. losing a stone in one week and wanting to look like a super model is non-sense, as is assuming dieting alone will rid you of fat and cellulite.

3. Your emotions: Not trying to fix/address the underlying reason(s) why you are fat, overweight, unhappy etc and thinking weight-loss will make you instantly happy.

4. Lack of knowledge: about healthy foods/portion sizes and exercise.

5. Lack of support and/or pressure from: family, friends, work colleagues and the media (a.k.a horrible gossip magazines pushing the latest skinny celeb!)

6. Refusing to incorporate exercise.

7. Too restrictive! Not eating enough and the lack of nutrients will cause hunger and inevitably, unhealthy food cravings & binges takes over.

8. Undesirable physical side-effects, e.g. G.I problems (constipation, diarrhoea, bad breath) or mental decline (fatigue, irritability, brain fog, headaches or mood swings) due to (see number 7!).

9. You make the age-old mistake…you view it as just another fad diet or crazy ‘detox’ and not a lifestyle change.

10. Cheating in the kitchen, e.g. relying on ready meals or convenience foods (even ‘weight watcher’ ones) and do not try to learn essential cooking skills to maintain a healthy lifestyle (beyond your initial weight loss) through the acquired knowledge of ‘healthy foods and portion sizes’.

 

Ways to stay motivated, kick-butt & keep living a healthier lifestyle!

 

Weight Loss & Healthy Living Tools

Photo by: Yacine Amirl Flickr

 

  • Embrace changes and the lows and highs of your journey.
  • Ultimately we are our own worse enemies when it comes to sticking to healthy lifestyles… so stop making excuses and standing in the way of your own success!
  • Keep a weight loss diary. Record your food intakes, moods, exercise and body measurements. This can allow you to reflect on changes, possible set-backs and what stimulates your food choices.
  • Exercise! Make a plan, whether it’s using your local leisure centre, walking to work, only using stairs and not the escalator or a running app on your mobile to help motivate you….
    • Eat a healthy breakfast: set your mind, body and metabolism up for the best day possible!

      Photo by: Brent Hofacker Flickr

 

  • Knowledge of healthy foods and where to source them in your local town. Try cooking in advance, prepare your own lunches and snacks to avoid temptations at work.
  • Kitchen essentials: to prepare and  store healthy foods, e.g. tupperware, a blender, slow cooker, food processor, low-fat cookbooks etc.
  • Do not use foods at ‘treats’. Save for a holiday, new clothes, a down payment on a house….create positive choices and reinforcements (that will not cause weight gain) and reduce negative temptations and old habits.
  • Keep temptations out of the house! Its simple and the so many of us can vow for this (myself included). Its all about portion control …and sometimes that means making something very scarce!
  • No restrictive ‘diets’! Eat an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and source: lean meats, fish, nuts, legumes, pulses and whole grains. Why not even try going vegetarian or vegan for a month? Veganuary anyone?! 

    Photo by: Helga Weber Flickr

 

  • Have a ‘Stress Outlet’, e.g. meditation, dance class, a spa day with your friends…something that will distress your mind and body…balancing hormones, mood, diet & a better quality of sleep= weight loss.
  • Create a support network! Have one in place consisting of friends, family, your GP, dietitian or recognised nutritionist or even weight loss club etc. It needs to consist of the people that are going to encourage, motivate and offer you support with your new journey!
  • Bedtime routines! Eat your main meal 2-3 hours before bed, wind down 1-2 hours before bed and create the perfect temperature, lighting etc. in your bedroom that will enable an ideal night’s rest (preferably for 7-8 hours!).
  • Read daily/weekly, do puzzles! Keep your mind active and prevent mental decline!
  • Photo by: Paul Bence Flickr

  • Being mindful of existing medical conditions, e.g. diabetes, PCOS, heart disease. Learn how to support and treat them through healthy lifestyle interventions.
  • Focus on body measurements rather than what your bathroom scale says.
  • Give your old, ’fat’ clothes to a charity shop because you won’t be needing them anymore!
  • Keep hydrated! Check out my other article for quick tips on hydration. 
  • Health ‘M.O.T’s’: Try and overcome any fear of needles and get your cholesterol, blood glucose and standard blood work checked… because ignorance isn’t bliss.

    Photo by: Gemanji Flickr

  • Don’t be afraid to say ‘NO’ to people! Whether it’s to their office baked goods or meeting them after work at a pub…especially if it interferes with your new lifestyle choices, e.g. tell them you’ll meet them for a quick bite after you go for your nightly jog! If they have a problem with this, then its something that they can reflect on….maybe they will realise they should be exercising more themselves!!

 

Major life changes…whether it’s weight loss, creating healthy living habits, planning for a family or saving for a house….these major milestones/events all require planning because they face potential hurdles, hardships and problem solving ahead!

If you stumble at the first hurdle, just pick yourself up from that moment and move ahead. Do not dwell on your failures; people are always too quick (by nature) to put themselves down. Praise yourself every step along the way and remember nothing is impossible if you really desire and work hard for it….especially now that you have the tools for success!

 

If you have any questions regarding the following information, please feel free to drop us a line.

 

Thank you for all of your kind thoughts and support this year. 

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby
Feature image by: Faycel fx_Flickr

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Obesity knocks 8 years off your life

Review Of News Articles

Many papers and news sites are running similar attention grabbing headlines to the one above as they run stories on the conclusions of a report published by the Lancet Journal offshoot Diabetes and endocrinology. 

The title is certainly headline grabbing and the report itself adds further damning evidence as to the dangers of being obese.

whilst many people may not be too concerned about loosing 8 years and will trot out the very tired line ” so what if I don’t live to be so old I cant do anything and enjoy life”. They are completely missing the point; the other conclusions of this report show that  not only do you lose years off your life you will spend more of your life in ill health.

What their driving at here is the fact that being obese increases your risks of a whole range of health problems including but not limited to Diabetes, strokes and heart disease. Most people are probably well aware of this on some level and tend to switch off at this point as what they don’t like considering are the serious complications that can arise including brain damage, inability to swallow, amputations of limbs, blindness, kidney failure….. the list goes on.

So what I say to the naysayers and blissful ignorance crowd is…. make a little effort; you don’t need to drastically alter an unhealthy diet to avoid most of the above, remember that 1st stroke may not kill you and diabetes doesn’t go away.

For those that are preparing to make changes or have tried and failed, remember the Guinness slogan “good things come to those that wait”. Weight loss should be a gradual process and the natural result of lifestyle changes, severely restrictive or ‘fad diets’  will never give you long term results.

Alexander Risby RDTrust a Dietitian

5 Steps To Cut Out Sugar And Why You’ll Be Happier for it!

Diet & Weight Loss

Following on from my previous article, I am now going to offer some advice on how to reduce your sugar intake…without being the bearer of bad news! You may be currently worried about your health, or have been influenced by the media or even your best friend, but there have been some logical points made as to why we should monitor and reduce our sugar intakes.

Here are simple and realistic ways to improve your diet and the quality of your life without relying on a ‘sugar crutch’.

 

5 Small Steps To Reduce Your Sugar Intake:

 

1. Analyse Your Cravings & Retrain Your Taste Buds
Photo By: Angela Jin Flickr

Photo By: Angela Jin Flickr

Analyse and reflect on your cravings before you reach for your next sugary fix.

As a previous ‘Condiment Queen’ myself, I had to reflect on my usage; I was quite a fussy eater as a child and they made foods more pleasant.

Adjust your sugar intake over time and your palate will adjust with you; as a child I loved triple chocolate everything, now I prefer savoury foods.

 

 

 

2. Find Fruit & Vegetable Substitutions
Photo By: Lucky Lebepe Flickr

Photo By: Lucky Lebepe Flickr

Eating fresh produce will help fight sugar cravings through its natural sweetness and high fibre contents.  High fibre= fuller for longer and no sugar crashes.

Try naturally sweet vegetables, e.g.  carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, squash and sugar peas. Instead of jam try whole or pureed berries on porridge or multi-seeded toast. Add whole fruit to plain yoghurt. Eat a multigrain wrap with grapes and peanut butter or sliced apple with almond butter. Be inventive and substitute sugar in baking with, e.g. pureed sweet potato, squash, carrot, apple or ripe bananas instead.

Take it easy on the dried or tinned fruit in syrups, as these have higher sugar contents; eat whole fruits instead of fruit smoothies/ juices as they offer more fibre and less sugar.

 

 

 

3. Don’t Use Sweeteners?
Photo by: Gianna Ferretti Flickr

Photo by: Gianna Ferretti Flickr

‘Natural sweeteners’ like honey and other unrefined sugars (i.e. coconut sugar) are slightly higher in nutrients but it is still sugar. Sweeteners, depending on the variety, can be hundreds or thousands’ of times sweeter than actual sugar; both sweeteners and natural sugars and can still enable your sweet tooth.

Information regarding artificial sweeteners is inconsistent. The EFSA has deemed them safe but studies still explore their possible side-effects.

Some studies suggest using artificial sweeteners could leave you craving more sugar, making it harder to cut it out, lose weight and fight chronic disease. While others suggest they might cause cancer or type 2 diabetes …but the jury is still out!

Don’t fall into media promotion, e.g. ‘Coca Cola Life’; there’s nothing natural about drinking chemicals sweetened by plants!

 

Photo by: FoodBev Photos Flickr

Photo by: FoodBev Photos Flickr

 

 

 

4. Read Food Labels
Photo By: Health Gauge Flickr

Photo By: Health Gauge Flickr

Refer to my previous sugar article for the ‘56 names of sugar’ when you go shopping; check for high and hidden sugar contents.

Check foods and beverages, e.g. some herbal teas have sugar.

Refer to the FSA guidance regarding healthy dietary sugar intakes.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Eat Balanced Meals & Exercise
Photo By: Steffen Egly Flickr

Photo By: Steffen Egly Flickr

Eat lean protein, complex carbohydrates and vegetables. Protein doesn’t have any effect on your blood sugar levels, therefore you will not get a ‘sugar rush and crash’, unlike refined carbohydrates and sugars.

Regular exercise will make you feel healthier and reduce sugary cravings. As mentioned in my previous article Diet and exercise, exercising is beneficial for both your physical and mental health.

 

 

 

Why You’ll Be Happier Weaning Yourself Off The ‘Sugar Train’!

 

Physical Motives

Having a high sugar intake can be a prerequisite for unpleasant health conditions. Check out some possible consequences.

 

 

Mental Motives
  • To control your moods and concentration levels

To operate at your best, your blood sugar levels should not be too low or too high. Consuming regular and ‘healthy sugar sources’ will enable sustained concentration and moods; mental focus and activity use a lot of energy.

  • To Increase your energy levels

A healthy diet will allow you to enjoy ‘active’ activities, as your waistlines decrease and mental and physical power increases.

  • To gain back control

Any sort of change requires motivation and willpower. Take pride in the fact you’re making healthier choices and reaping the benefits of a healthier lifestyle!

 

 

I know that people generally like to hear good news about their bad habits, but I’m afraid that’s not going to happen today.

Hopefully I have empowered you to try to cut down or even eliminate sugar from your diet over the next week or month, it can’t hurt?

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Libby Babet Yahoo!7 Flickr