As 2018 gets underway, a Glasgow-based food and diet expert is offering her top tips for how people can hit their health goals over the year ahead.
The most important step, according to Corfu-born Dr Katerina Vasilaki – The Mediterranean Dietitian – is to stop focusing on the number on the scales and instead shift your goals to creating healthier long-term lifestyle habits.
Dr Katerina, who set up her own food and health blog in 2015 to inspire people to adopt the Mediterranean diet and way of life, told Glasgow Live: “In recent years there has been a huge and growing focus on what our bodies look like, making way for an unhealthy increase in fad diets for short-term weight-loss.
“Unfortunately, these diets do not help us long-term, and extreme diet rules have been linked to an increased risk of developing an eating disorder.
“This January I am challenging my clients to do something different by bringing more long-lasting change in their diet and activity habits.
“January is a great month for new beginnings and for pursuing resolutions. Take responsibility for your health and choose to make some long-term healthy habits.
If you are struggling, remember to ask for the help of your registered dietitian, a regulated health professional who will give you individualised advice, nutrition information, recipes and menus to help you reach your health goals in a scientific and evidence based way ”
So here’s Katerina’s top five tips to get fit and stay healthy in 2018.
Start a food diary. This can be handwritten, electronic or you can use an app to record everything you eat and drink in as much detail as possible. Be honest with yourself but also be kind and non-judgemental.
At the end of each day take a minute to reflect on what choices were helpful and which were not and what you can do the next day to improve it.
Avoid short-term fad diets. Yes, you may lose weight, but you will almost certainly gain it all back and maybe some more too. Instead, focus on adopting positive and long-term habits – these could be avoiding skipping meals, cooking from scratch most days, learning how to read food labels or eating less red meat.
Increase your exercise. Being physically active can bring amazing health benefits. This doesn’t mean you have to join the gym – instead find an activity you can see yourself doing most days of the week, start slow and keep at it.
If you’re not sure what to do try taking a brisk walk for 60 minutes most days.
Get motivated to adopt your new healthy lifestyle by involving a friend, spouse or even your kids. You’re more likely to go out and walk or try a new recipe if someone else wants to do it with you too!
If you’re not sure where to start with a healthy eating plan, speak to a registered dietitian (RD) or a registered nutritionist (RNutr). Nutrition is a complex issue and there are so many mixed messages in the media so it is not fair for you to struggle on your own.
A regulated health professional will give you individualised advice, nutrition information, recipes and menus to help you reach your health goals in a scientific and evidence based way.