January 17, 2020 Health and Wellness

Maintaining your January health kicks

January sees gym memberships soar, diet and detox plans exhausted and the ‘new year new you ‘saying repeated constantly. Research in the US has shown that these healthy habits, if continued past January, could deliver us with an extra disease-free decade.  The study published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) states that women can gain 10 more years and men 7 which is free of cancer, heart problems and type-2 diabetes all from leading a healthy lifestyle.

What is a healthy lifestyle?

Five lifestyle factors which contribute to healthy lifestyle.

  • Healthy and balanced diet
  • 30 minutes of moderate vigorous activity every day
  • BMI (body mass index) between 18.5 and 24.9
  • Never smoking
  • Limited alcohol

If modifying your bad habits and sticking to these health and lifestyle factors would guarantee you a few extra years would you commit? If so, we have some tips for maintaining those healthy habits during January and beyond:

The aim is to set up a positive behaviour which you will carry on post January. Figure out a way that your health kicks can fit into your everyday life and become a second nature to you.

Know what you are eating

What you are putting in your body is key when maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Understanding what benefits certain food groups give to your body may encourage you to eat them more. Research and learn about nutrition and ways to cook good food to make it the more appealing.

Portion size

Ensuring you get the right amount of different types of foods is very important. Crash diets which remove whole food groups such as the Keto diet which excludes carbohydrates, can be good for quick weight loss however is very unsustainable long term. Understanding your portion sizes can help you lose weight and feel better.

    • Starchy foods such as cereal, bread, pasta or rice should make up over a third of your diet. Providing your body with fuel, fibre and helping you feel fuller for longer. Recommended portion sizes (per meal) would be 40g of cereal/porridge, two slices of wholegrain bread, 75g of uncooked rice or pasta (clenched fist surface area).
    • Proteins are important to help the body repair and grow and can be found in many sources such as meat, fish, beans, pulses and eggs. Recommended portion sizes (per meal) would be 60-90g of meat, cooked fish (size of the palm of your hand), two medium sized eggs or a small tin of baked beans.
    • You should include dairy or dairy free alternatives in your diet as they are a good source of calcium which helps us keep strong teeth and bones. Having a moderate amount of 2/3 portions, a day is recommended. 200ml glass of milk, a carton of yoghurt or 30g of hard cheese is what counts.
    • Many know that the recommended daily allowance for fruit and vegetables is 5 a day. However, knowing the portion size of fruit which one portion will equate to can be difficult. Fruit and vegetables should make up 1/3 of our diet and many of us often do not eat enough of it. Recommended portion sizes of fruit and vegetables are one medium fruit such as apple or orange, two small fruits such as kiwis or plums, large handful of grapes or berries or a few slices of large fruit such a pineapple or mango.

Hand Guide to Portion Control

From Visually.

Making time

Don’t say you do not have enough time. Your health is your most important asset and not just for January. There are plenty of ways you can save time in the kitchen, batch cooking your meals at the weekend for the week ahead is one way. This will ensure you have a healthy, balanced meals when you get home from a long day at work instead of ordering a takeaway. The more time you spend in the kitchen the more comfortable you will feel, therefore cooking will take up less of your time and become more enjoyable.

Exercise is key

Exercise is important so don’t just join the gym because you think you have too. There are many other options to exercise then the gym e.g. walking, team sports, dancing or anything that keeps you moving. Don’t rely on your own will power all the time. Get your family and friends involved. They can be great motivators and get you moving.