Healthy Eating - Columnist

Habits to start now to help you live a healthy life

Half the battle to living a healthy lifestyle is the approach we take and habits we create. Not only do we need to have a balanced diet and carry out regular exercise, we also need to have the right mindset.

First, think about if you’re ready. Not having the mental capacity to take on new changes can contribute to one of the many reasons why people give up, it can become too much. This doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human (and everyone has a limit). Be honest and gentle with yourself. When you’re ready start by making small, positive changes. It’s amazing the results you can achieve with even the smallest of changes.

Next think about “why?”. Write down why you want to start making changes and memorise those reasons, because when you feel like giving up, there is no better way to stay motivated and on track than remembering why you started.

If you need more information about food, diets and exercise look at reliable sources such as the NHS LiveWell website, World Health Organisation, Food Standards Agency (https://www.food.gov.uk/) or my own website. A lot of newspapers just want the shocking and eye catching headlines, they don’t always provide accurate information when it comes to dietary advice which can be confusing and misleading. Remember if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Next up is consistency. We are what we repeatedly do. We must eat a healthy balanced diet most of the time and exercise regularly to be our healthiest and achieve our goals and maintain results. It’s absolutely ok to have the foods you love that we know are not so good for us, but just have them in moderation.

Another habit we need to consider is good planning. Plan your exercise into your week, plan what you are going to eat each day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks (or at least one or two of them). Plan it like it’s your job. Put it in your calendar and make an appointment with yourself, because people who plan and prepare for the week ahead are more likely to stick to and achieve their goals.

Finally, focus on living a healthy lifestyle. Eat nutritious foods as part of a balanced diet and exercise often. When this is our priority and main focus, rather than what we look like, weight loss and other physical changes take care of themselves. Not only that, but it’s a great way of taking the pressure off ourselves and it helps us have a healthy, positive mind set.

The more we can practice these habits and embed them in our everyday life, the more visible the results will be and ultimately (and most importantly) the healthier we will be too.

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