These easy, no-nonsense healthy eating and fitness tips will help you lose weight safely, get fit and feel great. Share them with your loved ones and start the new year as you mean to go on – fitter, healthier and feeling better than ever before.
1. Get cooking. Make your own meals from real fresh ingredients. It’s free to look up healthy meals online and if time is short look for quick and easy recipes to replace unhealthy takeaways and ready meals. You can make tasty, filling healthy meals for all the family in under twenty minutes or batch cook a large amount and then freeze it in portions to use throughout the week. Cook with a variety of vegetables, whole grains (brown pasta and rice) and lean protein such as beans, lentils and fish to see real results in how you look and feel.
2. Eat soup. Soup keeps you fuller for longer. Warming winter soups will be your new staple as you start to eat healthier. You can make a delicious healthy soup in under half an hour, freeze it and reheat it in just five minutes! Take a container of your home-made soup into work for lunch, or a flask if you have nowhere to reheat it. If you add pasta (ideally wholewheat) to it you won’t even need a roll. Minestrone is amazing as it has protein in the beans and carbs in the pasta along with some of the best vegetables around. Casseroles and stews are also full of goodness so invest in a slow cooker and put the dinner on before you go to work, letting it cook all day to enjoy as soon as you come home.
3. Add a side salad. The French are known for their cheese and wine and lovely white French bread yet French women are brought up to eat everything in moderation and to eat a side salad with every meal. How many overweight French women do you know? Read ‘Why French Women Don’t Get Fat’ and learn why you don’t have to live on boring salads alone, you can still enjoy your cheese and wine and cake, just set some limits for yourself.
4. Make a stir-fry. Invest in a wok and you could make a healthy stir-fry for the whole family in under ten minutes at least once a week. Add lean chicken cubes, tofu or prawns, plenty of vegetables and either a small squirt of sauce or better still: make your own sauce from lemon or lime juice, corn flour and fresh coriander and serve with rice. Delicious, simple, quick and healthy eating. Just leave out the prawn crackers.
5. Eat between meals. Eating little and often is good for you. Have a proper breakfast, a healthy mid-morning snack, a good protein-rich lunch, a light mid-afternoon snack and a proper dinner. Smoothies, cereal bars and flapjacks taste great. Home-made banana flapjacks with nuts and seeds are as nutritious as they are delicious and need less sugar as the sweetness comes from the banana. Just watch your portion sizes. Drink water often and dilute fruit juices to make them less sugary. A fruit and yogurt smoothie is perfect to keep you going between meals.
6. Lose weight slowly. Losing weight must be done steadily – your health is more important than your dress size. Read up on healthy eating to find out more about portion sizes, buy a book of healthy recipes such as the Food Doctor’s Everyday Diet cook book or consider asking for help from a dietician if you feel you need expert one-to-one advice. If you’re overweight and feel very unfit then it is advisable to consult your GP to ask for some general guidelines on nutrition and how to start exercising safely before getting started.
Find the fitness for you
7. Eat less, move more. If you need to lose weight then start by making changes to your diet and begin exercising, building up to at least three times a week. You don’t have to sweat it out for an hour, a twenty minute walk to work from your car parked further away than usual is a great start.
8. Make time. If finding time is hard then make time in your busy schedule to fit in just 30 minutes per day. You don’t have to get up early, exercise during your lunch hour, straight after work, just before dinner or last thing at night. Thirty minutes per day is all you need.
9. Do it to music. If one of you has to stay home to babysit while the other goes out to exercise, take your iPod along with a playlist to fit your activity. Fast songs for running or speaking books for anyone who would rather be curled up reading literature.
10. Create good habits. When you repeat an activity on a regular basis such as every day for just six weeks it becomes a habit. Make fitness your new daily or weekly habit. It may start off feeling like a chore but it will soon become a habit that you can’t do without.
11. Try some local classes. There’s something for everyone these days – from Zumba for anyone who loves to dance to kettlebell training for men and women who want to see fast results in their body sculpting. You don’t have to just run, swim or row.
12. It’s free. If money is the obstacle then exercise at home, walk to work or go for a run round your local park. Many leisure centres offer a free introductory weekly membership so take advantage to try the classes, go for a daily swim or get your gym induction. Cycling, walking and jogging are free.