So we are now well into January and you are probably thinking ‘well this isn’t going very well’. You’re probably awaiting a lecture on how you have terrible will power and how you should be feeling bad right now – WRONG! I’m guessing you have decided to go on a diet to lose weight by cutting out sweets, chocolate, maybe bread (I’m looking at you ladies) or gone on a diet such as gluten free or a vegan diet (the new favourite diet of the year).
You have promised yourself at least two to three gym sessions a week and maybe even a run for good measure. Listen, everyone is human and the New Year brings out the ‘I need to get healthy after that Xmas binge’ in us or the ‘new year, new you’. However, setting such goals can lead to unhappiness, being hard on yourself and maybe even gaining weight and you wonder why they call it the January blues! So I’m going to give you a few pointers into making those New Year’s resolutions work and avoiding those January blues!
1) Be in the know
There is a lot of marketing strategies out there that lead you into thinking you are making a good choice when it comes to food. You know the ones I’m talking about – Low fat and 0% fat etc (you could be here a while if they were all listed). Well unfortunately those products claiming to be low in fat are way too high in sugar (did you know your body, more specifically your liver, turns excess sugar to fat, yeah that’s right defeats the whole purpose of buying that low fat yoghurt). Rely on knowledge when going to the supermarket, here’s a quick table to let you know if something is high is fats and sugars from reading the nutritional’s on the back of the pack (take a screenshot):
|High||Over 15g||Over 5g||Over 1.5g|
|Medium||5g to 15g||1.5g to 5g||0.3g to 1.5g|
|Low||Below 5g||Below 1.5g||Below 0.3g|
Don’t fall for foods that claim to be benefiting your health (or so they say) but have their own gains in interest (through brilliant marketing, the best of us can fall for it). An excellent example of this is the famous protein bar, promoted to athletes and all those gym goers alike as a healthy and excellent source of protein. However, protein bars can contain high levels of sugar (may as well be a candy bar) and remember what I said before about all that extra sugar! Some of these bars can contain up to 40 ingredients plus, full of artificial ingredients and I don’t need to tell you that these aren’t great. Try and stick to items where the ingredients are as natural as possible (incase you don’t know by now Rucksnacks make delicious beef bites, high in protein and use natural ingredients).
Don’t be fooled by the diet on trend, especially by celebrities for example Kourtney Kardashian has gone gluten free as she thinks it makes her healthier, yes yes I know but they are a guilty pleasure those lot, however if you don’t need to be on this diet because of health concerns such as being a coeliac, well I do pity your bowels. Most gluten free foods don’t contain much fibre and well no one needs constipation do they!? Do not be fooled by the latest hastag also, currently #Veganuary is doing the rounds. Unless you are Vegan for your own reasons, I hate to break it to you but you need meat in your diet. Did you know that meat not only contains all the amino acids our body needs (proteins) but also contains all essential B vitamins and that Vit B-12 can only be found in meat as well as being the best source of iron, to help with muscle growth, gives long lasting energy (carbohydrates get broken down into sugar which our body can burn fast and you hit that after lunch/dinner low – did someone ask for coffee?) and finally well we were primarily meat eaters before agriculture gave us grains (in the past 10,000 years with a heavily grain and sugar based diet our stature and brain size have gotten smaller). I cannot stress enough FAD diets such as Atkins and others and diets that are trending do not work, each one of them will leave your body deficient in vital nutrients and probably make you unhappy in general since they are intense and hard to follow.
Listen in a nutshell, don’t go mad buying all the latest trends and marketing ploys in the supermarkets, you are making big companies rich with no gains for yourself. You need a balanced diet and certain foods can be switched for a healthier option for example if you have a sweet tooth why not put down the packet of Parma Violets (I had to educate my husband what these were, yes I had a few over the Xmas period) and pick up the Honey Roast Beef Bites. Hey by eating a balanced diet and switching some of those bad foods for better options you might even start to notice the weight fall off. Now don’t forget that you have to eat in moderation – portion control is vital alongside a balanced diet.
2) Gyms aren’t the only way to work out
I know how some people can feel about gyms, I used to go to a gym when we lived in London which was full of men looking at their muscles in the mirror, not exactly an advertisement for going. Not all gyms are like this though so if you find a good one and enjoy it, yay.
If you are not a fan of gyms, you are more than likely to keep up exercising if it’s something you like to do. I am currently seeing a trainer once a week to help with my mummy tummy and he has given me home workouts as let’s face it going to a gym with a 3month old, well let’s just say there’s not a lot of time for that. Whilst I love this workout and it is really pinpointing what I’d like to achieve in the New Year, there are really fun ways to work out (you might not even notice you are working out). Think of something you used to do for fun as a child or teenager and look it up, there might just be a class or group that continue this on for adults. My friends and I have found classes in Belfast and a few other places that do Irish Dancing for adults! I loved this when I was younger and what’s better than dancing like you used to (maybe not so gracefully) and having great craic with your friends. Exercising doesn’t have to be the gym it can be whatever you enjoy doing, just as long as you are moving. Did you know that all that moving improves glucose (sugar) metabolism and so all those low fat items full of sugar you have been buying could really benefit from a little moving.
3) Look after your mental health
It’s a no brainer that your mental health matters and you’ve probably been beating yourself up over not following the resolutions you have made for yourself. Here’s my advice to you, be kind to yourself! You are human and guess what you will have downfalls and make mistakes, we all do (don’t tell my husband I said that).
Eating high quality foods to nourish the body is one of the best ways that you can care for yourself. Don’t skip breakfast and don’t miss main meals (if I don’t have breakfast, look out world, angry Genna is there for the day, hell I won’t even book a hotel room unless they give breakfast the next morning). I recently watched a segment on ‘This Morning’ where a Dr explained that the best medicine the body can take is food and I totally agree with him.
But resolutions don’t all have to be about food and fitness in order to keep a healthy mind, think of some things that you put off doing but shouldn’t and give you great satisfaction for example I am going to wash my makeup brushes weekly (the horror of washing brushes after a long period and realising you could probably make a whole bottle of foundation out of what has gone down the drain and better still you’ve been rubbing that on your face for ages Genna). I just asked my husband for an example for you men out there and he says ticking off the DIY list, but looking from afar I’d say for him it would be to leave work behind at a certain time and rest for the evening (he’ll smile when he reads this because he knows I’m right).
I’ll leave you on a quote I like – food for thought really: Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.
I hope this article has made you feel a bit better about Jan 2018 so far and don’t worry you’ve got this! Eat a balanced nutritious diet (less processed and more natural), exercise in a way you enjoy, keep yourself happy and the rest will follow.