It’s January again and time for the annual influx of competing advertisements for fitness DVDs, diet books and juicers while every news programme has a feature on the latest trend in weight loss. Whether it is about eating ‘clean’, going vegan or following one of the celebrity endorsed ‘Eat more, Lose more!’ and ‘New Year, New You’ diets, it is hard to avoid the obsession with weight loss. It is no coincidence that the start of every new year guarantees a new target audience for the diet industry as the promotion of easy weight loss feeds directly into many people’s New Year’s resolutions and warps them. If we’re really honest, if we are not in the best nick then we know why and how we got in this state. But every year someone else’s easy solution for us is irresistible to buy into.
However, I am willing to bet that when most people decide after overindulging in the holidays to make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, what they actually want is to gain good health. Even the most committed dieters have to admit that the number on the scales cannot measure whether someone is fat or fit and tells us little about their health. Focusing simply on weight loss only leads you further away from getting healthier, fitter and enjoying a long life.
Therefore, I have come up with 5 alternative New Year’s resolutions to compete with ‘lose weight’ to help refocus your diet on healthy eating and good nutrition for life. These resolutions are not rules that cannot be broken and you may not be able to stick to every last one. After all, no one is perfect. These are simply some common sense healthy changes to try in an attempt to add some balance to the onslaught of weight loss quick fixes. Here goes…
- Try to cook from scratch more often. No one’s talking about making all your own bread or spending hours cooking. Just try to find more time to do it more often. It will help you to eat less of the processed, ready-made nonsense. Cook extra for leftovers or freeze them for another day.
- Take more time to eat your meals. It is very easy to inhale your lunch over your desk at work or gobble down your dinner at warp speed while watching tv without even clocking what you have eaten. Try to give yourself a proper break to breathe, relax, de-stress (and swallow!) and pay attention to what is actually going in that cake-hole.
- Enjoy your food! Resist the temptation of becoming obsessed with calories, specific nutrients or falling into the trendy trap of imagined intolerances. Instead of demonising entire food groups or eliminating foods that aren’t ‘clean’, just eat for goodness sake. And enjoy what you are actually eating, every last bite and morsel. Now this is not the same thing as overeating. Listen to your body and heed the signs when it’s enough.
- Eat more fruit and veg and choose wholegrains. We all know why we should do it so just try to sneak in some more. Enough said.
- Get moving more often. Again, we all know the ‘why’s’ but the truth is that the more often you exercise, the more likely it will become a lifelong habit that you will actually miss when you can’t do it. Hard to believe until you get hooked. Ultimately, cardiovascular fitness and a healthy heart will give you a healthier, longer life.
So with 5 resolutions to start a happy, healthy New Year I am looking at recipes and upcoming sporting events to take part in. I have already been roped into joining a relay team to run a marathon and there is talk of a spring duathlon, as well. In the meantime, I am trying to avoid running in the rain (impossible!) while I warm myself up in a warm kitchen. Happy New Year!
Now for a new recipe…I made this Mixed rice salad with roast veg and Wensleydale using up some of the holiday leftovers. It makes a great one-pot meal and the leftovers taste great in a packed lunch.