ASK THE EXPERTS: Stop Dieting, Get Healthy
Nutritional Therapist Tamara Connell tells us why dieting doesn't work, and why it's much easier to maintain your weight through a well-balanced, all-inclusive diet.
Studies have shown that by restricting yourself from specific foods you will instantly crave them and lead to over indulgence within days. Healthy eating is all about having a balanced diet that is made up of a combination of good-quality protein, unrefined complex carbohydrates, essential fats and fibre as well of plenty of vitamins and minerals. These important nutrients will give you more energy and as a result you will have glowing skin, a stronger immune system and your moods will stabilise. So think of healthy eating as something that is long term, not once or twice a year.
Cut back on the sweet stuff: Sugar is highly addictive and can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, crisps etc allow sugars to be easily absorbed into your system, which quickly releases energy and raises the blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates such as wheat, rye, oats, brown rice, millet, barley, beans and lentils give you longer lasting energy as your body digests them more slowly.
Fuel up regularly: If you don’t eat regularly blood sugar levels drop and you are more likely to crave sweet sugary snacks when you are hungry. Three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day will ensure you fuel up at regular intervals. If you need an afternoon pick me up then smother an oatcake with a whole nut butter like cashew or almond for a sweet hit that’s packed with goodness and will slowly release energy.
Eat the rainbow: Fruit and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They help slow down the ageing process and are vital for health and maintenance of the body. We often talk about eating the rainbow – which means consuming a wide variety of colourful fresh fruit and veg. Try to regularly include antioxidant rich berries, leafy greens and carotene rich squash and sweet potatoes.
Include essential fats: Healthy fats are absolutely vital for supporting brain function and maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. We can’t make two essential fatty acids in the body, omega 3 and omega 6 so we have to get them from our diet. The best sources are in oily fish - salmon, mackerel, anchovy, sardine, herring and tuna. Plant sources include nuts such as walnuts and seeds such as flax/linseeds and pumpkin seeds.
Protein power: Protein provides your body with amino acids which build and repair cells in the skin, muscles, organs and glands. Protein also helps sustain blood sugar levels leaving you fuller for longer. Include a portion of protein with each meal, choose lean animal sources such as chicken, turkey, fish and dairy products or plant sources such as nuts, seeds, lentils, chickpeas and beans.
Find out more about Tamara Connell over at www.lovinghealthy.co.uk