Have a healthy start to the new year 2018

Enrich your mindset by counteracting every negative thought with a positive one, for a start

The New Year is here and like a number of resolutions that we have made, keeping a fitness goal should also be a priority.

Giving tips for a healthy start to a 2018, Dr Anita Das Gupta, Clinical Dietitian at Burjeel Hospital Abu Dhabi says that lose weight, exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet.

Interestingly, most of the people make new-year resolutions relating to health and diet, she says.

“Things like shopping smart and eating healthy can help us achieve our goals,” she adds.

Dr Lanalle Dunn, Founder of The Chiron Clinic in Dubai says that achieving personal balance is important too. “Prioritise goals and ask yourself ‘why’ achieving something is important,” she says.

Creating a quantifiable plan to achieve the goal is wise; for example “weight loss” is not actionable but “doing a yoga class twice a week and drinking more water daily” is specific and achieves the goal faster, she adds.

Weight loss is on almost everyone’s mind at this time of year. Exercise in a fun way and schedule a minimum of 30 minutes of movement per day.

“Too many of us sit for long hours which is now considered “the new smoking”! Exercise helps to reduce stress levels, releases feel-good hormones known as endorphins, and improves sleep patterns

Speaking of sleep – are you getting enough? Less than eight hours a day has been shown to contribute to obesity, poor memory, reduced resilience to stress and even lowered immunity.

“Take a look at the quality of your sleep and how you can improve your slumber to improve emotional, mental and physical health. Take a long bath before bed or drink a cup of chamomile tea as part of your sleep hygiene,” says Dr Lanalle.

Enrich your mindset by counteracting every negative thought with a positive one. Research shows that mindset and overall approach to life have significant impacts on our health and well-being.

“If you are struggling with emotional issues and need more guidance, this is the best time to make the commitment to seek a counsellor or psychologist. Deep breathing and meditation also go a long way to achieving a positive outlook,” she adds.

Check your environment. Does your personal space reflect serenity and organisation, or is it cluttered and chaotic? Your environment at work and at home influence your mood, and your mood and physical health will reflect the environment around you.

“Spending time in nature is restorative and buffers against stress so taking a walk at lunch time or getting a nice plant in your office space will help lift your mood.”

asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com

Top health tips

. Balance it out: The easiest way to maintain an ideal weight is to balance the calories we consume with our workout. Balancing calories means following a healthy diet that contains all the food groups, making sure it is colored and varied to avoid losing interest, and also giving your body all the important nutritional elements, such as vitamins and minerals.

. Organise your meals: Organizing your daily meals is very important for maintaining an ideal weight. It is recommended that you eat controlled quantities in all the three main meals. Skipping one meal will make you feel more starved and may cause you to eat a larger portion in the next meal. Light snacks (2-3 snacks) can be taken between the main meals every day.

. Eat light and eat right: Start your day with a minimum of a glass of water, warm water with lemon and honey will be good. Breakfast should include a bowl of oatmeal with nuts and a spoonful of flaxseeds; scrambled eggs with a piece of wholegrain toast, or muesli with yoghurt and berries. Lunch should include steamed, grilled, baked, roasted or sauted dishes. Dinner should begin with a light soup (no cream) or lentil soup and should always be a light dinner that has carbohydrates, protein and good fats.

. Snack it out: As mentioned before, eating a snack between your main meals can prevent you from overeating in the next meal. Therefore, you should make sure you eat some snacks during the day. The healthy snacks should be small meals, containing the nutritional elements that may be lacking in the rest of the meals. Examples of snacks are fresh or dried fruits, vegetable slices, such as carrots or cucumbers, raw nuts (unsalted – a handful) or milk (low-fat), and some dairy products or a dark chocolate (30 grammes) which is the amount allowed per person per day. Always remember that even if your options are healthy, do not take excess quantities of them.

. Eat slowly: Take time to savour every mouthful of your food – opt for smaller bites and chewing slowly. The brain takes around 15-20 minutes to realise that your stomach is full, meaning by dessert time you are unlikely to overeat.

. Eat the ‘good for you’ options first: Starting your meal with a bowl of clear broth or green salad will mean that you are fuller by the time you progress to the stuffed turkey and mashed potatoes and finally dessert.

. Shop smart: It is easy to get distracted by the unhealthy options available in abundance when you shop for groceries, especially if you shop on an empty stomach. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables. Low fat dairy or whole grains are a healthier alternative so fill your shopping cart with these. Also, use a natural sweetener that tastes just as good as refined, processed sugar in desserts.

. Plan wisely: When organizing a get together or going for a party, do not plan your menu around food choices that are heavy in cream based sauces or empty calories like in a casserole. Instead of the usual mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes grilled with a drizzle of olive oil is a yummier, healthier option. Rather than a deep fried chicken breast slathered in mushroom cream, grilled chicken with a side dish of fresh vegetable salad is a better choice.

. Hang out with friends at the park: Do not kill time in front of the TV after a large meal, put on your running shoes and head to the park with a friend. Play a game of badminton or just take a walk around inhaling some fresh air while catching up.

. Be mindful of beverages: Alcoholic drinks lessen inhibitions and prompt overeating and the non-alcoholic beverages are usually laced with added refined sugars. Instead drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day. You can flavor the water with cut up fruits, mint and lemon or preferred veggies – Tips by Burjeel Hospital

author

Asma Ali Zain

Associated with KT for 15 years. Covers health issues, Pakistan community, human interest stories as well as general topics for daily news or features.


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