Small changes: A healthy, happy employee is greatly appreciated. Start making small changes in your life in order to improve your health. Set some goals and start completing them one at a time, perhaps taking one new step each month. You may be surprised at how much you can achieve and continue to achieve.
Healthy eating is important for everyone. Eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruit. Restrict your intake of sugary and fatty foods, do not use too much salt and cut out most processed foods.
Plan: Make a shopping list, eat before you shop and only buy the food on your list. (My mouth always waters when I see jars of pickled onions but at least they are not fattening!) Plan your meals for a week and eat fruit and vegetables as snacks. Salads are generally low in calories and protein can be added in the form of lean meat, fish, beans and nuts. Salads provide vitamins and fibre.
Meat and poultry contain protein but can be high in fat so choose lean cuts and remove any fat from meat and skin from poultry. Choose lean minced meat and drain off any fat before adding further ingredients. Use low fat cooking methods – bake, grill, roast, saute or stir fry in low-calorie cooking oil. If you are planning to lose weight, keep a food diary and discuss your goals with your family, colleagues and friends as they can offer you useful support.
Our bodies are dependent upon water so keep a bottle handy and avoid diet drinks which, surprisingly, are not very healthy. Aim to drink water first thing in the morning, before each meal and before going to bed.
Comfort eating: Comfort eating has little to do with hunger and more to do with using food to make ourselves feel better. Willpower comes and goes but when you eat beyond the point where you feel full yet find it hard to stop, this is called emotional eating.
Try to work out what the triggers are – boredom? stress? – and cope by finding something relaxing to do instead for example listening to the radio or reading. Eat slowly and mindfully, savour every bite and enjoy your food. The occasional treat is fine.
Exercise: Exercise promotes lower blood pressure, lower heart rates and improved circulation. It also improves muscle tone. It can lower body fat and cholesterol and encourage higher rates of metabolism as well as reducing stress. Exercise is not supposed to be a chore so choose something you enjoy and stick with it. Choose something that you look forward to. Check your plans with your G.P. if you have any concerns.
Written by Anita McGhee