New Year, New You

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Image: Vogue Italy www.vogue.it

It’s easy to give up on drastic New Year’s resolutions, but it’s the little lifestyle changes over the course of the year that make the biggest impact on your health.  Luckily for you, however, changing your diet for the better has never been easier – thanks to The Food Effect approach to weight loss and healthy eating.

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Image: Vogue Italy www.vogue.it

Don’t make your list of things to tackle too long – all that does is set yourself up for failure.  Instead, aim to do these five simple things so that in just a few weeks’ time you will be feeling healthier and happier – so much so that you won’t want to give them up!  It really can be that quick and easy – our bodies are amazing and you can turn a jaded wintery self around in just a few days!

1) Think before you eat

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Asking yourself why you’re eating or drinking something can not only stop you nibbling at something when you actually don’t really want it, but can also benefit you by making you feel good about eating more nourishing foods.  The aim is to cut out unnecessary snacking and eating food you’re either not going to enjoy or that you know is just not good for you and will make you feel “gross” after.  Instead, incorporate foods into mealtimes that you might have been avoiding because you thought they were “fattening” but are actually super good for you, such as avocados, nut butter and hummus.

2) Drink, drink drink!

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And by this, I mean water!  Whilst you may not feel like drinking as much as you do in the summer, it’s just as important to stay well hydrated.  Often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as well as 1-2 glasses BEFORE every meal or snack you have.  Did you know that water aids weight loss by helping your kidneys flush out excess toxins and chemicals, which may be slowing down your metabolism?  If you have difficulty drinking enough plain water – which should be around two litres a day – herbal teas, green tea and lemon in hot water are all just as good!  Start your day with a mug of warm water and lemon juice to improve liver function and cleanse and kick-start your digestive system for the day ahead.  Drinking more may be a struggle at first, but do it for a while and you’ll feel fantastic!

3) Choose the right carbs

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Most people do increase their carbohydrate intake in the winter – and that’s perfectly reasonable and natural. But make sure you choose the RIGHT carbs.  Avoid refined “fast-release” carbs, such as white bread and sugary cereals, because these cause a spike, then a sharp fall, in blood glucose levels – creating cravings for sugary foods that make it even more difficult to choose healthy meals and snacks!  Instead, go for slow-release carbs with a low glycaemic-index, such as whole-grains, sweet potatoes, beans, pulses and brown rice.  Whole-grain rolled oats are also a great choice, and a hearty bowl of porridge, topped with some fresh berries for your dose of Vitamin C and anti-oxidants, is the perfect healthy start to the day in the winter months.  And rather than counting calories and feeling restricted, aim to fill up on nutritious yet satisfying meals to stop you reaching for junk food and helping ensure you stay on track with your health goals during winter.  Try things like chunky homemade vegetable soups and stews made with beans and lentils, or a baked sweet potato with a delicious healthy filling.

4) Eat a rainbow

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Let 2017 be the year when you see that you can eat healthily and feel great, without spending a fortune on obscure faddish “health foods” and ingredients.  Whether it’s fresh, frozen or canned, try to increase and vary your intake of fruit and vegetables.  You’ll feel so much better and your body will benefit from all the added vitamins, nutrients, anti-oxidants and fibre.  Diets rich in fruit and vegetables have been proven to decrease the risk of heart attacks, stroke and a variety of cancers.  Healthy glowing skin is also achieved by eating a colourful, varied diet.

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5) Don’t be D-ficient.

Low levels of the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D have been associated with increased fat storage, amongst many other health problems, and the sad reality for us, living in England, is that we are all definitely lacking in some good old sunshine!  Firstly, vitamin D deficiency causes the brain to issue hunger-signalling hormones, tempting you to reach for the Digestives and Dairy Milk.  And who ever feels good immediately after indulging in that?  Secondly, calcium-rich diets may have been found to aid weight loss, but Vitamin D is required to regulate calcium absorption.  Therefore, you should definitely take a Vitamin D supplement from October to March, if not all year round.  Most of us have a deficiency of Vitamin D in the summer, so loading up on it in the winter is crucial.

I hope these simple steps will help lead to a healthier, happier, more energetic you in 2017.

Happy New Year!! 🙂 xoxo

 

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