Qualified Practitioner
Dr Ros Debenham MBChB MRCGP

Tips for long-term healthy eating

Adopting a healthy diet should not be overly restrictive or about becoming wafer thin – moreover the emphasis should be on feeling positive, being energised and stabilising your mood. We can often feel bombarded with nutrition advice and trend led diets that are really just short term solutions, instead of sustainable health and well-being.

1. Have a plan

Follow the 4 P’s; Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. If you are going to start eating healthily, you need to fill your fridge with good food. If you aren’t prepared and don’t have your meals ready for work and the week ahead, then you are going to start reaching out for the easy option and slipping back into old habits. This option usually comes in the form of take aways, ready-made meals or chocolate. By having lots of nutritious, natural and non-processed food at your disposal you are going to eat a lot better. This will lead to a much healthier lifestyle, which you will benefit from in so many different ways.

 

2.Are you the sort of person who can go ‘cold turkey’?

If not you should make small realistic changes to your diet that you can stick to over the long term. If you eat a chocolate bar every day you need to reduce this to once a week or at the weekend. If you have a take away 3 times a week you need to reduce this to just once. Making smaller changes first instead of trying to eradicate all of the bad things at once may make it more likely for you not to fail and go back to your old habits.

 

3. Do it with a friend

Make an agreement with somebody else to start trying to eat more healthily. If you do it with a friend then you are making yourself accountable to somebody else and you are less likely to give up on him or her than you are just yourself. Plus you can share healthy recipes, tips and ideas. If you need somebody to talk to they are in the same boat and both parties can offer each other encouragement and advice. Each year I do a month of strict dieting with 3 friends where we have a group message on our phones to ensure we all keep on track. If one of us does fall off the wagon you can be sure the others will let them know about it and get them back on track.

 

4. Don’t be scared of the word diet

You shouldn’t be scared of going on a diet. You shouldn’t even really be bothered by the word. Don’t go for the newest, latest, low calorie diet. Just make healthy changes to your eating habit (that’s what a diet is – your eating habits). We all know we could probably do with eating a lot more vegetables and non-processed food. If you stick to those simple rules then I guarantee you will stay on track and get the results you are looking for.

Image accreditation: Alan Clever via Flickr

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