Everyday Lifestyle Tips For Healthy Nutrition
Are you in need of some nutrition advice? Are you a ‘yo-yo’ dieter? You constantly diet and fall off the diet, then jump back on again and repeat this pattern regularly. Many of us do this. Did you know there is a physical reason that yo-yo dieting is so common. It is due to our body’s production of a hormone called leptin, which is responsible for measuring our fat levels in our body. It sends signals to the brain to tell it how much fat you have. The higher our fat levels, the more leptin we produce and the stronger the signal is to the brain that our fat stores are good. As fat is reduced in our body during a diet, our leptin levels go down and our brain tells us that our fat stores need to be replenished, which makes you feel hungry: you get hungrier and hungrier as you get thinner and thinner. It is a massive psychological battle to fight this, which is why so many people fail.
For many people ‘yo-yo’ dieting is just a way of life. But the difference between these people and people who lose weight and keep it off permanently, are that the latter group make permanent changes across their lives that enable them to stay slim and fight the leptin messages. Below are some ideas on ways to change your life and habits. Keep in mind it is nearly always easier to change your situation than to control your mind.
General Nutrition Tips
Nutrition – Buying Food
- Never shop when you are tired – you are much more likely to buy foods higher in fat and sugar than when you have not had enough sleep.
- Do you have a route that you walk/drive and you always stop off and pick up something to eat, a cake maybe or some other treat. Try changing your route so that you don’t go past that shop anymore and get tempted to stop off.
Nutrition – Exercise
- It has been proven that the day after exercising people tend to become more sedentary than if they had not exercised at all. So make sure you exercise 3 times a week, but on the in-between days, go for a long walk. Don’t think that just because you have worked hard the day before that you deserve to be resting the following day. You must be active EVERY DAY!
- Make a plan for keeping the weight off once you have lost it to prevent yo-yo dieting. This is where exercise comes in. It is one of the best ways to make sure it stays off. Have a regular exercise weekly routine that you stick to just like you go to work or brush your teeth, you do your exercise.
- If you are thinking of going for a workout in the morning, lay out your workout gear the night before so it is ready for you. If you are going later on in the day, get up and put it on. You are much more likely to go if you are ready and dressed the part.
- If you are planning on going out for the evening and drinking alcohol or having a highly calorific meal, try doing a 45 minute high intensity iterval workout before you go out. Work out at 70% of your VO2 max i.e. you must be out of breath, to maximise the amount of calories you will burn during and critically also after your workout.
- Our Bootcamps are a great way of injecting more exercise into your lifestyle.
Nutrition – Active living
- Take the stairs
- Walk/cycle instead of driving/bus
- Walk around while you are on the phone
- Use a basket when you are shopping for food rather than a trolley (it burns more calories)
- Park further away from wherever you are going
- Put things you need out of reach from you so that you have to get up to get them.
- Use a steps tracker and make sure you reach 10000 steps a day
Nutrition – Eating
- Try and eat slowly – put your knife and fork down in between mouthfuls, chop up food really small, take a sip of water in between in each mouthful. Eat with chopsticks. These things all allow your body more time to produce the hormone GLP-1 which tells your brain when you are full.
- To help reduce your portion sizes, try buying smaller plates. You are likely to automatically put less on your plate as a result.
- When eating snacks, eat with your non-dominant hand. This encourages people to eat less.
- Eat protein with every meal. This helps keeps your blood sugars more constant and keeps you fuller for longer. Protein also provides the building blocks for muscle growth and strength if you are exercising.
- If you are prone to picking at food or eating sweets try these suggestions: 1) Make sure the food it out of sight. If you can see it you are more likely to eat it. 2) Then make sure your food/sweets are several steps away, preferably in another room. This extra time it takes to go and get it will allow you time to think about whether you are actually hungry and really need it.
- Make sure you have breakfast every day (3/4 of successful dieters have breakfast) as this has the effect of reducing your cravings for sweeter treats at lunchtime.
- Always make sure you have protein with every meal. Protein fills you up more than carbohydrates when given the same quantity in calories.
- If you are planning on eating refined carbohydrates, make sure you chose the brown/wholegrain version. These are typically half the calories of the white refined versions, because the fibre portion of it goes straight through your body without being absorbed.
- Is there a regular time when you always reach for something sweet? Make sure you fill yourself up just before this time on something nutritious, so that when the time comes you are not craving food. And if you still need a sweet treat, have a piece of fruit to satisfy that sweet craving (berries are best).
- Always keep healthy snacks around in your fridge/cupboards, so when you are hungry, you have a healthy option available to you. Likewise do not keep unhealthy snacks in the cupboard so that they are not an option for you.
- Eat more vegetables! On virtually every diet going, vegetables are allowed, and a lot of them too. You can eat as many as you want and they will fill you up and provide you with loads of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Nutrition – Drink
- Drinking water that is either hotter or colder than body temperature increases metabolism straight after drinking it until the water reaches body temperature. The more you drink the more your metabolism will increase for a while after consumption. (Boschmann, 2003)
- Drinking 500ml of water just before each meal has been shown to improve weight loss by 44% compared to those who were not. (Dennis, 2010)
- Don’t waste calories on drinks. Water is the best drink out there for you, so drink it in abundance. Definitely avoid fizzy drinks which are full of sugar and chemicals and have no nutritional value at all. Fruit juices and smoothies are also high in sugar and should be avoided or drunk in small quantities. If you are going to consume additional calories, it might as well be food that fills you up!
- If you can’t give up alcohol all together, try giving it up just on week nights and try and chose the lower calorie options when you do drink. A spirit with a low calorie mixer is a good place to start.
Nutrition – Psychology
- There is a behaviour named ‘catastrophic thinking’ that is common for people on diets. Someone lapses on their diet which triggers the thought ‘I just can’t stick to this diet’ so they give up all together. So even if you do have a really bad day, just get back on track as soon as possible. Don’t just give up. One bad meal doesn’t mean you will suddenly put on weight. Most diets will still work if you do it for 80% of the time.
- Try to always eat in one place, preferably the kitchen. If you associate eating with one place, you can try to only go to that place when it is time to eat and not think about eating when you are elsewhere.
- Always read the label before you eat something. If you know it contains 4 teaspoons of sugar (=16g) for example or it’s really high in calories, you’ll hopefully be put off having it or will take a smaller amount.
- Try and get a good nights sleep. There is a proven link between obesity and lack of sleep, although it is not possible to say which one causes the other. However, a good nights sleep will help you make good decisions and be less impulsive. If you have trouble falling asleep, try and ensure a good bedtime routine that allows you to switch off before bed and go to bed half an hour earlier. Give yourself the downtime you need to switch off before it is time to go to sleep by reading. If you have a lot on your mind, try writing a ‘To Do’ list for the next day before bedtime so you have got things off your mind.
- Look at what triggers your eating. When are you most likely to reach out and eat something that you shouldn’t? Try to identify what causes this and then try to change it/stop it from happening. Stop the trigger and you stop the behaviour, without having to use will power.
- Set your screen saver to be a something to remind you to be healthy – maybe a picture of you or a list of calories in something you eat regularly.
Those who permanently keep their weight down do not permanently diet, they change what and how they eat, shop and live everyday, so that they don’t need to become a yoyo dieter.