Sunday, 10 January 2016

New Year Resolutions: Diets and Exercise

The ideas of diets, and particularly diets as a New Year's resolution, bothers me a little.


Well, your diet is simply what you eat.  We all have a diet.

There has to be a balance that is maintained as your way of life, rather than "trying to be good" which I hear people say as if it is a phase they are going through.

Your daily way of eating has to work for you. It has to reflect your day to day living.

There is no point trying to eat melon on a cold January morning before work, looking forward to a cold sushi pack for lunch, and eschewing potatoes because they are too carb heavy on a steak and greens dinner.  Yeah, I might lose weight but I'm not going to be happy.  Or warm. Or therefore healthy.

Meal planning plays a huge part in enabling a balanced diet, as well as saving your money and stress, as you can stand back and see the whole; switch things around to get that balance. I tend to have either porridge for breakfast, or a handful of walnuts because I don't usually want anything first thing. Lunch for me is salad with proteins or homemade pulse-vegetable soups, whichever, I have it with oatcakes - bread does bloat me too much but I'm not throwing the baby carbs out with the yeasty bathwater.  Then a fist portion of starch (my fist, not my husbands and not my five-year-old's) goes on my dinner.  I make sure high-fat dishes aren't an every day thing and are balanced out with naturally lower fat one-pots; the plate is filled out with greens or salad.  I often serve dessert nowadays; sometimes I have some, sometimes not, but if I do I have a portion akin to the smallest kids rather than piled high.  A snuggle down snack time is time for a cup of tea or, if I really feel the need for sweetness, a milky cup of cocoa.

Keeping active is just as important as the diet.  Eating a low fat high sugar yoghurt in front of Eastenders is no help whatsoever to balanced weight and health.  I get plenty of moving around and running after the kids plus household chores, as I am sure most parents do.  I also get plenty of outdoor walking in when I am visiting and attending groups around our hilly area.  I still need to make room for keeping on top of toning exercises....

On weekday mornings, I usually manage to get in 30 minutes of Yoga now the smallest one is big enough not to crawl across my throat when prostrate etc; the kids all keenly join in - we like Yolanda Pettinato's Simply Yoga DVD (the video is on YouTube but I'm not sure of the copyright there.) Then when I set the kids off on their morning maths, and the little one on her online learning games I try to get up to 30 minutes on the exercise bike (bought years ago, they are often offered on sites like Freecycle and Freegle).  Cycling on an exercise bike is undeniably boring so I watch Food Network on low volume, still able to help the kids with their numbers from my perch if they need me and without disturbing them.   Just like with the meal planning, it can help to timetable your own activities into the kids' schoolwork activities so that the visual reminder is right there on the wall.

I'm not saying I'm perfect by any means.  I occasionally eat too much. I sometimes grab a sneaky biscuit or two at community groups.  At Christmas, I put on a few pounds with all the lovely baking and sweet gifts, then as I go back to normal it eventually comes off again.  On the whole, it evens out.

How do you feel about "diets"?  How do you try to keep active and healthy within a busy schedule?

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