Habit #1. Routine, routine, routine! This is the secret of healthy living, and it wouldn’t be different when it comes to eating.
Keep to a meal routine: eat at roughly the same times each day. People who succeed at long term weight loss tend to have a regular meal rhythm (avoidance of snacking and nibbling).
A consistent eating pattern over the week will help you lose weight (if that’s what you are in for) or just maintain a healthy weight.
Habit #2. Eat healthy fats: choose to eat healthy fats from nuts, avocado and oily fish instead of fast food.
Healthy fats help curb your appetite as they take longer to be digested. They also promote heart-health, have anti-inflammatory properties, and help strengthen hair skin and nails.
Habit #3. Keep moving so you get at least 10,000 steps a day. Take the stairs instead of the escalator, park further away from the supermarket entrance, skip, jump, walk up and down the stairs, go for a walk, run, move!
This is called NEAT – Non-exercise activity thermogenesis which is all movement that is not structure exercise. And guess what?! It helps increase the total amount of calories you burn per day, helping with fat loss, improving your health and also your mood!
And remember to keep distance from others when you are out and about walking and increasing your NEAT, always practice good hygiene!
Habit #4. Plan what you are going to eat when you go out! That means packing healthy snacks for when you are on the go!
Choose fresh fruit and nuts instead of chips and sugary muesli bars, another option is yogurt with berries and mixed seeds or even cherry tomato and cucumbers with hummus or cheese.
Planning ahead is key to ensure you eat healthy, to keep your energy levels high and prevent cravings and HANGRY eating.
Habit #5. When at the supermarket or corner shop always look at the labels: check the fat, sugar, fillers and additives on the packaging of what you are buying.
Make sure your food has no trans-fats, vegetable oils (canola, corn, soybean oil) and hydrogenated fats on the ingredients list. Also look out for hidden sugars on the label such as dextrose, maltodextrin, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, brown rice syrup, corn syrup.. and the list go on.
And last but not least, check for corn starch, cellulose, soy, carrageen, potassium bromate. And also artificial sweeteners and certain sugar substitutes (which have been linked to the development of various health problems including cancers) such as Splenda and Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, and Aspartame.
The easiest way to go about it is avoiding packaged foods and cooking from fresh ingredients as much as possible. That way you know you will be steering clear from unhealthy foods additives!
Habit #6. Slow down and focus on what is on your plate. This is called mindful eating! You pay attention to what you are eating, enjoy and savour it slowly, allowing your brain to recognise that food is coming in so it can finally send satiety signals out and you stop once you had enough.
Have you ever notice that when in front of the TV is really easy to eat an entire bar of chocolate or packet of crisps? Internal cues regulating food intake may not be as effective while distracted. Slow down, look at what is in front of you and eat with the aim to nourish your body and promote health J
You will feel amazing!
Habit #7. Know your portions. Using smaller plates is a good way to trick yourself into eating less as it makes it look like you are eating more.
A DEXA scan will tell you how many calories to consume per day for your body composition, but you can also use internet calculators to get an average total.
So we always recommend to our clients to use My Fitness Pal or any other calorie counting app/website to measure how many calories they are consuming on average. You don’t need to count it everyday, just once or twice so you get an idea and can make the right adjustments!
Now we are all staying home, perhaps moving less and doing less physical activity, so it is the time to cut back on portion sizes and eat less calories to stay health and in shape.
Habit #8. Move often and break up sitting time: the less sedentary time you have the more health benefits you get!
Pay even more attention to this now that you might be working from home, standing or sitting for long periods of time. Stretch more often, do a few squats and push-ups, or even take regular breaks for some yoga. This will be good for your body and also for your mind!
Habit #9. Drink wisely: choose water as your main drink, limit fruit juice as these are concentrated in sugar and calories and try to eliminate soft drinks from your pantry.
Research has shown that consuming 340ml of sugary drink a day (which equates to less than one can) increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 22% when compared to drinking one can a month or less.
Water is essential for hydration and brain function but also to aid digestion, transport nutrients within the body and for vital cell function!
Habit #10. Eat REAL food, aim for a colourful plate of fresh goodness! focus on your food: slow down and eat while sitting at the table, not on the go.
Eat a variety of vegetables daily, fresh whenever possible but frozen and canned will also be better than none.
Fruit and vegetables are dense in nutrients essential to our health, and they tend to be low in calories as well so you can eat plenty! nutritional quality and low energy density. The more colours on your plate the more nutrients you get!