The start of a new year is a time when many of us resolve to change old habits, and adopt new healthy ones. You may have joined a gym in order to fulfil one of your resolutions, and many of you may be embarking on a new strict diet, depriving yourself of calories in an attempt to lose weight.
Those of you who have tried strict calorie restricting diets in the past may well have experienced the frustrating reality of the weight creeping back on, once you stop dieting. The reason for this is that our bodies cannot cope with a cycle of bingeing (over Christmas for example) followed by starvation. If we suddenly and dramatically reduce our calorie intake, the body responds to this by slowing down our metabolism, in order to conserve energy. We burn less calories than we would and as soon as we start to eat normally again the body stores these extra calories, just in case another famine is around the corner.
It’s far better to see the New Year as a time to resolve to eat more healthily, filling up on nutritious foods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, instead of refined carbohydrates such as cakes, biscuits and white bread. Eating foods which take your body longer to break down (protein and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and pasta) will keep you feeling fuller for longer; maintain your blood sugar levels; and reduce the likelihood of you having cravings for quick fixes like biscuits, chocolates, sweets, coffee and fizzy drinks.
Giving your body a break from alcohol for a month is a great way to be kind to yourself. When the liver isn’t burdened by detoxifying alcohol it can focus on its many other functions such as detoxifying old circulating hormones and other toxins which have built up in your system, and as a result you may see an improvement in PMS or clearer skin and less headaches.
Why not build a couple of the following healthy habits into your New Year’s resolutions and you’ll soon be experiencing the benefits of improved health & wellbeing:
- Aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Go for anything brightly coloured (peppers, berries, broccoli, sweet potato) to boost your intake of antioxidants
- Eat a combination of complex carbohydrates (wholemeal bread and pasta, brown rice, oats) and good quality protein (eggs, meat, fish, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, soya) at every meal and snack. This combination enables you to better balance your blood sugar levels leading to better, more even energy levels and less cravings
- Try to drink 6 -8 glasses of water a day. Water helps the body excrete toxins, supports digestion and is vital for good energy levels. Always have a one litre bottle on your person, so you don’t go for hours without a drink
- Try to minimise your intake of stimulants (coffee, tea, cola, diet drinks, chocolate) as these disrupt your blood sugar levels and consequently your energy levels. They also place a burden on your liver.
So ditch the strict diet and start eating healthily!
If you are interested in joining a weightloss programme, Emily is a zest4life weightloss coach and will be starting new programmes in West London in January 2014. On 14th January Emily will organise two free Zest4Life seminars in Ealing. These free seminars will give you all the information you need to know about this life changing nutrition and weight loss programme. For more information or to book your ticket, call 07967 639347 or email Emily@4wellpeople.co.uk.