Weekly column by fitness expert Adam Wright for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
UNDERSTANDING energy balance is really important when it comes to losing or gaining weight but with regard to health separate from weight management here are a number of small things you could start trying today to help possibly improve your overall health… maybe try one?
Eating too much processed food: find whole food replacements for processed foods you eat at the moment and eat those instead. For example, an orange instead of orange juice, rotisserie chicken instead of chicken nuggets, porridge oats instead of cereal.
Not getting basic good nutrition: try to get a portion of protein at every meal (palm sized serving). Add two servings of fruit or veg per day. Take a multivitamin (this is to cover bases, not as a replacement for getting vitamins from real food).
Poor hydration/dehydration: drink a glass of water before and with each meal… at least. Not only will this help keep you hydrated, it’s also been shown to help reduce caloric intake and help people lose weight without even having to count calories. Usually more effort is needed for weight loss than just this but every little helps right?
Too much soda: switch to diet soda to, at the very least, reduce excess energy intake (calories) and maybe even eventually switch to sparkling water (constant sweetness can reduce sensitivity to sweetness making foods that would normally taste sweet less appealing. For example: fruit).
Not feeling physically satisfied by meals: add small amounts of fat (thumb sized portion) or portion of high fibre carbs (veggies). Eat slowly and chew thoroughly.
Can’t cook/lacking basic food prep skills: try one new recipe each week. Fire and forget recipes (short prep time, long ‘low attention required’ cooking time) are my preference (casseroles, stews, chillies). Recipes that allow you to prepare enough for a few days work really well too.
Lacking shopping skills: shop with a list. Read labels at the store… This can be about calories and energy balance again, or it can be about ingredients and how many additives are in/ how processed food is.
If any of them apply to you (and you’re not already working on something else) pick one and try to do it for a week.
Eating too quickly or while distracted: sit down, allow additional time, and remove distractions. If you watch TV while you eat, eventually you might find watching tv makes you want to eat… we’ve all been there, right? Eating too quickly can make it hard to recognise when you’re full… see next point!
Not recognising hunger or fullness cues: Eating when they’re not hungry and/ or not stopping eating when they’re physically satisfied will generally lead to a person having a less than ideal body composition and overall health. Keep a journal, write down how you feel (physically) before and after meals for a week. Are you actually hungry beforehand? How full do you feel after? Did you feel full during but kept going?
Irregular eating: set alarms to help with eating regularly. Plan ahead. Energy balance still applies, eating one giant meal doesn’t mean you can take in more calories than if you’d spread them out over the day. And on the whole this will probably result in questionable decisions (no one really goes “Gosh I haven’t eaten all day, better cook a healthy well balanced meal”).
Over eating: notice fullness (see above). Practice portion control. Use smaller plates.
Emotional eating: write down how you feel (emotionally and physically) before and after meals for a week. Sit with feelings for a few minutes before you reach for food. Create situations for positive feelings (read, draw, paint, write, dance, meditate, knit, build Lego) without relying on other people.
And if you have tips or tricks you use for dealing with these or any other detrimental eating behaviours please let me hear them. You can find me on Instagram or Facebook @AdamWrightPT or at AdamWrightPT.com