Rates of obesity and ill-health due to poor diets are rising, both in the UK and in the US. I don't agree with diets. After all, now many of them really work? No, I mean really work. Diets are a restricted eating regime that is not about real life.
The only way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. If you want a diet for life then you need to adjust your eating habits.
Water. If you're thirsty you're already dehydrated. If you feel hungry, you may actually be thirsty. The majority of us don't drink as much as we should during the day. If you drink tea and coffee to keep you going these have a diuretic effect, so you should be drinking water to compensate.
Have a glass of water first thing in the morning and last thing at night - your body loses a lot of water while you're asleep - not only if it's warm and you sweat a lot but just sleeping for 8 hours (if you're lucky) you're going to wake up dehydrated.
Fruit & Veg. Fruit and vegetables provide you with vitamins, minerals and fibre to help keep your body healthy. They're high in anti-oxidants and good for keeping your insides healthy.
Do you manage five a day? Eat a piece of fruit or drink fresh juice for breakfast. Better still take up juicing (see below). Fresh berries on muesli or porridge or cereal. Have fruit as a snack during the day and salad and vegetables with your main meals.
Avoid processed food. With the increased reliance on ready-prepared meals, take-aways and convenience food to save time, there is an increase in the amount of processed food that people eat.
Before you buy that convenience meal - check the label. How much sugar, salt, hydrogenated fat, E preservatives, colouring does it contain? Because it's processed - a lot of the flavour and goodness is lost and has to be added in the form of colourings, flavours and bulking agents. Because it needs to survive transport with a long shelf-life and cooking fats and preservatives are added.
And how much does it really cost? Cooking simple meals such as stir-fries and casseroles are just as convenient and so much better for you.
Juice. One great way to kick-start your day and gently wake up your digestive system, is to have a fresh juice every morning. I don't mean the orange juice with your breakfast but fresh vegetable juices. Invest in a good juicer, buy local organic produce and find out how good fresh juice is. A simple daily mixture is apple, carrot, celery, ginger and lemon.
Fish. Eat fish at least once a week. It contains healthy Omega 3 oils which are good for your joints, and nerves. Flax and hemp oils offer an alternative for non-fish eaters.
Eat regularly. Get into the habit of eating breakfast. Your body has been without food over night - break the fast with a glass of warm water, then have a fresh juice (see above). Eat a breakfast of cereal, muesli or porridge (avoid those loaded with salt and sugar).
Try to eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day - little and often - to avoid your blood sugar fluctuating too much. Don't eat a heavy meal late in the evening. Your body will naturally be slowing down and it will be harder to digest.
Alcohol. There's nothing wrong with the odd glass of wine, in fact these days it's seen to be healthy for the anti-oxidants. Alcohol causes your kidney's and liver to work overtime to rid the body of the toxins.
Know what you're eating. Be aware of what food you're putting in your body. Read the food labels if you buy tinned, processed food to be aware of how much salt, sugar and fat is in the food you buy. Buy organic meat whenever possible to avoid the steroids, hormones and anti-biotics that are in factory farmed meat.
Balanced diet. One of the most important ways to improve your eating habits is to have a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole food, fish and meat, nuts and seeds. Everything in moderation. Keep fatty and sugary foods low but if you enjoy chocolate, cakes and curries there's nothing wrong with having one once in a while.
Think about 80/20. Eat healthily 80% of the time and enjoy yourself the other 20%!
If you'd like help in putting some structure in place to create a healthier lifestyle then contact me for a consultation.
Copyright 2005: Clare Evans
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Clare Evans works with busy, stressed individuals and small business owners to help them plan and organise their time more effectively. Contact her now for more details and a free consultation. www.clareevans.co.uk
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