Healthy Living Direct: Dies, Yoga & Meditation
Health means different things to different people, but for most, being healthy means feeling physically, mentally and emotionally fit and able. It means being realistic and doing what works for you and your body, eating a balanced diet with wholesome foods, and enjoying the occasional treat when you feel like it. Everyone deserves to feel healthy, happy and confident. Regular exercise and eat a diet filled with wholesome, unprocessed foods will make you feel good.
Healthy Weight-loss Diets
Many weight-loss diets are accurate when they promise that you will lose weight fast, but the weight doesn’t usually stay off and the pounds are soon put back on again. Healthy weight loss means the weight will stay off. Since weight gain happens when we eat more calories than we need to have our bodies working like a well-oiled machine, weight loss means we should eat less and be more active.
To lose weight and maintain that weight loss healthily requires a permanent change to eating and exercise habits. Even small alterations can make a difference, from removing milk from your coffee, cutting back on sugary drinks and drinking less alcohol can help the pounds fall away. There are also plenty of ways to make physical activity part of your life without needing to pay gym fees or buy sports equipment.
Healthy weight loss diets aim to help you lose about 0.5-1kg (1-2lb) a week. On average a man needs to consume 2,500 calories a day to maintain weight and a woman about 2,000. Cutting back on 500 fewer calories will lead to a healthy, permanent weight loss.
There have been many diet programmes that promise to make you lose weight fast, whether it be through low carbing, detoxing or eating cabbage soup. Many of these can achieve dramatic weight loss, but when the diet ends, the weight returns. This is particularly true for crash diets where the intake of calories can be so low that you can feel unwell. Here are some other diet mistakes.
- Excluding foods
- Low-carb equals high fat diets
- Detox diets
- Fad diets
Some diets recommend that you stop eating a particular food group. It might be meat, or wheat or dairy products. Removing a food group creates an imbalance in the nutrition you need in the form of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to work at its best. You don’t need to cut out food groups to lose weight.
Low carbohydrate diets, such as the Atkins diet, are low in pasta, rice and bread which are good sources of energy. These diets can often be high in fats and proteins, which can make you feel unwell. Carbohydrates are usually replaced by cheese and meat which raises cholesterol which may lead to heart problems and stroke. Also, low-carb diets can cause bad breath, headaches and constipation.
Detox diets do not work because there is no evidence that toxins build up in our bodies. These diets just restrict calories, cut out certain foods and are really just a form of fasting.
Cabbage soup, blood group, the 5:2 diet and other fad diets often have little evidence to back up the claims they make about living longer and healthier. If you follow so-called fad diets for a long period of time, the unbalanced nutritional intake negatively impacts on health. You may lose weight in the short term, but it's much better to lose weight gradually and to be healthy.
Yoga & Meditation
Science has shown that the mind and body benefits from taking time out of your daily life to shut down and meditate. The benefits of meditation are endless, but mantras for anxiety or sinking into deep relaxation with yoga will help you feel centered. Many styles of yoga combine meditation with movement and controlled breathing throughout the yoga positions.
- Stress Management
- Increased Flexibility
- Emotional Boost
Regular yoga practice has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. This makes it beneficial for those living with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease as well and other stress-related conditions. Meditation also helps in reducing conditions related to anxiety.
By stretching and lengthening muscles in yoga positions, you can become more flexibility, able to move without aches and pains. Many athletes use yoga as part of their training.
Both yoga and meditation improve mental well-being. Many yoga disciplines have a positive philosophy that helps you feel happy, peaceful and upbeat. Meditation provides an emotional boost through deep relaxation. Wherever you are, taking a 10-minute meditation break by simply shutting your eyes, focus on relaxing your muscles and practice deep breathing will have good results.
Healthy Food Recipes
Following a healthy diet does not have to be complicated. You can make your favourite recipes healthier in very simple ways:
- Less sugar
- Added fibre
- Soups and stews
- Replace to reduce
If frying, use a good non-stick pan and dry fry. If the food is drying out, add a little water. Olive oil is a good, poly-unsaturated fat but use less than a recipe suggests.
Dried fruit can provide all the sweetness you need in fruit scones and tea breads. You can remove half the sugar in a recipe without affecting the taste.
Increase the fibre content of your diet by using brown alternatives of rice, pasta and bread. These will make you feel fuller for longer. Mix wholemeal and white flour when baking. Top pie dishes with mashed potato instead of pastry.
Replace some of the traditionally fatty meats with pulses like peas, beans and lentils to reduce the amount of fat and calories whilst raising fibre levels.
Replace cream and whole milk with skimmed versions and yoghurt. Use low-fat yoghurt and fromage frais instead of cream, double cream or Greek yoghurt, though fromage frais is not suitable for cooking.