It's coming up to that time of year again, where we have over-indulged over the holidays and we are starting to come up with our dreams for the new year. Usually health, health, fitness and weight loss will be in there at some point and inevitably some people are going to be looking at diets.
My inbox is full of questions from people about diets so I thought I would collate all my pointers here to help you out.
1. Make Smaller Incremental Changes Over a Longer Period of Time
Any diet that relies on heavy restriction for a short period of time is such as a very low calorie diet is not sustainable, can mess up your leptin levels and doesn't teach you good, healthy habits. There are so many meal replacement weight loss plans where people lose weight, but put it back on within 2 years because they couldn't keep up the strict regimen. It can also cause massive issues with the hormone leptin, which detects when your body is losing weight and sends signals to your brain when it detects severe weight loss.
In today's world, our hormones need as much help as possible, and trying to fool out bodies just doesn't work.
2. Focus on Nutrients Over Calories
So many diets focus on the amount of calories you are consuming, but not about what nutrients your body needs, not just as a minimum to get throgh each day, but the optimum you need to live a healthy and thriving life.
Think about a colourful plate of vegetables with all those different micronutrients, good quality fats and proteins. When you fill up on these foods, you naturally need a lot more of these foods to increase the calorie count. Foods high in calories, are often low in nutrients. So just start looking at what food you are eating and what benefits you get from it and you will get a sense for what can really help you.
3. Avoid Anything Low Fat
Fats are needed for making hormones. You need fats, but good quality fats such as coconut, olives and avocados are wonderful for periods, hormones and reproductive health.
When you restrict fats, you restrict yoru body's ability to make hormones. They are essential for the body to be able to use fat soluble vitamins, which are again essential for a fully working, healthy reproductive system.
4. Not ALL Carbs Are Bad
Whilst there are energy dense carbohydrates which offer little in the way of nutritional benefit such as any sugary foods, bread, pasta and potatoes, that doesn't mean all carbs are bad. Infact, we need a good intake of carbohydrates such as vegetables, beans, legumes and fruits which contain so many nutrients that our bodies need for micronutrient levels to remain optimal.
I hope these pointers are a useful start. I highly recommend that you seriously think about these points before starting any "diet plan".
If you want specific advice to you and your situation, I offer private 1-2-1 health coaching for women, I have a friend who currently has a discount on her online courses which I have seen the content for and is chock full of information on nutrition and lifestyle and how it helps with hormones. She currently has a sale but only throughout December 2015 so if you are interested, do take a look.
Whattever nutritional choices you make, remember that there is plenty of support out there on the internet these days and a number of unqualified people offering well meaning but not so great advice, especially on various social networks. So, do ensure that if you are outsourcing your health, that it is to someone who knows what they are talking about.
Wishing you a fantastic 2016.