Striking the right balance for your health

Healthy eating choices
Healthy eating choices
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It’s easy to blame food manufacturers and packaging companies for the way they market their foods to us. However, here is the bottom line “You don’t have to eat it”

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve suggested healthier food alternatives to clients who want to lose weight, only to be greeted with resistance and a stubborn resolve to carry on eating the same processed foods in the same quantities.

I’m not going to tell you again about the dangers of being over weight and eating too much of the wrong foods and as a ‘Personal Trainer with a difference’ I’m certainly not going to let you think that I am ‘holier than though’ either. I do enjoy a glass of red wine and I am also partial to chocolate too. However, it is important to strike a balance if you want to look after your health and be able to move freely.

Have you gained weight over the last few years? It can be a gradual increase that is hardly noticeable but over a couple of years it is easy to notice the difference when you look back over some photographs. If you have gained weight over the last few (or more) years please don’t expect to get rid of it over the next couple of weeks. It has taken a while to put it on and it’s going to take a while to burn it off too!

Here are a few tips to help you along:

*Set yourself a realistic short-term target. When you reach that target, set another one.

*Eat healthily: Fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, pulses, fish and lean meat.

*Prepare your meals in advance to stop yourself from snacking on the wrong foods.

*Eat regularly (5 small meals a day) and drink plenty of water.

*Stand and/or walk wherever possible.

*Turn off the television and do something more active.

*Don’t rely on weighing scales but do use photographs of yourself to measure your progress.

*Reduce the packaged, processed foods to a bare minimum because the hidden fats and sugars will seriously hinder your progress.

*DO exercise regularly. Dog walks, golf or gardening don’t count unless you get out of breath and your muscles ache.

Of course, it is easy to attribute the weight gain to something that naturally happens with age. However, that isn’t true so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. What can happen with age though is added responsibilities, which often means longer hours at work and less time for sport. We don’t necessarily have to slow down as we get older but we do tend to become lazy when it comes to doing exercise. Wealth may play an important roll in weight gain too. As we become older we often become more comfortable financially. We allow ourselves those little treats’ (which of course we deserve) but those treats can turn into habit and before you know it we have gained weight!

I keep mentioning ‘weight’ as a measure but that is only because we have become conditioned to use weight as a means of determining how much fat we have gained or lost.

A much better measure is hydrostatic weighing (under water weighing to determine body fat composition) but that is impractical and very few people have access to a laboratory to do it.

Skin fold calliper measuring is much more convenient and very accurate.

When I’m asked which is most important (exercise or diet) my answer will always remain the same: ‘both’ are important.

However, when it comes to changing your body composition your diet is more important. If you are exercising for 8 hours a day but eating processed foods for every meal your progress will be very slow indeed. However, if you are exercising for 30 minutes a day and eating regular, healthily meals your progress will be rapid.

Put an exercise plan in your diary today and “Feel The Difference”

You can email martin@mandarinleisure.com or call me on (01526) 399121. You can also visit the website www.mandarinleisure.com or for a quick response you will find me on twitter @MANDARINLEISURE @MandarinFitness @MandarinMothers or Facebook MandarinLeisure