Top 10 tips for a healthier January dietWe all know that January is a time for fresh starts and new resolutions; the month where we begrudgingly force ourselves to put down the beer, step away from the biscuit tin and turn down the turkey sandwiches in favour of a healthier, more wholesome lifestyle. But restraint and self discipline don’t always come by the bucket load and embarking upon a New Year health and fitness regime can be an uphill struggle to say the very least. So with that in mind, Gerry Copley-Smith, founder of REVIVAL boot camp – a health and fitness retreat which arrived in the UK in August of last year - talks us through her top ten tips for keeping on the straight and narrow this January.
Plan aheadPlan your meals in advance and make lists before you go shopping. Not only will this cut wastage and reduce food bills but it will also help you to avoid temptation, which might leap from the chocolate aisle into your kitchen cupboard!
Enjoy the perfect portionsUsing a portion calculator can also help to ensure that you don’t fall into the trap of eating more than you need to, simply because it is sitting on your plate. There are a whole host of good online outlets which will help you to calculate the size and content of your meal portions.
Take a breakLeaving a gap of 3-5 hours between eating can help to control your appetite and maintain vital energy levels. Don’t assume that starving yourself all day will help you to lose weight; it will actually make you more likely the gorge in the evening!
Savour every mouthfulChewing your food properly can have a big impact on digestion and appetite. If you eat your food too quickly or forget to chew properly, you are more likely to overindulge and experience digestive discomfort. Chewing each mouthful properly will also make mealtimes last longer (and you might be surprised at just how many flavours you were missing out on in the past because you weren’t taking the time to enjoy your home cooking properly!)
Make the most of Christmas leftoversWe all know that losing weight in January can seem like an impossible challenge when the remnants of the festive period are still loitering in the kitchen. But some of our favourite Christmas foods can actually be great for the body. Lean, white meat like turkey, as well as nuts and dark chocolate, are all acceptable to include in your diet. Foods such as these are good sources of antioxidants and protein, and will help to maintain energy levels in preparation for all that New Year exercise you’ll be taking part in!
Water is the way forwardStaying well hydrated will keep you thinking clearly, excreting efficiently and feeling energised. When you are dehydrated you are more likely to become tired and irritated, which could make keeping to a strict diet plan even harder. Take a glass of water to bed with you and drink a few sips before you go to sleep. Remember, as well, that feeling thirsty is actually a very late sign of dehydration so don’t wait until you’re craving a glass of something cold to decide to drink water.
‘It’s ok to say no’Try not to let your eyes be bigger than your belly. Stay in control and learn to say ‘no’ to certain things. Choose a suitable plate size and don’t overfill your crockery with giant portions. Saying ‘no’ once in a while does not mean depriving yourself of anything that you enjoy; it just means enjoying treats more sensibly.
Sleep your troubles awayMake sure you leave enough time in your busy schedule to get an adequate amount of sleep. If you’re tired, it becomes all too easy to reach for the bacon sandwich and giant cup of coffee in the morning, to give you that quick boost of energy. Avoid late nights and excessive amounts of caffeine in the evenings and this could make your mornings all the more healthy. There are a number of foods that can help to ensure you get a better night’s sleep. Combine foods that are high in calcium, as this plays a role in the activation of the production of melatonin – the hormone responsible for regulating the body’s sleep/wake cycle. Calcium also works with magnesium to calm the body and help relax the nerves and muscles, so combining yoghurt with nut and seed granola, or bananas with oatcakes is a good option.
Manage your stress levelsStress management plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body composition. Stress can have a big influence on food choices so make sure you get enough sleep and include some form of relaxation in your life. Avoid low calorie or obsessive diet plans, which will also promote stress.
Feed your brainInclude oily fish, nuts and green leady vegetables in your diet. This will provide you with a good source of iron, protein and omega 3 which will keep you calm, energised and ready to face another day in the office.