The health resolutions you need for 2023

  • Cycle your carbs, don’t skip them
  • Eat more fermented foods
  • Include nuts everyday
  • Include nuts everyday
  • Drink more water
  • Drink more water
  • Drink more water
  • Cycle your carbs, don’t skip them

Are you still skipping carbs to try and lose weight and end up binging on them? Carbs don’t need to be the enemy, it’s quantity and frequency that prove the problem.

A clever approach is to take a traffic light approach to your meals. If you start your day with a bowl of porridge – a heavy but nevertheless healthy carb – go for a lighter choice of carb at lunch such as chickpeas, sweetcorn or a root veg like butternut squash and then a virtually carb free dinner, try fish or chicken with a spicy sauce and green veg. Conversely, if you fancy chilli with rice for dinner, have a carb free lunch such as an egg and tuna salad and go moderate at breakfast with yogurt and berries. This way you get to enjoy all the carbs you like to eat spaced out through the week. You do have to put a bit more thought and effort into what foods you will eat and when but you can choose to suit your circumstances and convenience. So, if you know a sandwich is going to be the easiest option for lunch, you can build your meals around this and go lower at breakfast and dinner.

  • Eat more fermented foods

This is going to be the big trend for 2023! Increasingly research is showing that the composition of our gut bacteria is linked to obesity and as such a healthy microbiome is important for maintaining energy balance.

Dysbiosis, which is where negative bacteria are more dominant than friendly healthy bacteria, can change the barrier function of the gut allowing the passage of harmful substances that can activate inflammation and contribute to the development of insulin resistance. Dysbiosis can also alter the production of hormones that regulate appetite, reducing feelings of satiety and resulting in over eating.

Fermented foods such as kimchi and kombucha provide beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics. The probiotics produced during fermentation can help restore the balance of friendly bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut is linked with many aspects of health including mood and behaviour, perceived energy level, weight management, food cravings, hormone balance, immunity, and overall wellness.

  • Include nuts everyday

Nuts are so nutritious I advise eating a handful or two everyday. There is a vast amount of research to show that eating nuts on a regular basis improves your health in many ways, such as reducing blood cholesterol levels and lowering risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Forget about the calories, research suggests that nuts actually aid weight loss. There are two reasons for this: your body doesn’t absorb all of the calories contained in the nut; a portion of the fat stays trapped within the nut’s fibrous wall during digestion and is excreted. This means that you can subtract around a third of the calories stated on the package nutritional information. Secondly, nuts are high in protein and fat which means they have a high satiety effect keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

  • Eat fruit with meals

There is no getting away from the huge health benefits of fruits – packed with an array of essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and powerful antioxidants that can help to protect cells from damage.

But endlessly munching on fruit between meals when you feel peckish, may not be doing your waistline any favours. Fruits contain various amounts of sugar, some fast acting which when eaten on an empty stomach can spike your blood sugar, which can upset appetite regulation. Adding fruit to meals provides all the benefits yet reduces the impact of the sugar. Think tagines with fresh apricots, feta with citrus fruits, meats with spicy mango salsa and quinoa with pomegranate.

  • Drink more water

Everybody knows it but how many do it? Make it your resolution to carry water with you everywhere. Good hydration can help regulate appetite and aid weight management.

Common mistakes that hinder weight control are confusing feelings of mild hunger with that of mild thirst. This can lead to unnecessary snacking and taking in unwanted calories instead of taking in more water. The mid-afternoon slump can also lead you to crave sugar in an attempt to boost energy levels. In fact, the opposite occurs and a sugar spike caused by eating a sugary snack can leave you feeling even more sluggish. Maintaining optimum hydration throughout the day reduces cravings between meals and regulates appetite at meal times preventing you from over-eating.

  • Quality not quantity

The cost of living crisis will have a big impact of food choices, but cheap over processed foods can be a false economy. Their lack of nutritional value will dysregulate appetite and drive cravings, usually for more unhealthy foods.

As tight as budgets are, it is better to buy good quality items such as sourdough bread and thick Greek yogurt as a small amount is nutritious and satisfying. If you are worried about wastage, slice your sourdough in advance and keep it in the freezer until you need it.  A key aspect of good nutrition is to include a range of foods that provide all the nutrients your body needs for good health but when we diet, we often miss out on the full range as we restrict what we eat. Poor intakes of these vital nutrients can cause fatigue, irritability and loss of motivation. Therefore it’s better to eat a couple of larger nutritious meals, such as brunch and dinner, that can provide everything you need to maintain good health and cut out one meal and unnecessary snacks. It also gives you more time between your meals allowing your body to go into a fasted state, enabling weight loss.

  • Exercise outside

The cold winter weather is the perfect time to take advantage of turning up your internal thermostat and try to stimulate your brown adipose tissue. Brown adipose tissue can help to managing weight and prevent weight related disorders such as type 2 diabetes.

Brown adipose tissue, in contrast to white fat, can waste significant amounts of energy through heat production (thermogenesis). Exercising outside and activities like cold water swimming have been shown to increase activity of brown fat and have a positive effect on the release of hormones that control body fat and lean muscle development. Join a military style bootcamp and get used to some chilly mornings and a lot of mud!




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