So it’s Bank Holiday Monday, Easter has happened, we have all probably eaten too much chocolate, and scoffed far too many cakes… but there’s no need to panic. And also there is no need to ‘start the diet’ once all the Easter chocolate has gone.
What you put on your plate is up to you. It’s your choice and your responsibility. If you’re going to carry on eating the Easter chocolate until it’s gone (it would be a crime not to!), surely it’s better to make sure that you’re making healthy food choices for the rest of food that you eat in a day? Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
PLAN: Plan what you’re going to eat and stick to it. It needn’t be a complicated spreadsheet of food, ingredients, calories etc, it could just be a quick note on a bit of paper in your kitchen, or even just a mental note of what you’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And some ideas for what you can eat in-between meals if you’re really hungry.
MAKE HEALTHY CHOICES: Wherever you can, try to make healthy food choices. So if you’re out, go for meat and veg, try to stay away from sauces as they often contain lots of sugar and fat, have cheese and biscuits instead of pudding. If you’re at home, simple things like halving the amount of butter you use, having less carbs on days you’re not exercising, having half the amount of meat and twice the amount of veg… will all help to make you healthier.
DRINK WATER: Make a pledge to yourself to drink lots of water. Work out how many of your favourite glasses/mugs/water bottles you need to get through to drink about two litres per day, and just get on with it. It’s not really that much, and you can do it. It will make you feel so much better, it will help to improve your skin, and it will also help you to lose weight, think clearly and gives you more energy.
GET MOVING: Try to move as much as you can each day. Even if you don’t exercise, you can still move your body and cover quite a distance. 10,000 steps per day is a good goal, which you can measure by a simple pedometer clipped to your belt, a Fitbit watch (or similar), or the Health app on your iPhone (or similar on other phones). If you know you’re not going to be walking much on one particular day, have a walk around the block for ten minutes, take the dog for a walk, take the children to the park, walk to the shop for some milk, anything just to get moving. When you go upstairs, try to bounce up them as quickly as you can. Do squats while you’re brushing your teeth or waiting for the kettle to boil. Do ten press-ups every time you go to the loo. Whatever and whenever, it all helps to make you fitter and stronger.
FRESH AIR: Half an hour of fresh air can do you the world of good. Go for a walk in the woods, stand in the garden with a cup of tea, drive to your favourite viewpoint and just stand in silence looking at the view. Or just open the windows in your house if you can’t go out.
FRUIT & VEG: Bulk out your meals with as much fresh veg as you can, you will really benefit from the nutrients that you’re getting and also it will help to fill you up. Limit your fruit due to the sugar content, just three small pieces per day is sufficient.
DO HAVE TREATS: Ration your Easter treats. It’s going to be sitting there waiting to be eaten, and it may even feel like it’s calling ‘eat me’ to you at times! So don’t deny yourself, try to ration it and decide when you’re going to eat some each day. So after dinner, when the children are in bed, or first thing in the morning if you like! And try to put it away in a cupboard so that you’re not tempted to keep breaking off little bits every time you walk past it! The 80:20 rule is a good goal to aim for. Eating healthy food 80% of the time, and a little bit of what you fancy 20% of the time. This could be each day or saving treats for the weekend. Whatever works for you.
NO FADDY DIETS: Anything that sounds too good to be true, most probably is. Anything that promises massive weight loss in a short amount of time, with strange combinations of food, is not going to be good for you in the long term. Yes you might initially lose weight, but a lot of that will be through dehydration, and once you stop the diet and start eating normally again, the weight will go back on. Sensible and consistent eating is what it’s all about.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF: Don’t beat yourself up for eating cake or chocolate, or having a glass of wine. Life is to be enjoyed, so we shouldn’t deny ourselves the things that we love. We have just got so used to processed and packaged food, the food and sugar industries have got us addicted. We need to break habits and form new ones, and go back to simpler times of eating basic good food, not regularly overindulging, and start listening to our bodies.
I hope that helps you to find a way to move forward, if you’re panicking about what you’ve eaten this weekend, and if you’re generally wanting to be healthier but don’t know where to start. Just take things slowly, and by consistently making healthier food choices, you should soon notice a difference. And let me know how you get on!