Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, a time of letting yourself go in more ways than one, but come January you are bombarded with images of hot young things in lycra contorting into positions that at present you can only dream about. The inevitable diet conversation looms with everyone and anyone, and if not armed with a plan that works for you then January can feel a dark and lonely place.
As we age, faddy diets in January may do more harm than good. It’s important to realise that a nutrient dense diet high in healthy protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids is important for longevity and to help stave off chronic conditions. Low calorific diets have been associated with a reduction in muscle mass which in turn may lead to a lower metabolism , resulting in weight gain. In essence, the more muscle we have, the faster our metabolism will be. After the age of 35 we naturally lose muscle, so weight bearing exercise and ensuring eating a diet rich in fish, game, organic meat, beans and pulses (healthy proteins) will help retain muscle and the building blocks for hormones and neurotransmitters.
Here’s a few hints and tips to get you started.
- Start the day with a hot water and lemon. Helps to hydrate and alkalise the body.
- Eat three times a day and leave at least 4 hours between meals unless you have a diabetic condition.
- Portion Control – eat from a side plate or the size of a plate similar to the size of your upturned palms placed together.
- Breakfast should be hearty and must include protein e.g. – eggs, yoghurt, protein shake, nuts, nut butters, quinoa porridge.
- Lunch and dinner – whatever you eat, always place a green salad dressed with Flax oil and a squeeze of lemon as a sharing plate in the centre of the table . This increases satiety and is psychologically pleasing.If working, buy a kilner jar and stuff it full of greens with the dressing suggested above (flax oil and lemon) eat this alongside your regular lunch.
- Drink no more than one or two units of alcohol a day and have at least three alcohol free days a week.
- Drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day. This helps with detoxification processes in addition to acting as an appetite suppressant.
The above is a pragmatic easy to apply change that does not compromise health over aesthetic. It will get you back on track after the festive season without punishing your body at a time of year when it needs nourishing.
See below for an easy to follow guide of two weekdays and one weekend. Download and stick it on your fridge as an Aide Memoire. Something to get you going…..
PROTEIN + VEG = NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS
If you’re struggling remember Rome wasn’t built in a day! Research has shown that to establish any change whether it be dietary or not can take up to three months before it is ingrained into habit. That gives you January through to March. By Spring you will have survived the winter and be ready to embrace the lighter months.
Jayne Wilson is a Nutrition Consultant specialising in coaching individuals and businesses on improved health and performance.