5 steps to a happier body
You’ve probably worked out that diets don’t work (or rather your body has worked it out for you, over the years!). So what’s next? Follow these steps to food you love, create your own personal eating plan, and make small, do-able, healthy food changes that will last forever.
Think: what works for me?
If you’ve tried a lot of different diets, it’s time to get real, says nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik. ‘Some of my clients have done so many diets, they’ve ended up cutting out everything, so they’re barely eating any food. Eating well shouldn’t be another hard thing on your to-do list, or it becomes overwhelming.’
Sounds like you? Don’t think about following a diet, or your diet having a label, instead think about personalisation, says Eve. What suits you won’t suit a friend: in a recent study, published in the scientific journal Cell, people eating exactly the same food had widely different blood sugar levels as a result. These are the four food questions you need to ask yourself: ‘what actually works for me? What fits with my life? What’s right for me? And finally, what am I going to keep on doing?’
Be inspired the right way
‘Be mindful of who you follow on social media,’ says Pilates expert, Hollie Grant. ‘Make sure they’re valuable to you and give you ideas for exercise rather than just putting up pictures of their abs. You want the ones who inspire you, not body shame you.’
Do foodie experiments
While you’re looking for a way of eating that’s going to last for life, it’s going to take some recipe tryouts to find a) cooking you can fit into your life, b) ingredients that suit your body and c) food you actually enjoy eating.
Get recipe inspiration online, too. Once a week, buy the ingredients for a completely new dish. ‘As well as Instagram accounts of people like @GreenKitchenStories, check out healthy foodie apps too, like Deliciously Ella,’ says Eve.
Friends Daisy Payne and Leah Garwood-Gowers of raw confectionary company The Hardihood started experimenting with recipes for raw, refined sugar-free desserts, which turned into their business, because they couldn’t find sugar-free desserts for themselves. ‘We are self taught, so was all about trial, trial, trial,’ says Daisy, ‘It’s really fun to experiment in the kitchen.’ Her business partner Leah agrees: ‘If you try making raw, the great thing is it will always taste delicious. When we first started, making cheesecakes [out of raw nuts] was our nemesis because they would never set. But it was still a really delicious mousse!’
Eat every bite
Make sure your body registers every bite you eat. ‘Chewing is a basic way to kick-start digestion,’ says Eve. It also helps to make fullness hormones kick in earlier. Eve learnt to chew every mouthful 20 times at the Viva Mayr Clinic in Austria, a medical spa that’s known for specialising in gut health. Chewing this much, she says, will feel weird at first. ‘But now it’s second nature, like I know the sensation of my food being properly chewed before I swallow it.’
Kit out your kitchen
Make your kitchen a centre of health by investing in equipment and making food in big batches.
‘If you’re making smoothies every day, it may be worth buying an expensive blender. If you’re just starting out, a cheaper one will get you into the habit,’ says Eve. There’s now a spiraliser shaped like a big pencil sharpener, so doesn’t take up much room. Eve recommends a ceramic knife – ‘they don’t oxidise vegetables as they cut’.
Do a big cook-up on a Sunday – for example a soup or stew, some brown rice, a few trays of roasted vegetables, a roast chicken, some lentils. For a quick meal or packed lunch, mix with some freshly chopped vegetables, green leaves and dressing.