It’s Australia’s Healthy Weight Week this week (15-22 February 2016). This week is run by the Dietitians Association of Australia, and it’s all about helping people who want to be a healthy weight get the right advice and support.
I don’t know about you, but it’s about now that I start to lose all interest in my healthy goals for the year, and start having a bit more wine, a few more meals out, and far too much home made pizza (yum!). Having said that, last weekend I stepped on the scales for the first time in a long, long time. All I’m going to say is IT IS NO WONDER MOST OF MY CLOTHES DON’T FIT. Sigh.
A consumer survey a few years ago showed that 52% of Americans find it easier to do their own tax than to work out what they should eat to be healthy. And those who are most in need of healthy eating find it the most difficult to work out what is what. I expect an Australian survey would find similar results. As ridiculous as this is, it pains me to admit that I am not surprised, given all the “diet” information out there.
Please note that when I say “diet” I don’t mean going on a diet. By diet I mean what you eat. What your daily/weekly/monthly etc diet is. As in the food you select to consume. Not a fad diet that has you eating nothing but cabbage soup for a month. Although I did once try the cabbage soup diet. I lasted 3 mouthfuls. Bleugh.
Google “healthy diet” and the first page comes up with ads for Lite ‘n’ Easy, Weight Watchers, vitamin pills, as well as a number of “diet plans” from organisations including CSIRO and the Heart Foundation. There is also the ubiquitous Wikipedia entry. Google “diet” and you get a whole load of rubbish. And don’t get me started on the good old detox diet. That’s a rant for another blog post.
So what is the Healthy Weight Week about? In 2016 it is about encouraging people to cook at home more often. Research shows that people who prepare food at home are more likely to eat smaller portions and take in fewer kilojoules as well as less fat, salt and sugar. And in turn, this is more likely to result in a healthy weight.
If you’re not sure where to start then check out the Healthy Weight Week website. It has loads of useful and practical information, as well as a heap of recipes, on healthy eating.
Also, have a listen to the podcast I recorded with Julie Goodwin, over on The Activity Pod. We talk about the trend of eating out more and cooking less, and how to be more organised so you can cook more at home. We also talk about how you can encourage your kids to cook.
Why is this important to me? Well, with my next birthday (which is very, very soon) I will be closer to 50 than 40. Yep. Scary but true. And I do not want to be overweight, unhealthy, and at an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes or any other horrible disease that will potentially shorten my life. I love my life and I want it to continue for at least another forty years.
So, I know you’re all keen to know what I’m going to do so I don’t have to go and spend a fortune on new clothes (have I previously mentioned how much I dislike shopping?). These are my healthy living actions. Some are new, some are refreshed. None are a stranger to me. I’ve just slipped a
little lot in recent years.
- eat at least one serve of fruit and/or vegetable with every meal. Yes, including breakfast
- make plant based food the bulk of the food I eat
- eat more nuts
- eat less sugar (not difficult – I don’t eat a lot)
- don’t eat cheese with every single meal
- pay attention to portion size – this is a biggie for me. Especially when pasta is involved. Or pizza. Or bread.
- listen to my body – if it’s full, stop eating. If it reacts badly to a particular food, don’t eat it again.
- eat out (in a cafe/restaurant) a MAXIMUM of three meals a week – I used to eat out 10-12 meals a week, an excellent tactic if you are looking to gain weight.
- drink mostly water – I already do this, but there are definitely days when I don’t drink it enough – hello headache
- have at least three, but preferably four, alcohol free days a week, and don’t drink too much on the days I do have alcohol
- walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day – walking meetings anyone? This tends to mean I go for a 45-60 min walk every day. Which is an excellent reason to listen to more podcasts (I’m currently devouring all of Osher Gunsburg’s podcasts – some truly excellent guests)
- do a minimum of two weights sessions at the gym each week, ideally three (and I will schedule these in my diary every week)
- go to bed at a reasonable time so I get at least seven hours sleep at night (and ideally eight)
- move every 35 minutes so I don’t get too stiff
- laugh every day – this one is easy given The Accountant makes me laugh all. the. time.
So, what are your tips and tricks to eat healthy? And to have an overall healthier life? How often do you cook at home? What are your favourite meals to make?