Rhiannon Lambert's 5 Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle
Wondering how to get back on the bandwagon? We've got the girl to help. Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, author of Re-Nourish: A Simple Way To Eat Well, the former soprano turned believer in balance. To celebrate the release of her new book filled with delicious recipes and evidence based advice, she has shared her top tips for living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
No quick fixes
Quick fixes and short-term plans may sound exciting, creating hope and the idea of happiness in next to no time, but all they tend to do is give you just a glimpse of those dreams – until suddenly they don’t. Faddy diets are notoriously hard to maintain; what is more, although you may see some immediate weight loss, their impact on your mind and body in the longer term is not known.
Instead of wishing for overnight success, consider your path to healthy eating and an enriched mind and body as a journey, where a basic nutritional education is the key to taking that first step and staying on the right track. After all, if you don’t know how or why you’ve got somewhere, how can you expect to stay there? Knowledge is power, as they say.
Nutrients not numbers
Being aware of the calorie content in food has long been drummed into us and those who try to lose weight often use a total daily calorie intake as a guide to what they can and can’t eat. The thing is, calories really aren’t much more than a number and we shouldn’t be relying on calorie content to dictate what constitutes a healthy diet.
There is a bizarre concept that suggests that a calorie is a calorie; that its impact on our body is the same regardless of its form. Our bodies really are incredible things and our needs constantly change; by tracking calories or macros we are unable to keep up with and honour these daily differences, not to mention the fact that we are ignoring all the essential micronutrients we need to thrive.
Listen to your body
In my experience, too many people look to others to tell them what will work for their body instead of listening carefully to their own individual needs and instincts. No one is smarter than your own body when it comes to knowing what you truly need. Learning to listen to your body’s cues so you address its fundamental needs – free from emotion or habit – will enable you to quickly form a much healthier relationship with food.
Your body is equipped to know when you have had enough food so there’s no need to meticulously monitor every morsel that you put into it. It has built-in cues to tell you when to eat and when to stop eating. The practice of engaging all of our senses to guide our eating-related decisions is what I look to achieve with all of my clients. It really is empowering to eat intuitively.
Step off the scales
It cannot be denied that weight does offer us some useful measure, but weighing yourself too often can cause anxiety, distress and can even dictate your mood for the day. At worst it can even cause a spiral of deprivation, binge eating and low self-esteem. Instead try to focus on yourself and not obsess about any particular weight or number.
The human body is one incredibly complex piece of machinery. There are things going in and coming out; it’s transforming all the time. As a result, your weight can easily fluctuate over the course of a 48-hour period. If binning the scales is a step too far for you, just start by moving your weigh-ins to weekly, then fortnightly and then less often.
Every now and again, we all need some motivation to get us going. However, the higher the expectations you set, the greater the risk of stopping any plan within the first 12 months. Having realistic expectations increases your chances of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Vague goals of ‘losing weight’ or ‘eating more healthily’ do not work as well as the likes of ‘I will eat 5 portions of vegetables every day’ or ‘I will work out 3 times a week’ do. By creating goals that meet a specific criteria, you will significantly increase the success rate of achieving them and you may even get superior results.
Remembering exactly why you are making healthy choices will also help you stay on course. It really is helpful to make a list of specific reasons why you want to get healthier. Why not keep your list on your phone so you can check it whenever you need a quick boost to stay on track?