Top tips for a healthy New Year by nutritional therapist Lucy Grainge

News Shopper: Look after yourself in the New Year Look after yourself in the New Year

OVERINDULGING is as much a part of Christmas as presents and the tree, so it is no wonder that lots of us are looking forward to a healthy start to 2014.

Vibe tracked down nutritional therapist Lucy Grainge, who is based in Chislehurst and Canary Wharf, for some top tips.

1. Be realistic

The British Dietetic Association reckons the average Briton puts on 5lb over the Christmas period, but don’t be tempted to crash diet if this is the case for you.

Research shows that New Year resolutions including dieting fail in the first 6 days.

A realistic weight loss target for most people is 1lb a week – you didn’t put it all on overnight after all.

Focus on one thing at a time, for example challenge yourself to eliminate sugary foods and drinks from your diet rather than count calories.

If you want to lose a lot of weight or have other health conditions then a nutrition professional can design an effective weight loss plan to suit you.

2. Look after your liver if you have been drinking more than usual

Increase the amount of water and herbal teas you drink to eight cups per day. Milk thistle is a useful safe herb to help regenerate the liver.  Take 1-2 capsules per day.

Alcohol disrupts blood sugar and is toxic to the brain so take a break completely if possible for two weeks.  As well as helping you lose weight, you’re likely to sleep better and have more energy without it.

3. Can’t stop eating?

According to the British Dietetic Association the average person will have consumed 6000kcal of food and booze on Christmas day alone, and an extra 500kcals per day during the festive season.

If your tendency to overeat lasts all year round take action now: notice your triggers, write them down and create new habits to replace them.

A book that deals with emotional overeating is Lose Weight for Life by Claire Turnbull.

4. Don’t be SAD – lighten up

If you think you are one of the two million in the UK that suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD or winter blues) then invest in a light box.  Lack of daylight at the right times disrupts our circadian rhythms which control our appetite, energy and moods. See sad.org.uk for recommended manufacturers.

5. Check your Vitamin D

Low winter light levels in the UK means many of us are lacking in fatigue-busting Vitamin D by January – ask your GP for a test or order a finger prick test (£25) from vitamindtest.org.uk, provided by an NHS trust in Birmingham.

6. Get some help

If you’re serious about making positive changes to your diet and health, research shows you’re more likely to succeed with professional support.  Nutritional therapists specialise in providing tailored nutrition and lifestyle plans to help you achieve your specific health goals.  See bant.org.uk to find one near you.

Lucy Grainge, Nutritional Therapist in Chislehurst and Canary Wharf. Go to thefoodowl.co.uk

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