Cathal Barry offers advice on choosing the right food
Yo-yo dieting is a notoriously seasonal fad. People’s weight patterns tend to go up and down as the seasons change. It’s a matter of fact, but it doesn’t have to be.
Now the holidays are over, people are already beginning to let their summer slimming diets slide, safe in the knowledge that their hard earned beach bodies will not be revealed again until sometime next year.
Those who opt to add an additional layer of insulation for the cold winter months rarely realise the detrimental effect it may have on their health, especially considering the vast majority fail to lose all they put on during that period in time for summer. Even those who try their best to keep the weight gain at bay often still fall short, giving into temptation and over-indulging at Christmas. It all piles up.
However, optimal health is achievable; it just requires a little bit of balance. And that begins with nutrition. So next time you head to the shops, keep it simple – everything in moderation.
Fill your trolley with lots of leafy greens, and throw in some fruit for colour. Eating vegetables provides health benefits – people who eat more vegetables and fruits are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables also provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
Then head for the meats – plenty of lean cuts with some chicken and fish for good measure. Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein, and it is also an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Carbohydrates have been almost criminalised by many modern diets. Rather than cutting them out, try switching to healthier alternatives. Swap that slice of toast for a bowl of porridge, replace the pasta with wholegrain rice and switch spaghetti for a wholesome Irish spud.
Fat has also got a bad rap in recent years. However, it’s important to remember that dietary fat does not equate to bodily fat if eaten as part of a healthy and balanced diet. So, stock up on plenty of avocados, nuts and extra virgin olive oil while you’re there.
One good rule of thumb is to avoid processed foods. Some tinned and packaged goods are ok, but nowhere near as nutritionally dense as fresh whole foods. Remember, covering up with winter coats and cardigans can buy the procrastinators some time, but those serious about their health will realise their weight is something that must be monitored all year round.