New Year, New Start

Overindulged during the festive holidays? Forget extreme diets or a complete health makeover – the chances are you’ll abandon it within a couple of weeks. This year make real, healthy changes that have a lasting effect on your health. Leading Nutritionist Christine Bailey and Founder of the Lean & Nourish Club suggests making small sustainable changes that fit into your lifestyle and schedule. 

The truth is, there is no one diet that is right for everyone. It’s about finding what works best for you and then focusing on that rather than jumping from one fad diet to another.  Through years of working with people on their nutrition, I have found that there are several factors to consider when it comes to finding the right diet that is sustainable for you in the long-term. Whatever diet you choose, it has to fit in with your goals – for example, are you looking to lose weight, gain muscle, boost energy levels or tackle an ongoing health concern? Does it include foods you actually like to eat? Does it work in synergy with your lifestyle and schedule? 

Here are some tips to help you make lasting changes:

1- Small, Consistent Changes 

Don’t attempt to change everything in one go, whether it’s a new fitness program or a completely new eating plan. Scale back and make small specific changes. For example, try changing your breakfast initially – maybe swap sugary cereal for a protein smoothie.  Batch cook a few recipes so that you have options for when you are tired or busy. Use your lunchtime break for a walk or to plan your evening meal.  When you focus on just a couple of small changes at a time – whether that’s ditching the takeaways or swapping your chocolate bar for a piece of fruit, you begin to ingrain healthy habits that are more sustainable.

2- Low-Carb, Higher Protein 

One of the easiest ways to shift a few pounds is to reduce your carbohydrates and increase your protein. Studies1,2 consistently show that low carb eating combined with higher protein intake is an effective strategy for getting results. Studies3 have shown they make people feel less hungry and boost metabolism making it easier to lose weight.

3- Reduce Portions

The Japanese are well known4   for keeping lean and one of the reasons appears to be their tradition to eat only until they’re 80% full.  The Japanese tend to eat less, exercise more and have smaller portion sizes. They don’t snack or eat late at night either.  Most people don’t gain weight overnight, it happens slowly, over years linked to consistently eating more than their bodies need. Reducing your portions at every meal is an easy strategy to make a real impact long-term.

Swap your dinner plate to a side plate or a bowl. Plate up your food before sitting down to eat and resist the temptation to go back for seconds.  Avoid snacking. Have a glass of water or make a hot drink instead.

4- Include more soups and smoothies 

This time of the year there is nothing better than a warming soup and some research5,6 suggests that more liquid-based meals like soups and smoothies may help people feel more satiated and as a result, eat significantly fewer calories.

Soups and smoothies are also an ideal way to cram in more vegetables and nutrients too6. Don’t like greens?  Try adding a spoonful of green superfood powder like Sunchlorella, spinach, or kale into your smoothies, or at the end of cooking a soup. These foods provide fiber and plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

A green protein smoothie is also a simple healthy breakfast option – starting the day with a nourishing breakfast is more likely to encourage you to stick to a healthier eating pattern through the rest of the day too.

If you’re tempted to order a takeaway at the weekend, why not make your own healthier version instead. Not only are you saving money, but you will slash the calories without sacrificing on your favorite meals. A single portion of takeaway curry can contain over 1,000 calories and a huge amount of saturated fat, salt and sugar. You’d need to cycle for about three hours to burn that off. You can reduce the calories by replacing some of the meat for tofu, or beans and pulses. Bulk up a curry with vegetables and opt for low-fat coconut milk or yogurt instead of cream.

Start 2022 off right with these genius NEW YEAR’S GOAL SETTING TIPS

  1. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  2. JAMA
  3. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 
  4. Am J Clin Nutr
  5. Am J Clin Nutr
  6. Obes Res
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