Congratulations to you all on completing our 8 week Change Your Health Direction Programme. It’s the end of the 8 weeks, but really it’s just the beginning of a new health direction for you all to follow right through the years ahead.
YOU are the ones who can make the most impact on being a healthier you, one meal at a time, one snack at a time, one workout at a time, one day at a time. It’s the start that stops most people and all of you have already leaped over that hurdle! Even losing a small amount of weight has health benefits.
The key to your success going forward will be that good old scout’s motto, “Be Prepared”. Take time to plan your meals in advance. This will help you to introduce variety, eat more nutritious, home-cooked food and rely less on convenience and processed foods, the bonus is that it will probably also save you money!! Win win!!
Prepare meals using mostly fresh ingredients and choose foods like fruits, veg (eg carrot sticks, celery, cucumber sticks) or a portion of unsalted nuts as snacks. Don’t forget the old recommendation to eat 5 portions of fruit or veg a day has now been changed to 8-10 portions per day so try to include fruit, veg or salad in every meal. Remember size matters, use the food pyramid as a guide for serving sizes. Learn to recognise hunger. If you’re not really hungry at meal times, just eat small portions.
Use healthier cooking methods. Boil, steam, dry-roast, grill, poach, stir-fry or bake food instead of frying it. Our Optima raw virgin coconut oil is a fantastic alternative to butter or cooking oil. Cut visible fat off meat and drain fat off meat and sauces when they’re cooked. Choose tomato-based sauces instead of creamy sauces. Home made soups are a great comfort food, freeze portions of it to have at short notice when needed. Base your meals on having plenty of vegetables and salad – covering half your plate every time.
You should aim to have a variety of colours on your plate at mealtimes and limit chips and takeaway foods as much as possible. Don’t forget the recipes we’ve suggested to you over the last two months are always available online on our blog.
To be healthy it’s not only about our food intake, you need regular physical activity also. It can be hard to motivate yourself so join a walking group, a neighbour, an exercise class, where you can encourage each other. Choose an activity, sport or exercise routine that you enjoy, this way you’ll be much more likely to stick to it. Remember to drink plenty of water, at least eight cups of water a day. Build your exercise level up gradually, ideally to 60 to 75 minutes of physical activity on 5 days a week but remember always ANY exercise is better than no exercise. You should try to aim for moderate intensity exercise which causes your heart to beat faster and brings a little sweat to your brow. You should be a little out of breath but still able to talk.
For those of you who have quit smoking don’t forget the benefits:
- Within 20 minutes of quitting your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
- One day later your risk of heart attack starts to fall.
- By day two your taste and smell improves.
- On day three breathing is easier and energy levels increase.
- Over the next three months your lung function increases, your circulation improves and risk of heart attack and stroke reduces.
- After one year your risk of heart attack is cut to half that of a smoker.
- Within 15 years, you will have about the same risk of heart attack and stroke as that of a non-smoker.
- And not forgetting you’ll have saved yourself a huge amount of money too!
We run the 8-week programme twice every year for anyone who wishes to participate, whether you’ve done it before or are a new face to us. Don’t be afraid to pop in to us in between each programme if you feel you need some motivation or have fallen off the bandwagon or even if you just want us to measure your BMI or have your blood pressure taken.
Wake up with determination because every day is a fresh start. It’s never too early or too late to work towards being the healthiest and best version of you.