5 steps for improving your diet and health
Individuals have their reasons for becoming and remaining overweight or obese. The first step is to understand the reasons for gaining weight; including any medical reason as well as behavioural and lifestyle contributors. Therefore, my approach is creating a personalised plan based on the individual’s physical, nutritional and behavioural characteristics.
A detailed history and investigation, like a blood test, will uncover underlying medical reasons that can contribute to weight gain, which may discover
A detailed history and investigation, like a blood test, will uncover underlying medical reasons that can contribute to weight gain, which may discover:
- Underactive hypothyroid
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Medications such as steroids
- Stress and anxiety
- Low mood and depression
- Sleep problems
- Vitamin D deficiency
Keeping a detailed food diary will help to pinpoint the behavioural factors. It involves keeping track of not only what you eat but when, where, and with whom you eat and how you feel at the time. By monitoring it, a pattern will emerge and you will be aware of the relationship between certain situations, feelings or people that trigger eating.
The next step is the ‘Change phase’. Contrary to common belief that “eat less and exercise more” is the way, weight management requires more than merely balancing energy in and out. The physical environment and social circle, and healthy sleep hygiene must also be considered. You don’t need the willpower to resist temptation; you need skill power. You need to learn new skills for stress management and to cope with emotions without food; developing problem-solving skills to overcome situations that trigger eating are essential.
At the New You Slim Clinic, we believe a holistic approach is key for permanent weight loss. Diet, exercise and behavioural changes are all required for a real sustainable result. Forming new healthy habits are real lasting changes that stay with you for the rest of your life. It’s all about creating a new normal, whether it is a new way of eating, exercise, sleep or relaxation, and coping with uncomfortable emotions.
Follow the 5 steps below for improving your diet and health…
- Keep a detailed food diary, writing down what, where, when, and with who do you eat and your feelings at the time. The point is to learn about yourself and then use that self-awareness to make changes.
- Be aware of your feelings anytime that you eat. Ask yourself: What am I feeling? What do I need and how can I fulfil that need without stuffing my face with food? Do I need to take a break, or a nap? Do I feel bored? Am I lonely? Am I sad or stressed? Understand your hunger and differentiate your physical hunger from emotional hunger and cravings. Make a sign on your fridge door that says STOP with a checklist under it.
- Find a substitute: If you are eating in response to stress or out of boredom or loneliness, find a substitute. Exercise, like walking, can be a good substitute for eating and proven to have calming effects. If loneliness is your trigger, find people who you enjoy spending time with or activities that you like. The possibilities are endless: make dates with friends or family, join a meetup or club that focus on your interests, enrol in a class, learn a new skill, start a hobby, volunteer, …
- Eat real whole food from plants and animals. How much of your food is coming from a package and made in a factory with a long ingredient list? Have protein with each meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Healthy eating requires planning and preparation: Plan and prepare meals and snacks in advance to take with you. Also prepare meals and put them in the freezer. Know the restaurants that offer healthy choices. Do not store the foods and snacks that you want to avoid at home, office or your car. Having a supportive environment is half of the battle.
- Incorporate movement into your life: You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. Exercise is essential for your health and wellbeing, but you cannot compensate your bad nutrition with exercise, which is another common mistake. Exercise doesn’t have to be core sessions in a gym. Do the exercises that you enjoy. Change it to fun and play. Dancing, cycling, yoga or just walking. Exercise provides the following benefits:
- Controls the appetite
- Improves the mood and sleep
- Gives you more energy
- Prevents diabetes, heart disease and cancers
- Improves the immune system and reverses the aging process
Who is Dr Samira Yousefi?
Dr Samira Yousefi is the founder of the New You Slim Clinic and the author of the upcoming book “Diet Peace”. Diet Peace is the result of years of research and training to design a simple, yet effective programme to lose weight permanently and restore self-confidence and zest for life.
Dr. Samira helps individuals by creating a personalised plan based on their nutritional, physical and behavioural characteristics. She guides her clients to gain deeper self-awareness, discover the causes behind the problem and make positive changes. Her slimming treatment was the finalist for the “Best Non-Surgical Makeover” at the My Face My Body Consumer Awards 2014.
As a public speaker, Dr Samira is passionate to educate health professionals and the public to understand the obesity epidemic and how to tackle this problem.