Do you find you do quite well with what you’re eating in the day and then your good intentions go by the wayside come evening, when you know you’re not really hungry? When many of my clients first come to me, they tell me that after dinner and watching TV is the time they struggle and end up reaching for the snacks
Do you struggle with comfort eating while you’re at work? It’s something I know I used to do – a lot! I used to see a lot of my colleagues constantly raiding their sweet drawer or heading off to the vending machine or tuck shop too (yes, one place I worked had a tuck shop – less shop, more a large plastic container filled with sugary, fatty and salty snacks)!
What you eat can affect many areas of your health from your mood to how well you sleep. As you’ll see in this blog, your body needs a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to keep you in great physical and mental condition so it’s important to nourish it with the right plant foods and drinks. Here’s how your food can affect your mood, sleep and your chances of developing depression and how this can affect your ability to lose weight.
Have you noticed how you can’t ‘get away’ with eating (and drinking!) like you did, maybe in your 20’s and 30’s?
Has your weight has crept up as you have got older? Your lifestyle could be having more of an effect than you think. We all know the obvious triggers such as eating too much and not doing much exercise but there are some sneakier factors that can play a big part in weight gain. Here are some of the most common ones to avoid so that you can keep your tummy trim and within a healthy weight range.
Whether it’s to eat more healthily, give up chocolate, start exercising or lose weight, many people believe they don’t have the motivation to do these things, or they have the motivation, but it soon starts to wane. I know, I’ve been there! Going to the gym then stopping, eating a whole packet of biscuits and then regretting it, eating in secret because you don’t want to admit your crisp habit… that was me.
‘Baby steps’ If you have a lot of weight to lose and it can be overwhelming to think about how much you ant to lose in total. Break it down and think about what you want to achieve in a smaller time frame. It can also be useful to not focus on weight so much, but just eating more healthily and getting some exercise. Start with increasing the amount of plant-based foods you eat. Increase your intake of fruits, veggies, pulses and whole grains, nuts and seeds and cut back on the processed foods and animal foods.
Break the cycle of emotional eating. Many people crave food when they’re not hungry. Take a moment to recognise this and to ask yourself what you’re feeling. I encourage everyone to find a distraction that works for them. This could be anything from doing some exercises to having a chat with a friend. You can retrain yourself to break the habit of eating when you’re not hungry. It’s a habit that can be replaced by a more useful one that is going to help you reach your goals. Be patient and keep practising 😊.
If your body has trouble digesting specific foods, it can affect your hormones, metabolism, or even cause inflammation and result in any of the symptoms listed above. And these can affect any (or all) parts of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.
Well as the carol goes it should be ‘jolly’. But how many of you find it all a bit stressful? Extra alcohol, lack of routine, lots of food being offered to you, plus the stress of doing so much and worrying about everyone else can play havoc on your healthy eating.
Here are 9 tips to help you to stay on track and healthy into the New Year:
Maybe you’ve started to eat better, you’re eating a lot more plant-based now and maybe you’re losing weight. Nourishing your body with a wholefood plant-based diet is key to good health, but are you active and doing some exercises too? Although you can lose weight without exercising it really has so many health benefits to offer – mental as well as physical.
Cravings can be triggered by many things including; sights, sounds, aromas, environment, stress and more. A perfect example of this is a typical trip to the supermarket with the smell of freshly-baked bread wafting through the shop or popping to a coffee shop and the cakes and muffins are all neatly on display, right in front of you when you’re in the queue!
Eat a variety of nutrient-dense whole plant foods; this doesn't just help reduce stress hormone, it helps all aspects of your health.
Lower your cortisol levels with leafy greens, whole grains, berries, beans, nuts and seeds – especially walnuts, milled linseeds and chia seeds. Plus, a bit of dark chocolate – not the sugary, milky kind, can even help you to unwind too.
It would also appear that the standard Western lifestyle could be the main driver of gut inflammation. A diet which is low in fibre, high in sugar and saturated fat, plus high consumption of alcohol along with high levels of stress, could all be a factor.
A plant-based diet is not a diet of vegetables alone. It is a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, which may exclude or minimise meat, including chicken, dairy products and eggs. The diet will definitely exclude foods made from refined flour and sugar, and certain refined vegetable oils.
I advocate a completely plant-based diet, excluding all animal products, because of the multiple health issues related to animal products.
You may not realise how important breakfast is if you’re trying to lose weight. Skipping breakfast means you’re much more likely to reach for the high sugar, high fat snacks when your energy plummets mid-morning. Breakfast is not the time to try and shave a few calories off what you’re eating.
Lots of foods will have words like ‘reduced fat’ or ‘less sugar’ and these are used to make you think it’s a healthy choice. If it says ‘reduced’ or ‘less’ it just means there’s less than in the original version. It might be a healthier choice, but not necessarily a healthy choice. In a reduced fat food there could still be a lot of sugar or salt for example. And something which is ‘less salt’ could still have a lot of sugar or fat.
People eat too many calories, not because they're hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, or bored. Or maybe because they're tired or stressed. Or maybe even because they're happy and celebrating. All these feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake.
Ever felt a powerful urge to consume lots of sugary, fatty foods because you feel so tired? Not getting the sleep you need can have a huge impact on your ability to lose weight so this is definitely something to focus on if you are working towards a healthy weight. The good news is that a wholefood plant-based diet can help.
Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnoea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases).
While dieting can lead to a reduction in the amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have. As you may know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.
This situation is made worse if you try to lose a lot of weight too quickly. This is why I always recommend a gradual reduction in food using healthy wholefood plant-based foods. This also means you won’t feel deprived either – another reason why diets don’t work for people.
As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you're not working out.
The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being questioned with research on other factors that may be just as important. Of course, limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that's simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.
No matter where you’re going, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Here I am going to give you a few quick and healthy food ideas, to help you stay on track so you can plan what to take and focus on finding real food. While these tips can all be used at home, this is extra-important when you’re travelling. Travelling can throw your regular healthy habits off when you’re skipping time zones or even just being in a different place.
Fibre rich foods are very important for good health. They help prevent constipation and fill you up without giving too many calories - useful if you are watching your weight. They may protect against bowel problems, including cancer of the bowel, which is one of the most common cancers in Britain.
Whether you’re already plant-based or just having more plant-based meals, there is so much choice it’s a lot easier to eat out now. It’s also a lot easier to make not-so-healthy choices! It’s a good idea to think about what you are going to eat beforehand and to follow these simple guidelines.
Many diets fail because they focus on food and not on the eating habits that make us overweight. Often, when the diet is over, our weight starts to creep upwards again. To achieve a more permanent approach to weight management we have to develop healthy eating habits. Below are a number of techniques that are quite easy to learn and can help you eat as you should. The methods are based on ideas of how people learn to change their habits.
According to nutritionists, a healthy breakfast should give you around 30% of your daily calorie requirements. It should provide us with energy, protein, calcium, iron, fibre and B vitamins which are all needed to get you through the day. If your body doesn’t receive these first thing, studies have shown your body is less effective at taking them on during the rest of the day.