I always find September is a great time of year to take a look at our health and make any changes. When I was a child I loved the back to school feeling with new pens and a fresh clean notebook and I still get that fresh start feeling now. September is also a much better time of year for new starts than the typical new year resolutions in cold, dark January.
However, I hate the word diet and try to never use it with clients. The word diet makes people think of deprivation and feeling hungry. But being healthy is far from being hungry. My focus is usually on how you feel. If a client comes to me for weight loss, I’m always upfront and say I’m not concerned about the number on the scales… I’m more interested in getting you to feel better. My reasoning is that if someone feels better about themselves then they are more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan. I am not about quick fixes or getting to a certain size by a certain date. I want long term healthy eating for long term health.
I have spent the last month in America – the land of huge portions and lots of sugar. While I tried to eat as healthily as I could – because that’s what makes me feel better – it was really hard. My children found this amazing gelato bar which sold handmade ice cream… so good! And we were in California so the husband kept ordering delicious wine and it would have been rude to say no.
So, I too am taking stock and looking at a reset. In fact, the whole family have come back from holiday saying they have eaten too much, had too much sugar and not enough vegetables and so we are embracing the reset as a family. A reset works much better if you can get everyone on board. Clients of mine that have support at home do much better when the family is behind them. So, what does a reset involve?
Increasing our vegetables
We tried to eat lots of vegetables when away, but when you are eating out all the time it’s hard. So, we are all increasing our vegetables and the variety of our vegetables. I have printed everyone off a spreadsheet with vegetables listed and am getting them to tick off how many they consume in a week. Studies have shown that eating more diversity is key to good health and we should be aiming for 30 different vegetables and fruit a week.
This is much harder. Our bodies are hardwired to crave sugar and I find that consuming a small amount can then make you crave more. So those ice creams have meant that I now want sugar more. My solution is to make some nutrient dense energy balls, such as those overleaf. These can then be eaten when a sugar craving hits. Rather than sugar, energy balls contain dried fruit, nuts, seeds, spices and sometimes oats.
All good quality ingredients that don’t leave you needing more. Only 1 or 2 are needed and you feel full and satisfied. They also don’t leave you hungry for more sugar a couple of hours later.
For me this is actually fairly simple as I’m not a big alcohol drinker. However, I have come up with strategies as my husband likes a few glasses and is determined to cut back this month. So I have stocked up with some alcohol free beer for him. Also komboucha (a fermented tea drink) makes a good alternative. You can make your own or buy from a supermarket.
When we were away lots of chips were eaten by all – not a great carbohydrate choice at all as I’m sure you know. So, this month we are looking at better carb choices. Quinoa, brown rice, root vegetables all make the list. For me it’s all about good quality carbs rather than no carbs.
Of course, a healthy lifestyle also means that you need to move. We are lucky to have a dog so that means we are out walking every day – regardless of weather. However, we are also making sure that we all get moving a bit more on top of the dog walk.
Parkrun is excellent for this. You don’t need to run it all – many people adopt a walk/run technique. All ages can attend and best of all it’s free. Local to us there’s one in Tonbridge Park or if you want a hilly one try the Lullingstone Park one. If you see me be sure to give me a wave!
Katharine Bright is a Registered Nutritional Therapist with a clinic in Sevenoaks. To book an appointment call her on 07769 636352 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. She is co-founder of The Health Boost (thehealthboost.co.uk) – a website dedicated to providing
a family friendly solution to healthy eating. For day-to-day healthy inspiration and new recipes follow them on Facebook and Instagram.