New year, new diet

Health

New year, new diet

Tips to keep your new year's resolution on track after February

Sunday, January 17, 2021

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EVERY year, more than 50 per cent of people make new year's resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, work out, save money, get a promotion, get a raise, and more. And yet, virtually every study shows that around 80 per cent of new year's resolutions will get abandoned toward the end of January. With eating healthy and losing weight among the most common of these resolutions, director of operations of health brand Not Jus' A Salad, Khadine Smith shares tips to help keep diets on track for 2021 and beyond.

Know your why

At the start of the new year our motivation to change our eating habits is often very strong and the intent is clear, but as we get busy it can become difficult to keep our resolutions; this is why it is important to understand clearly why you are changing your eating habits. Whether it is an attempt to feel better day to day, prevent or manage noncommunicable diseases or to lose weight, it is very important to know why you are changing your diet because you will need that self-motivation on the rough days.

Start small

Complete change is very difficult to maintain when done too quickly. Jumping in too hard, too fast when creating healthy eating resolutions is one of the main reasons these resolutions fail. When considering healthy eating or even weight loss goals, make sure they are realistic. For example, moving from eating just about anything all your life to becoming a vegan on January 1 is a bit unrealistic. At the first busy day you will revert to old habits and the new year's resolution will be out the window. Start small by substituting some simple carbohydrates such as white rice for more complex carbohydrates like sweet potato, and adding more vegetables as you go along.

Eat right

This is possibly the tip that causes the most confusion as there are so many definitions of what it means to “eat right” and various dieting options to choose from. This is our definition: Eating “right” is less about what you eat and more about how you eat. We will never encourage anyone to consume an abundance of simple carbohydrates or junk food, however eating right can be a lot less complicated than we think. No matter what diet you choose, at least half of your meals should be fresh vegetables. Rearrange your portions, with your largest serving being vegetables regardless of what else is on your plate.

Plan ahead

As a newbie to the healthy eating journey, you must prepare for surprises. This means that before you get on with your day, you should already know what you will be eating. Not planning for lunch while on the road is the easiest way for you to eat whatever is available, which might not align with your new eating goals and throw off your plans completely.

Prepare food at home

Cooking is a key factor in managing our diets and cost is often a factor that deters us from continuing on our health journey; so by learning to cook wholesome meals at home, when time allows, the 'dieting' process becomes even more sustainable. Cooking also allows us to be more mindful about the foods we're eating while developing positive relationships with food as we take ownership of our choices.

Learn about food

Terms like glycaemic index, complex and simple carbohydrates and cholesterol should now be a part of your vocabulary. Know what these terms mean and that will help in your relationship with food. If you understand what high glycaemic index means and what health complications could result from consuming foods with a high glycaemic index, it will help when making decisions on what to eat and what to throw out.

Eating at the correct time

Snacking in-between meals and late-night movie snacking is very common and almost to be expected. The time we eat has a great impact on our health. Our bodies' internal processes, including metabolism, operate on a cycle which, when broken, can lead to long-term complications. When you disrupt your eating patterns it becomes difficult for your body to know when it can expect more energy (food), and so it stores excess energy in the form of fat, which can lead to obesity or other health complications.

Get a partner

Every journey is twice as fun when you take it with a friend so get a partner to take this new step with you. This way you will have someone to try new recipes with, cook with, hold you accountable, and motivate you when you feel you might revert to old eating habits.

Not Jus' A Salad is a Kingston-based health food brand which delivers healthy and affordable daily meals and nutrition guidance through its lunch subscription portal and natural foods via its online supermarket, Grociti.


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