It’s that time of the year again. You feel like you’ve drunk your body weight in alcohol, ate your fair share of that Mersey Valley Vintage cheddar cheese & the Christmas chocolates are still haunting you. That word detox is being thrown around more than party poppers on new years eve, gym memberships are at their peak and you’re cursing your parents for making you live in a part of the world where we celebrate christmas in our bikinis. Or is that last bit just me?
But before we go detoxing our bodies, looking for the quick fix and filling our trolleys with superfoods, I want to get some things straight.
Although the ‘eat less, move more’ notion is not sexy. Counting calories, detoxing, juice cleanses, shake diets and gulping down green gunk (as Felicity put it) is not sustainable. Nor fun. And that kale smoothie sounds about as delicious as a bulletproof coffee. (Butter blended with coffee, yeah)
Life is just too damn short for that.
We have things to do, places to see and delicious food to eat.
So then, how can we enjoy life and lose weight at the same time?
How do we become healthier?
Small steps. It doesn’t happen over night. There is no silver bullet, regardless of what the excellent marketing & mind blowing before and after photos say. We need to learn to build new habits, and not all at once. Think about the last time you decided to ‘diet’. Did you decide you were going to go to the gym for an hour each day, eat tuna salads for lunch, chicken & broccoli for dinner, and never eat out again? How long did that last?
So, my wish for you this year is that you start with something small & sustainable. Because if you can sustain that, I’m sure your confidence will sky rocket and you’ll be able to do another lifestyle change.
I’ve put together six points that you can focus your 2015 health goals around, so please have a read.
Eat more vegetables
Before you go filling your trolley’s with chia seeds, quinoa and putting a tablespoon of coconut oil in your smoothie, ask yourself this.
How many serves of vegetables do you have each day?
I think this one is incredibly important. Because if the only thing you do change this year is bumping up your serves of vegies to FIVE per day, you’ll be doing fabulous. There is solid evidence to support the myriad of health benefits of eating your greens, and yet only 7% of Australian adults are consuming enough.
So, 1 serve = ½ cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup salad.
Fresh, frozen or canned. Whatever works for you. Fill your half your plate with vegies, add an extra vegetable to your stir fry, snack on vegetable sticks. Even put carrot in your porridge. Or just try one new vegetable per week. It’s a good start.
Eat your fruit, don’t drink it.
I often say this to people. You order a juice. It contains an apple, a carrot, a handful of spinach, some celery, and maybe a slice of pineapple. How long does it take you to drink it?
Now tell me, how long would it take you to eat an apple, one carrot, a handful of spinach, a stick of celery and a slice of pineapple. I don’t need a dietetic degree to know that you’ll be sitting there for quite a while.
Eating your fruit (and all food) means you chew it. Slows down your eating, forces you to be more mindful and generally means you eat less.
By no means am I saying there is no place for juices in your diet, but don’t make it a regular thing. But if it helps you meet your 2 & 5, then great!
Eat minimally processed foods
In the words of Michael pollen, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” and “Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting.”
Processed foods are generally higher in salt, fat, sugar and additives, and low in the good nutrition that makes your body sing. These are those discretionary choices. Those sometimes foods. Not the every day foods.
Save the cake, the chocolate and the double scoop of Messina for a special occasion.
Food planning & preparation
I’m not talking a weeks worth of chicken, broccoli and sweet potato in Chinese take away containers. There’s food prep, and then there is food prep.
Spend your Sunday afternoon (or whatever day suits you) making a food plan for the week. What you are going to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks. Make a shopping list & buy what you can. Roast up a heap of vegetables that you can easily chuck through a salad. Chop up some vegetable sticks for an easy, accessible snack at hand. Boil some eggs.
This will stop the multiple mid week trips to the supermarket, where we spend and buy more than we need. It will also stop the ‘there’s nothing in the fridge, let’s order Thai’ situation. Taking your lunch to work or uni will stop you buying those nutritionally poor choices, and save you money for those important things in life. Like shoes, or that KitchenAid Stand mixer you didn’t get for Christmas.
I’m a huge fan of stationary & Kikki K has some gorgeous meal planners, recipe folders & shopping lists that can help you with this one.
Be mindful & listen to your appetite.
I think we are all guilty of mindless eating at some point. It’s not because we are hungry, but we are bored, tired, or sad. We’re celebrating a birthday, we’re having nibbles & drinks with friends or the after dinner scoop of ice cream because it’s a habit.
Take the time to be more aware of what you are eating – the aroma, flavour and textures, and why you are eating. Liz from Simple. Real. Nutrition wrote a great article on this – 3 little words that could change your life.
Am I Hungry?
Expand your palate & learn new cooking techniques.
Humans are creatures of habit. We often eat the same foods, and cook the same foods. The variety in the supermarket these days is outstanding and we’re really lucky that we have access to so many different foods. So let’s take advantage of it.
And lastly, if you do feel like you need more support. Please make sure you seek help from a qualified dietitian or health professional.
So use these six points and set your goals for 2015. Make them SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Make them work for you and your life.
Whether you need to start getting in an extra serve of vegies per day, swapping white cereal varieties for wholegrain, or preparing your lunch every day, it’s a good start to leading a healthier lifestyle.
So for me, I’m aim to be more mindful this year, and really try and listen to my appetite and satiety cues.
What are your goals for 2015?
Here’s to a healthy, happy and fad diet free 2015.