How to eat healthily and lose weight
Ditch the quick fix and detox diets and think long term.
Despite viruses and bacteria thriving in warmer temperatures, this time of year brings more colds and coughs than summer. This is possibly due to lack of sunlight and therefore less vitamin D and the fact that we spend more time indoors breathing recycled air and other people’s viruses.
The cold and flu season is in full flow in January. Our immune systems may also have been suppressed by excess drinking and eating over the festive season. Bingeing on sugar and avoiding exercise can weaken our health further.
So instead of starting a diet of deprivation like a detox diet, the 4:3 or the low calorie focus more on healthy eating that boosts the immune system and balances your hormones and metabolism. If you concentrate on eating nutritious and fresh food you are far more likely to lose weight naturally and should to be able to stick to your new way of healthy eating. I always aim for consistency and a long term approach.
I eat healthy and delicious food and adhere to the Metabolic Balance way of eating most of the time. I am a real foodie and I certainly do not ever feel I am missing out as my food is always full of flavour and never leaves me hungry. And most importantly I feel healthy and have enough energy to cope with my busy work and family life.
The most important thing is not to embark on a radical all or nothing approach as this approach is generally short term and more often than not is doomed to failure. Try making a few key changes a week. For example, do you start your day with a coffee instead of breakfast? Do you eat a heavy carbohydrate meal late at night and finish it off with sweets or chocolate? If so it doesn't take long to change your taste buds or way of eating. Many of my clients say that they can’t give up their 6 coffees a day drunk between meals. I ask them to try drinking less coffee and to drink it at meals only so not to give it up completely. After a week most of them say it wasn't that difficult to do and that they don't miss their 11am caffeine fix. Start slowly and tell yourself that this is going to be sustainable rather than just for January.
Here are my tips for January healthy eating and my Metabolic Balance way of living:
Eat vegetables at every meal.
Yes I know the thought of broccoli at breakfast is not going to make you jump out of bed! But there are other vegetables that work well. For example I always eat some avocado with my scrambled eggs. The combination is delicious. Alternatively along with your eggs try some sautéed mushrooms or roasted cherry tomatoes. But if this is too much for you make a green smoothie of spinach, cucumber, one portion of fruit and the liquid of your choice and drink along with your eggs. If you are having the green smoothie as a complete breakfast make sure you add a protein like chia seeds, other seeds or nuts. Adding a tablespoon of oats to the smoothie will also help to fill you up. Always try and eat a variety of fresh vegetables.
Eat protein at every meal.
A small portion of protein will help keep you fuller for longer and help to slow down the release of sugar from the vegetables, fruit and starchy carbohydrate. Protein provides essential amino acids which help repair muscles and tissues in the body. Our bodies can make some of these amino acids but not others and some vegetarian diets can lack these essential amino acids so it is important to include a wide variety of proteins in our diet - eggs, fish, poultry, lean meat etc..
Eat good fat at every meal.
We now know that not all fats are equal. The low fat diets of the 70s only saw an increase in obesity. Fat was replaced by carbohydrate. Low fat ready meals and foods like yogurts were pumped with sugar to replace the fat. But natural fats like avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds, oily fish and a little organic animal fat are essential for good health. I cook with coconut oil and use extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on food after cooking and for salad dressings.
Eat herbs and spices.
You won’t get bored of your food if you include lots of flavour. I cook with plenty of garlic and often crush a clove in my salad dressing. I always have lemons in my kitchen for squeezing over food at the end of cooking or for tenderising chicken whilst marinading with spices. I keep the following in my kitchen - fresh garlic and ginger, lemons, limes, chilli, sumac, harissa, cumin, sweet paprika, tumeric, coriander (fresh and dried), parsley, basil, miso paste, tahini, artichoke paste, pesto, tamari, coconut aminos, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard.
Eat dishes made with fresh stock, coconut milk and nut milk.
Stock will add flavour and is wonderfully healing. Stock comes in very handy with my clients during Metabolic Balance Phase 2. I freeze my stock in jam jars and ice cube trays for when only small amounts are needed. People are often nervous about making stock and think it will take ages. But when I show them how easy it is using a slow cooker overnight or while they are at work they are hooked. Coconut milk is really useful. I use it in soups and sauces. Nut milks are my favourite for soaking porridge and chia seeds. Chia seeds like a creamy liquid to help them swell up.
Eat fruit instead of sugary foods.
If you are craving something sweet have ONE portion of fruit with or after your meal. One of the Metabolic Balance rules is to eat an apple a day. Remember that old saying!
Eat three good meals and stop snacking.
If you can’t go ‘cold turkey’ on the snacks straight away try eating only a very small snack of protein like a few nuts or a small piece of cheese or lean meat. Then gradually wean yourself off.
Eat a treat meal!
In Metabolic Balance Phase 3 a treat meal is allowed once a week. This is compulsory. Drink your wine and have your sweet indulgence and enjoy it, you deserve it!