It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to feel and look good. By having a healthy natural look, you will project more confidence and energy. Do ensure that every meal you have includes each of the basic food groups, namely carbohydrates, protein, fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals, drink at least 8 glasses of water and try to have some 6 to 8 hours of sleep every day.
Here are some Good Eating Habits that have helped me:
- Cut back on fat, fried and oily food.
- Take less sugar and salt.
- Get Fresh! Aim to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, which are also rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Take only the required nutritional supplements, which can be checked with a dietician or your doctor.
- Reduce your intake of red meat, choose lean sources of protein like poultry without skin, fish and soya products.
- Drink more water and cut back on caffeine, carbonated drinks and alcohol.
- Cut down on eggs, red meats and seafood as such food can increase your cholesterol level.
- Try to eat regularly, but in smaller amounts.
- Cut back on saturated fats, mainly found in animal products such as meat fat, poultry skin, full cream milk and milk products, butter and ghee.
Think Healthy Choices
Red meat, sausages, salami, luncheon meat, canned / processed food, goose, fatty meats, tripe and brain
|Trim off fat from meats like lean pork from which fat has been trimmed, chicken without skin, duck without skin, very lean mutton, turkey, veal, rabbit, tofu cakes, vegetable based dishes|
|Prawns, fish roe, crabs, squids, lobsters, mussels||Oysters, scallops, white fish, tuna canned in brine|
|Milk, dairy products, cheese, eggs, coconut milk / cream||Skimmed milk, low fat yoghurt, low fat cheese (cottage cheese), eat the egg white only|
|Butter, margarine||Olive oil, low fat spreads, poly unsaturated margarine|
|Polished rice, white bread, cakes, processed cereals||Unpolished or brown rice, pasta, oats, bran, whole-grain cereals, wholemeal bread, dried fruits, peas, legumes, sweet corn, unsalted nuts|
|Thickened and creamy soups||Clear and vegetable soup|
|Salad dressings, mayonnaise, salad cream||Low fat dressings, pepper, mustard, herbs, spices|
|Sweets, chocolates, creamy pastries, desserts, snacks, white sugar||Snack on high fibre, unsweetened muesli bars, carrot sticks, celery sticks, fruits, honey|
|Aerated water, coffee, tea, alcohol||Low fat milk or milk drinks, fresh fruit juices, mineral water with low sodium content|
|Animal fats like lard, beef tallow, dripping, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil for cooking||Corn, canola, olive or soya bean oil|
|Light sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, soup cubes, salt or MSG for seasoning||Garlic, onion, ginger, spices, herbs|
|Deep fried, fried||Stir fried with little oil, grilled, steamed, roasted, poached, soup based or stewed, baked|
|Chocolate biscuits, wafers, fat-rich cookies, cookies with cream-fillings||Oatmeal, low fat cookies|
|Some types of crisps, chips, cheese balls, cheese sticks||Microwave-able popcorn, without salt, butter or oil|
|Full fat ice cream||Low fat ice cream or yoghurt|
|Sweets||Honey nut crunch bars|
Avoid crash diets, liquid diets, starving, weight loss pills or any fad diets as you may lose weight initially, but it is mainly water and muscle loss. This may cause your metabolism to be lowered and hence when you return to a normal diet, your body takes a longer time to burn up the calories, thus you may put on more weight and the fat content in your body has not changed or may have increased.
Remember: do not skip breakfast or starve yourself. At the same time, do not eat more than necessary; know the difference between real and fake hunger pangs, and also between eating enough and overeating. Never wait till you are very hungry to eat as you may eat more than needed, so try to eat slowly. If you keep yourself busy, then you will not think of munching or snacking. If you must, have a fruit or health bar. Drink your coffee or tea without or with less sugar. Also avoid temptation, do not stock up on munchies or shop on an empty stomach.
You can lead a healthier lifestyle by starting to exercise at a low level if you have not exercised in a while. Gradually build up activity but choose an exercise you like or enjoy doing. Do wait for a couple of hours after eating before you start exercising and drink lots of water after each workout. Do not feel discouraged if you do not see results for at least a month, or if your weight plateaus after a time.
You can also incorporate more activity into your life by walking whenever you can, climbing stairs instead of using the lift or escalator, using an exercise bike when reading or watching TV, by doing housework with vigour, taking a stretch from your desk whenever you can, go dancing and spend a lot of time on the dance floor….
The benefits of exercise are well documented. We know that our blood circulation will get better and we will look fresher, our skin gets stronger and more resistant to wrinkles, our muscles, bones and joints will be more supple and our stamina will build up and we will not get breathless easily.