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After the festive period of over indulgence, we always feel motivated or scared into making some healthier choices in our lifestyle but is the latest diet the right thing for you?

The word diet conjures up images of food deprivation, forbidden treats and no social life. Doesn’t sound like much fun does it!? However, right now, you are probably sick of chocolate and alcohol and want to do something positive.

A New Year – A New You!

New Year is always a good time to make some changes and if not now, when? Before you know it, another year will go by.

There are immediate benefits to changing your lifestyle and food intake:

  • Reduced body fat
  • Dropping a few dress sizes
  • Changing your relationship with food
  • Ditching the scales
  • Increase your confidence
  • Increased energy
  • Reducing medications
  • Feeling mentally stronger
  • Coping better under stress
  • Setting a good example to your children
  • Inspiring others to change
  • Reducing your risk of all major disease

Why not write your own list now and see what you really want to achieve in 2015?

So how does the everyday person detox after the Christmas blow out – and can you still have your cake and eat it!?

The first thing you need to do is to dump the word diet – it is NOT a diet, it’s a healthy eating plan! The minute you say you are on a diet your brain goes in to overdrive and for a short time you’ll be really ‘good’ and be able to stick to your caloriecounting, celery-stick-eating, red bush tea-drinking and then that little voice in your head will start.

“It’s just one biscuit – you’ve been so good!”

“You’ve had a tough day at work; one bar of chocolate won’t kill you!”

“You haven’t had time to prepare something healthy, why not order a takeaway!”

“Red wine is surely one of your 5 a day!”

The minute you say to yourself, ‘I’m on a diet and I’m not allowed this food and drink’, you are setting yourself up to fail. If someone were to say to you, ‘you can’t do that or you can’t have that’, what do you immediately think?

Diets do NOT work!

So what are you supposed to do? Have you tried every diet going?

Changing to a healthy eating plan means that no food is off limits or banned but you will be improving the nutritional content of the foods you consume 80 per cent of the time.

Here’s how: Healthy Eating Plan – The basics

1 Eat foods made with as little outside intervention as possible – i.e. more home cooked foods and less processed. Chemicals, additives and preservatives are not doing you any good.

2 Limit caffeine intake and drink more water. Caffeine will encourage your adrenals to produce stress hormones which in turn increases fat around your middle. Water is essential if you want to lose weight and feel better.

3 Swap white carbs for wholegrain and brown carbs. Wholegrain contains essential minerals and releases sugars into your blood slowly, limiting your fat storing response.

4 Replace sugary treats with healthier versions.

5 Opt for better versions of your favourite foods. E.g. adding your own toppings to a pizza base.

6 Reduce salt and use herbs and spices. Salt makes cells expand; you are made up of millions of cells so expanding each one just a little can make you feel bloated and puffy.

7 Cut out artificial sweeteners and fizzy drinks which are known to increase appetite.

8 Go easy on the alcohol if you want to reduce fat storage.

9 Eat little and often and avoid food after 7pm. The later you eat the more your body needs to convert the food to fat.

10 Get enough sleep. Evidence supports how important sleep is to weight loss and health. Exercise is absolutely vital if you really want to make positive changes to your health and appearance.

Meal Plan – An ideal week

Include one lunch and one dinner as your own choice plus one treat snack per week.

Limit caffeine drinks to maximum two per day and drink plenty of water.

Limit alcohol to four drinks per week.

Breakfast Choices

Oatibix with milk (almond milk preferably) and topped with mixed seeds and chopped banana

Porridge made with half milk and water plus seeds and berries

Scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast

Small pot of natural yoghurt with fresh fruit and granola

Seeded wholegrain toast with peanut butter

Morning Snack

Apple with three Brazil nuts

Mini pot of hummus with carrot sticks

Small handful nuts and seeds

Lunch

Vegetable soup with one Ryvita

Omelette and salad

Chicken and salad sandwich

Goats cheese salad

Two rice cakes with cashew nut butter and apple wedges

Jacket potato with tuna, sweet corn and salad

Afternoon Snack

Healthy flapjack – (if you would like the recipe for these please contact Julie directly)

Dinner

Oven-baked salmon fillet with sweet potato wedges and roasted courgette, tomatoes, peppers and mushroom.

Oven-baked chicken fillet with brown basmati rice, sweet corn and sugar snap peas.

Brown pasta with a good quality tomato-based sauce, lean mince and plenty of vegetables.

Pitta bread pizza with salad, use wholemeal pita bread as your pizza base, add your chosen toppings and serve with a salad.

Pan-fried sea bass fillet with sautéed vegetables and new potatoes.

Chicken stir fry using packet of stir fry vegetables, egg noodles and flavoured with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and Chinese five spice.

Julie Clark

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