With each one of us setting up our own individual goals for 2023, MH caught up with Dr Richard Allison who is a nutritionist at Herbalife Nutrition in the UK and is head of nutrition at Tottenham Hotspur Women’s Team, former head of performance nutrition at Arsenal Football Club and a registered dietician with the British Dietetic Association. Here we unpacked reasons why you shouldn’t go on a diet in January.
New Year, New You, New Body!
‘’After a month of indulgence, many of us made a resolution to go on a restrictive diet. Cutting back drastically or hopping on a fitness trend to shed the kilos in a quick timeframe. As a nutritionist, I can tell that’s a bad idea.”
Short-term, drastic weight loss fixes don’t work and this all-or-nothing approach to January (one of the hardest months for many of us), is simply setting yourself up for failure. The result? You rebound and feel bad about ‘falling off the wagon’.
If you’re looking to lose weight and improve your well-being – that’s amazing. However, adopting a longer-term healthy eating strategy that you can maintain and keep consistent is vital. Think weight management, not weight loss and you’re there.
With this in mind, here are five small changes you can make to help you shift your wellness in the right direction:
Load Up On Veggies
Find innovative ways to help you increase your vegetable intake. By piling more vegetables onto your plate, you’ll feel fuller for longer while upping your vitamin intake. Add freshly made salsa to your morning eggs, chop veggies into your pasta sauce, swap rice for broccoli rice and experiment with cauliflower crusts.
Pack In The Protein
Protein is an amazing tool for weight loss. It plays a vital role in repairing muscles and helps you to feel fuller for longer – avoiding the risk of snacking on high-fat, high-sugar options. Including a high-protein food in every meal is a great step and eating it first can also help you avoid over-eating. For those who struggle to get enough protein, shakes are a great and convenient option to give you a boost.
Drink Water, Not Lattes
It’s so easy to sip endless cups of tea and coffee, especially if you’re in an office or working from home–special moments that can help us get through the day. However, these drinks can mean that you forgo drinking enough water– leading to dehydration. Why not swap your morning cup of caffeine for hot water and lemon? A simple swap that will refresh and cleanse your system. Make every second drink in the day a cup of water and you’ll soon reap the benefits of this enhanced hydration.
Have you fallen into the trap of saying you’ll hit the gym every day from 1 January? How long did that routine last? Exercise doesn’t have to be exclusively tied to a gym and, if you lead a busy life, you need to find smaller ways to move more that will help you keep in step with your health ambitions. Are you able to get off your train or bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the journey? Can you park at the far end of the work parking lot so you get in a few more steps? Could you go for a walk for 30 mins before work every day? Little changes make a difference.
Even a meal that’s ‘healthy’ can cause you to gain weight if you eat too much of it. Portion control is a seriously underestimated component of longer-term weight management. Buying products that are already pre-portioned for you is an easy way to stick to your goals. Choosing a smaller plate and always putting snacks into a bowl rather than eating them from the bag are simple swaps to help.
“I truly believe it’s time we resisted this constant invitation to reinvent ourselves. Rather we need to learn to have a healthy, functional and enjoyable relationship with both our food and bodies.”