Some basic but essential tips for keeping your lifestyle on track

#healthadvocate

I’ve started using this hashtag with my social media posts, because I want my purpose to be clear.

I’m enjoying the holistic benefits of having changed my diet, being more active and living a healthier lifestyle, and I want to help others experience the same.

Since this column was launched nearly a year ago, I’ve had a number of readers email me for advice or motivation, or even just to share their stories with me. Similarly, I’ve had people stop me in the supermarket to chat – or even have a look into my shopping trolley! And I think this is great. Because it means that people are interested in getting a conversation going about how they can make some positive changes in their lives.

Just this week, a colleague confided in me that he had made a pact with his nieces that the next time he returned home, he would have a six-pack – of abs, not beers – and there was some money at stake. “Chanza, I can’t let these girls take my money,” he told me. So, I promised to help him because the #tummymustfall

Based on the success I’d had with the paleo diet, as well as that of another friend who was around the same age as my colleague, and also lived with a stubborn boep for a long time, I suggested that colleague try eating a strictly paleo diet for 30 days and gauge from there if he thought it was a lifestyle he could maintain.

Of course, not everyone will be keen to eliminate dairy, grains, legumes, processed food and refined sugar from their diet – and my colleague may find that it’s not a sustainable lifestyle for him to follow. So here are some other tips I’m going to share with him, which helped me shed just more than 40kg over the past two years.

Re-imagine breakfast: Ditch the breakfast cereal – and, may I add, particularly the sweetened breakfast cereals. They may taste good and give you the kick-start you need at the beginning of the day, but in most cases they won’t keep you going and you may find that by mid-morning you’re already feeling hungry. When I went paleo, I swopped my cereal and toast for a protein-based meal, so I start my day with boiled eggs and fresh veg and/or fruit and a (very) small portion of nuts.

Pay attention to portion size: Thanks to up-sized fast-food meals and the ever-praised “generous, value-for-money” portions served at some restaurants, many of us have a skewed perception of what a recommended food-portion size is. There’s lots you can read about this online and I’ve covered this in a previous column, but in a nutshell, your meal should consist of mostly vegetables, a portion of meat, fish or chicken the size of the palm of your hand, and if you’re eating potato or starchy veg, the portion should be the equivalent of what can fit into your cupped hand.

Cut out the snacks and refined sugar: In the book Salt, Sugar, Fat, by Michael Moss, there’s a whole section on what food manufacturers call the “bliss point”. This refers to the amount of sugar that keeps you wanting more of a particular food. And therein lies the problem. We rarely just have “a few” chips or sweets or chocolate. Most times we eat until it’s all gone and because we’re bored rather than hungry.

Wait a while: It can take as many as 20 minutes for the chemicals in your body to relay the message to your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. So, before you reach for a second helping, take a minute to assess your satiety levels. Are you really still hungry or do you just want more?

Build movement into your day: You don’t need a gym membership and you don’t need to run long distances every day. Just find some opportunities for movement in your day. Animal Moves founder Darryl Edwards suggests doing five minutes of movement every time you make coffee. Or jogging to catch the bus. You can also take the stairs or park further from your destination than you normally would.

For more, follow @editedeating on social media.

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chantel - Some basic but essential tips for keeping your lifestyle on track
chantel - Some basic but essential tips for keeping your lifestyle on track
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