In line with the advice given in my previous columns, it’s important to take small achievable steps when you’re making changes towards a healthier lifestyle.
There’s a lot of confusing advice out there when it comes to dieting so I’m going to touch on five simple things you can start doing today.
It’s really important that you try to understand what your current eating habits are, and I always ask people to start by keeping a food diary so we can identify which habits might be hampering your progress and small tweaks we can make to improve this.
The hidden enemy within our food can go by many different names: sucrose, fructose, dextrose, corn syrup. It’s important to read nutrition labels and always be wary of low-fat alternatives as they often contain more sugar.
We don’t want to cut it out completely, otherwise you may feel deprived; begin by removing one or two things and replacing them with healthier alternatives. You want to make changes that are manageable in the long term.
No 2 – glycemic index or GI
The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0-100 according to how much they raise blood sugar levels after eating. The goal is to replace foods that have a high GI that cause a spike in our blood sugar levels with foods that have a lower GI. Think about swapping white rice, bread and pasta for wholegrain options.
These are often found in convenience foods with a long shelf life such as cakes, crisps and doughnuts. Try to swap these for fresh food you’ve made yourself and try to carry something with you so you’re not tempted to grab on the go.
Be mindful of the sugar content in fruit (frutcose) as they too can have a fairly high glycemic index. Reach for the veggies first and try to increase the variety and colour that you consume,
No 5 – hydration, the thing that links everything together
Most people don’t drink enough water and there are so many benefits to upping your water intake; helps to flush out toxins, increases energy, reduces fatigue, enhances metabolism and strengthens our immune system.
There are lots of ways you can increase it; set reminders, get a water bottle and keep it by your desk, have a glass every time you make a hot drink. You also less likely to overeat if you are well hydrated.
So start by making a food diary and see where you can implement some small changes – those marginal gains will really make a difference.