The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution Diet (That Doesn’t Involve Dieting At All!)
With every New Year comes a new resolution, and the overwhelming winner is ‘losing weight’ or ‘going on a diet’. The problem is though, waking up on the 1st of January hungover, hungry and annoyed that you’ll be back at work within the next few days, isn’t the best start to the ‘new year, new you’ idea.
For those people who do make a start on the 2nd of January, the fad diet and exercising regime can dwindle away by February or March, and is usually completely on the wayside by Easter. The problem is, so many people go about it the wrong way. There are gym discounts and free introductions to fad diet programs around the New Year, but these are the kinds of options that tend to be dropped later on.
Changing your diet and becoming healthier is a lifestyle change that needs to be made as easy as possible for you, and one that you can stay motivated and excited about. It should make you feel happier and healthier, not weaker, starving or exhausted. Think about spending the rest of your life feeling the way you feel if you’re on a juice diet. It’s not going to happen, is it?
Becoming healthier and changing your diet can be an adjustment, and when we say it needs to be ‘easy’, that’s in the long-term. There are often teething problems and accidental binges that occur occasionally, but what you’re also changing is your attitude towards health and eating habits. Follow these three tips for a healthier New Year…
1. Eat What You Want
Surely we have your attention now, don’t we? A diet where you can eat what you want?! Start by asking yourself what you want to eat and how you want to feel. Most people would say they want to eat nourishing food that makes them feel good and healthy. If that’s the case for you, then you get to eat what you want! And you need to remind yourself of that if you are thinking about going in for that third or fourth biscuit. Am I actually hungry? How will it make my body and stomach feel after I’ve finished it? Will it make my yoga, gym or pilates class less enjoyable later on? Will I get a stitch while I’m out on my walk?
Changing your diet and health is a lifestyle change, not a military regime of calorie restrictions, which can lead to an unhealthy food obsession. Once you start thinking about what you’re eating throughout the day and how it will affect the rest of your day and how you feel, it will become easier to make healthy choices. And eventually, you won’t even notice it, because those temptations that were so hard to resist before won’t even seem like temptations anymore.
That’s not to say chocolate and other treats are off the table altogether. On the contrary, dark chocolate actually has some great health benefits, and can be a valuable part of a balanced diet. But chocolate, just like everything else, needs to be eaten in moderation.
2. Learn To Cook And Bake
One of the best things you can do for your health, diet, and ultimately, your waistline, is cook and bake your own meals and sweets so that you know exactly what is in them. It also gives you an opportunity to experiment with healthy supplements ingredients and allows you to get excited about food, rather than have an unhealthy relationship with it. By eating healthy homemade non-processed food, free from additives, you will already be eating in a more natural way, like your ancestors. It will cut out unnecessary fats and sugars, and encourage a balanced diet.
Take an online cooking or healthy baking course, or buy yourself a new cookbook and have some fun with your home cooking. If you are strapped for time, make some delicious homemade food and quick healthy sweet snacks in big batches and refrigerate or freeze some for busy midweek working days and nights.
3. Reward Yourself
It’s an age-old habit that often stems from your childhood – rewarding or comforting yourself with unhealthy food, like a take-away for dinner or a big fudge-filled chocolate cake. There are many reasons we tell ourselves it’s okay to reward or comfort ourselves with food, from dealing with a hard day at work or a tiring weekend to achieving something at work or finishing a project in the house. But if you start thinking about food as nourishment, not as a guilty reward or comfort, then you can phase that over-eating and food obsession out. Instead, think about other things you love. If you’ve had a physically tiring weekend and are a bit stiff and sore, why not treat yourself to a massage? It will be extremely rewarding, relaxing and will make you feel great. Or, if you’ve been stressed at work, a relaxing, rejuvenating facial can be a great treat. If you feel like a bit of a reward or comfort, you could treat yourself to a beach day, or a walk in the forest, or anything that makes you feel good. Maybe even a spa day, weekend away, or even a more adventurous treat like a bungie jump, if that’s something you’d enjoy.
These are great occasional rewards or comforts, but I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘yeah right, how can I afford that when a piece of cake is £5 and a take-away dinner is £10?’ But there are other reward or comfort options that can replace food, like heading to the beach or going for a forest walk. You could buy yourself something like a book or an album on iTunes, or rent out a movie that you think would be perfect for relaxing and unwinding. Spend a morning trying something in your local area that you’ve always meant to try, like a farmer’s market or museum. Plan your next big holiday and put £20 aside for it, which you can try to top up every week. There are endless options if you let yourself think about what a treat would be to for you, without having your food blinkers on.
Nuriss is a medical skin and wellness centre with two clinics in the heart of London. If you want to improve your nutrition in the New Year, take a look at our Health MOT program, which includes nutritional support, fitness programs and a GP check.