The wellness industry has exploded in the past year, everywhere you turn there’s advice on how to take your nutrition to the next level. In my honest opinion, there’s almost too much advice to take on. Where do you start? What happened to eating a well rounded, healthy diet? I want to bring it back to basics, to discuss your initial steps into a healthier and more balanced way of eating and living. It doesn’t need to be difficult or boring, but what it does need to be is sustainable. And my belief is this can only happen if you make small, enjoyable steps that are easy to fit into your current lifestyle. Where to start? Let’s tuck in!
Step one: Make yourself aware
How can you correct something if you’re unaware of what needs correcting? Quite simply, you can’t. Start tracking your daily food intake, either using My Fitness pal or a notebook. This allows you to see how much you’re eating and drinking in a day, it also highlights your dietary habits. And lastly, if you’re using the app it will give you a breakdown of Macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats).
Step two: Increase your fluids
I am yet to have a new client in who says they drink enough water, because unfortunately most people just don’t get enough fluids in during the day. However this can be easily rectified, by quite simply drinking more water. If you forget to drink set an alarm on your phone, drink a glass with every meal or buy yourself a water bottle and give yourself a target to drink each day. You should be aiming for 1.2-1.5 litres per day, of course it can depend on your exercise levels, if you’re a coffee/tea drinker and the temperature.
Step three: Eat a nourishing breakfast
I’m a big fan of my clients eating breakfast, it prevents you from getting excessively hungry and therefore overeating later in the day. If you’ve been skipping this meal, try and incorporate something in. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy! Try a slice of toast, 1 tbsp peanut butter and 1/2 a banana. You’ll find yourself less likely to grab a mid morning snack, therefore leading to a lower overall daily calorie balance.
Step four: Increase your vegetable consumption
Eat more greens. They’re packed full of goodness, they’ll help to fight off colds and other more serious illnesses plus it just adds more colour to your plate. I’m a big believer in adding extra opposed to taking away, so whilst you’re in a transition period keep everything the same but just add an extra portion of vegetable to your meals. The more simple you keep it, the easier it’ll be and the more likely this change will stick around.
Step five: Keep an eye on snacks
We’re a snacking nation, and it can be really hard to curb this habit if it’s something you’ve always done. Luckily I’m not here to stop you snacking, but just making you more aware of the snacks you’re eating. A slice of toast, packet of crisps and a chocolate bar can quite easily come to the same amount of calories as a meal and it’s likely you blood sugar levels will fly sky high and then crash later in the afternoon leaving you wanting more. Sound familiar? I’m exactly the same, which is why I fill my fridge and cupboards with whole, real foods and limit the sugary and salty snacks. If you’re looking for easy snacking, I’ve written a post just here.
Step six: Homemade vs processed foods
What do I mean by processed foods? When you’re next shopping, grab a box of food off the shelf and take a look at the ingredients list. If there’s words you’ve never seen before, or a list as long as your arm chances are this food isn’t as fresh as you’d like it to be. This usually means it’s full of preservatives, sugar and salt and offers very little nutritional value. What can you eat instead? Keep yourself to the outside isles, that’s where you’ll find fresh vegetables and fruits. Why not buy yourself a cookbook and use this as your source of recipe inspiration, you might just realise how much you enjoy cooking.
I could keep going with this blog post, but the truth is it’s a journey you have to start yourself. I can cheer you on and try to inspire you, but you alone have the power to change. It can a difficult road to start upon, but if you’re ready to embrace this I promise you it’ll be worth the challenge! If you have any questions about this blog post or anything else, you can find me @oliviafurner across all social media platforms.