Diets don’t work… at least not in the long term. You may what are healthy eating habits for weight loss in a short period of time, but eventually, the weight creeps on again and you’re back to square one.
According to life coach and weight loss guru Pete Cohen, “People go back to what they know. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, there’s a lot more to it than what you eat.
So if diets don’t work, how do you lose weight?
Don’t do what everyone else is doing, or follow the current trendy diet; work out your own path and find a system that works for you.”
Healthy eating habits for weight loss
There are literally hundreds of reasons why people get overweight. And those reasons are different for all of us. “You might eat when you’re stressed, bored, or depressed,” explains Pete.
You might not be very active, you might eat too much of a particular type of food, eat too fast, or your stress levels might be so high you inhibit your ability to burn fat.
Or it may be all of those things. You need to work out why you’re overweight and what you can do about it.”
Action steps in healthy eating habits for weight loss –
1- Try a little soul searching. How do I feel about my weight? What’s got me to this point? What are the triggers that cause me to eat? Be honest with yourself.
2- Then imagine the consequences of doing nothing. Picture yourself in 10 years’ time… really visualize what you might look like and how that will affect your mobility, lifestyle, and health.
Then do the opposite – picture yourself fit, healthy, mobile, and with an active lifestyle. Which image do you like most?
3- A food diary can be a powerful tool to raise awareness and pick up patterns about your healthy eating habits for weight loss and emotions.
Don’t just write down what you eat, but record why you’re eating (bored, stressed, hungry – are you really hungry?) and your feelings at the time.
Then look for patterns and triggers, and work out what you can do to change.
4- Then make a list. What are your reasons for losing weight? You need reasons to make it real. Make a list and think carefully about what it is you want and why. The longer your list, the more compelling it will be.
5- Then work out the best course of action. “I encourage people not to do too many things at once,” says Pete, “but just to change two or three things.
Stick to it, master it, and then move on. Focus on positive ‘I can do’ steps rather than negative ‘I must stop’ changes.”
Are you really hungry?
Get in tune with your hunger and satiety by using a hunger scale.
PETE’S TOP TIPS
It won’t be easy, so be prepared and work out what you need to make it work You need to take personal responsibility – hold yourself accountable.
The only person who can do this is you. Write down what you’re going to do – get it scheduled. Get it done. Don’t feel overwhelmed.
Focus on the actions that work out what you can do to change. Then make a list.
What are your reasons for losing weight?
You need reasons to make it real. Make a list and think carefully about what it is you want and why. The longer your list, the more compelling it will be.
Then work out the best course of action. “I encourage people not to do too many things at once,” says Pete, “but just to change two or three things. Stick to it, master it, and then move on.
Focus on positive ‘I can do’ steps rather than negative ‘I must stop’ changes.” not the outcome. Instead of a “lose 10 lb by Christmas” goal, target the small changes that will get you there.
You need support, so get a buddy. Online groups work well where you can support and encourage each other.
Your changing nutritional needs
Getting the right nutrients and vitamins as your body’s requirements change is crucial, so let’s take a look at what you need…As we get older, our bodies, and our nutritional needs, begin to change.
We need to make sure we’re getting the right nutrients and in the correct amounts. ‘Age-specific’ nutrients include Vitamin D, Calcium, Vitamin B12, Iron, and Magnesium.
If you change healthy eating habits for weight loss; you eat less or snack more, your body may not get the right balance of these essential nutrients. You may need to consider supplements or fortified foods.
Get advice from your GP or a registered dietician. See BDA.ORG. In the presence of sunlight, our skin can produce the vitamin D we need, but 70-80% of the population may be deficient in this important vitamin. B12 is a vital vitamin as we get older, too.
Nutrition priorities in healthy eating habits for weight loss-
We have an abundance of nutritional information at our fingertips. The advice can be found online, in books and magazines, but it can be conflicting and overwhelming, often leaving us confused about our diet and the choices we should make.
The expert opinion also seems to change rapidly: is high fat and low carbs better, or should we eat low fat and high protein, And what exactly does that mean for our day to day lives.
There’s no doubt, however, that our diet plays a very important role in our health and prevention of disease, not to mention providing optimum fuel for activity.
The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that around 38% of all cancers could be avoided through lifestyle changes, so eating habits a healthy diet has never been more important.
As we age, our nutritional requirements change too, and we must make sure we eat the right foods of the best, freshest quality if we can – and reduce our intake of processed food.
Our metabolism naturally drops as we age; we lose muscle mass and may become more sedentary, so we need fewer calories. If we don’t change our diet or our activity levels; or both, we can easily put on weight.
Over the article below, we’ll take a look at some of the more important nutritional concerns for older people including vitamin D, calcium, vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, protein, and iron as well as showing you how to achieve a balanced diet.
We hope to dispel some nutrition myths and provide up-to-date advice, top tips, expert comments, and recipes. Eating a healthy diet is vital for our wellbeing and the prevention of disease.
But we don’t just eat for health. Food is an important aspect of social interaction and pleasure too. So keep things in perspective and aim for a sensible balance.
1- Vitamin D.
Known as the sunshine vitamin, is important for overall health, immunity, and healthy bones, and one of the most topical vitamins in nutrition and health at the moment.
“Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is important for overall health”
It’s also important to aid calcium absorption. We get very little vitamin D from food, but our body makes it when we have exposure to sunlight.
A lack of vitamin D has been linked to Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, depression, and SAD. Signs of deficiency are vague but may include tiredness, general aches and pains, and depression.
Experts estimate that 70-80% of the population may be deficient in vitamin D. If you’re housebound, don’t spend much time outside, or are over the age of 70, you may be more at risk.
If you think you might be deficient or at risk, ask your GP for a blood test to check your vitamin D levels. More information at vitamindcouncil.org.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and found mainly in oily fish and some fortified cereals. It’s unlikely you’ll meet your vitamin D needs through diet alone. Try DLux oral spray by betteryou.uk.com and aim to get outside in the sunlight as much as possible.
2- Vitamin B12
B12 is found in animal foods such as meat, eggs, milk, fish, and poultry, as well as fortified cereals.
It’s important for the maintenance of a healthy nervous system function and vital for memory, cognitive function, and other neurological processes.
Even though a deficiency is rare, it’s thought that our ability to absorb vitamin B12 may be impaired as we get older due to a decrease in the production of stomach acid. Vegetarians may struggle to get enough in their diet and could require a supplement.
Breakthrough research from the University of Oxford published in October 2013 suggested that B12 supplementation may reduce the rate of brain shrinkage, a symptom associated with memory loss and dementia,
This could turn out to be a significant finding for the future treatment of Alzheimer’s. Try Vitamin B12 oral spray from www.betteryou. uk.com. Consult your doctor, dietitian, or a medical professional before taking vitamin supplements.
Reports suggest women with high calcium levels are at twice the risk of dying from heart disease, so it’s important to get your facts on calcium straight.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body and vital not only for strong bones and teeth, but for several critical functions including vascular contraction, muscle function, nerve transmission, and hormonal secretion.
If you don’t get enough calcium you can risk health problems related to weak bones. Bone loss can affect people over 50, especially post-menopausal women, where the bone is lost more quickly than it’s formed, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
How much calcium do I need?
The amount needed in your diet varies throughout life, with a daily requirement of about 1000mg for men and women over 50 years, says Dr. Nitu Bajekal, Consultant Gynecologist, Spire Bushy Hospital (nitubajekal. co.uk).
Post-menopausal women may require more – around 1,200mg daily. If your diet is healthy and you exercise regularly, including strength exercises, Dr. Bajekal recommends a daily multivitamin containing 200mg of calcium as well as vitamin D should be enough to protect your bones.
In addition to including calcium in your diet, protect yourself against osteopenia and osteoporosis, by exercising for 20-30 minutes a day and include muscle strengthening exercises.
Calcium can be found in a range of foods, and for many people, dairy products are an easy way to include calcium in the diet. Dark green leafy veg is also a good source, and almonds, sesame seeds, and figs are also rich in calcium.
Some products like tofu and some breakfast cereals are fortified with calcium.” Sarah Leyland, National Osteoporosis Society.
Up to 75% of us may not get enough magnesium in our diet, which is required by every organ in the body.
Magnesium is an important and often overlooked, essential mineral required by every organ in the body.
It’s required for muscle and nerve function, needed for energy, and maintains the bone structure, regulating calcium balance. Magnesium also calms the adrenal gland and helps to balance blood sugar.
A study of 12,000 people over six years found that those with the lowest levels of magnesium had a 94% chance of developing diabetes.
Symptoms of low levels of magnesium include muscle spasms, tremors, cramps, twitching, and changes in blood pressure and heart rate.
Stress, raised cortisol levels, processed food, caffeine and alcohol can all lower your levels, and we also lose significant amounts through sweat loss. It’s thought that 75% of us don’t get enough magnesium in our diet.
Magnesium is important for bone health
Magnesium encourages the body to absorb calcium and is vital in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
It’s thought we need both calcium and magnesium in conjunction with vitamin D for optimum bone health.
The importance of magnesium isn’t recent news. A study in 1990, in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, found that magnesium supplementation, instead of calcium, increased bone density of postmenopausal women within one year.
It’s thought that magnesium may be more important for bone health than calcium.
Where is it found?
It’s found in nuts, whole grains, dark green vegetables, fish, and meat. Rich sources include pumpkin and sunflower seeds, bran, tofu, potatoes, baked beans, and spinach.
An easy way to include some magnesium in your diet is to snack on dried fruit and nut mixes or sprinkle wheat germ on cereal.
expert says- I see a lot of women who are worried about their calcium levels, especially around the menopause, but when tested the majority are low in magnesium.”
Iron is important for many functions in the body including the formation of red blood cells and transport of oxygen to tissues.
As you get older it is important to ensure an adequate iron intake and include iron-rich foods in your diet. “20% of people over the age of 65 diagnosed with anemia is found to have an underlying condition.”
Good sources of Iron are meat and meat products, especially red meat and offal (such as liver and kidney), cereal products such as fortified breakfast cereals and bread, eggs, pulses such as baked beans and lentils, dried fruit, dark green vegetables such as curly kale and spinach.
Studies have found that iron intakes in older people are often significantly below the recommended level. It is
thought this is due to possible changes in appetite, digestion difficulties, and subsequent food choices.
Also, iron absorption from the gut may also be reduced in older people and this coupled with low intakes, can increase the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
Symptoms of anemia include tiredness, lethargy, and listlessness. Sometimes in older people, anemia can be the first symptom of an underlying gut disorder, so vital you get checked out by your GP if you have any symptoms.
In fact, around 20% of people over the age of 65 diagnosed with anemia are found to have an underlying condition.
Good dietary consumption of iron along with foods providing vitamin C to aid absorption is vital. Good sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, potatoes, and dark green vegetables.
These foods should be eaten at the same time as the iron source for optimum absorption.
This important nutrient isn’t only about keeping our digestive systems running smoothly…
We all know that fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet, keeping our digestive system in working order, but it also helps to stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol levels – important in the management of diabetes and heart disease.
In countries with traditionally high-fiber diets, diseases such as bowel cancer, diabetes, and coronary heart disease are much less common than in Western countries. Most people in the UK don’t get enough fiber in their diet.
Some of the potential outcomes that can occur if you don’t eat enough fiber include constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (although sometimes a high intake of fiber can be worse for IBS), diverticular disease, heart disease, and some cancers, including colon cancer.
There are two types of fiber, and we need to include both types in our diet: Soluble fiber – Good sources of soluble fiber include fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flaxseed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas, soy milk, and soy products.
Soluble fiber can also help with constipation and lower LDL cholesterol. Insoluble fiber – Good sources include wheat bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans, and wholegrain foods.
A major role of insoluble fiber is to add bulk and to prevent constipation and associated problems such as hemorrhoids. Both types of fiber are beneficial to the body, and most plant foods contain a mixture of both types.
Fibre Important for older people.
The digestive system slows down with age, so a high-fiber diet becomes even more important. Drinking plenty of fluid alongside a high-fiber diet is vital to prevent constipation and to aid digestion.
Ways to boost your daily fiber intake-
- Eat high-fiber breakfast cereals such as porridge.
- Switch to wholemeal or multigrain bread and brown rice.
- Add an extra vegetable to every evening meal.
- Snack on fruit, dried fruit, nuts, or wholemeal crackers.
If you try to increase your intake, do it gradually to allow your body time to adapt. Increasing too quickly can lead to cramps, wind, and bloating.
If you still think that eating fat is bad for you, think again. Experts are learning that it’s the added sugar in food, which is actually driving the obesity epidemic, and the rise in diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“ One research study found a glass of orange juice contained more sugar than 3.5 doughnuts more than a can of coke”
A recent article in the BMJ by Cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra suggested that the consumption of sugar may have a closer correlation to heart disease than dietary fat.
And Dr. Marilyn Glenville, author of ‘Fat around the Middle’ agrees that sugar is hugely damaging for our health.
Carbohydrates, especially whole grains, however; are an important source of energy in our diet, especially for active people, and shouldn’t be avoided. It’s the sugary, highly processed carbohydrate foods we need to be aware of.
Limit your consumption of biscuits, cakes, sweets, and sugary foods and drinks where possible and avoid processed ‘low fat’ foods, which are often loaded with sugar.
Dangerous a sugary Drinks-
Watch out for seemingly ‘healthy’ choices such as orange juice and smoothies and don’t be fooled by the marketing on the label promising health benefits.
One research study found a glass of orange juice contained more sugar than 3.5 doughnuts – more than a can of coke. Sugar is sugar regardless of the source.
Limit sugar in your diet-
Sugar comes in many guises as glucose, fructose, lactose, and sucrose in foods such as fruit, milk, honey, jam, syrup as well as processed foods, cakes, and biscuits. They are all sources of sugar in our diet.
Eating too much sugar causes insulin levels to rapidly rise and fall, putting a strain on your metabolism, over time leading to heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, and weight gain.
Try to maintain steady blood sugar levels by eating more protein and fat in your diet, avoiding the insulin spikes that come with eating sugary snacks and meals.
If you’re craving sugar, reach for some nuts instead of the biscuit tin.
There’s evidence that as you get older, particularly over 65, thirst sensation diminishes and it’s easy to become dehydrated. The best strategy is to keep well hydrated through food and water.
Around 70% of your body is made up of water and electrolytes critical for healthy body function. Water transports nutrients and oxygen around your body, flushes waste products, controls your temperature, and aids your digestive system.
It’s thought that as many as 75% of us are chronically dehydrated and don’t drink enough fluid for good health. Signs of dehydration include tiredness, dark urine, feeling thirsty, constipation, confusion and irritability, poor concentration, dry mouth, and dizziness.
Being dehydrated by as little as 10% of your body weight can cause symptoms.
- As a general rule of thumb, you need to drink around 1500ml of fluid per day, more if you’re active, have a high sweat rate, or if the weather is hot.
- Drinks containing small amounts of caffeine are included in your fluid intake, they don’t dehydrate you as once thought. Juice, milk, and squash will all add fluid too.
- While thirst is a good indicator of your hydration needs, the key is to drink before thirst. There’s evidence that as you get older, particularly over 65, thirst sensation diminishes, which can lead to dehydration.
- Your urine should be pale straw yellow, not clear, nor should it be dark like apple juice or have a strong odor.
- Drink water regularly, ideally before you are thirsty
- If you have an office job, make sure you have water on your desk
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables which have a high water content
- Carry a water bottle with you when you are out and about, especially during warm weather
- Going to the loo every 2-3 hours is an indication you’re well-hydrated
Research has shown that many of us grossly underestimate how much we drink, so what are the facts when it comes to alcohol…
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink from time to time, but a recent study has suggested that as many of three-quarters of people may be drinking above the recommended daily limit, without even realizing it.
The long-term consequences of high alcohol consumption can be considered for your health. The risks include liver disease, pancreatitis, diabetes, cancer (especially throat and mouth), heart disease, and depression are all increased by just moderate levels of drinking.
High alcohol intake can also impair your body’s absorption of nutrients from food and bring about vitamin deficiencies.
Is red wine really healthy?
It is thought red wine may have some health benefits in small amounts, but the research is inconclusive and the risks can outweigh the benefits. So get your antioxidants from healthy food instead if you can.
So how much is too much?
Current guidelines recommend that women should not regularly exceed 2-3 units per day and 3-4 units per day for men, and to have at least one alcohol-free day per week.
This may sound reasonable until you start to tot up your intake, as research has shown that most of us underestimate our alcohol intake. Use the www.drinkaware.co.uk unit calculator to work out how much you drink.
What is a unit?
A small (125ml) glass of wine provides around 1.5 units and a pint of beer (at 5% volume) will provide almost 3 units. The average pub/restaurant wine glass is actually 175ml.
Some are even 250ml, providing a whopping 3.35 units per glass. Watch out for the percentage strength of wine, as typical measurements are given on 12% volume, which isn’t the norm.
Did you know?
Your metabolism slows in later life and your ability to tolerate alcohol drops as you get older. Try to drink less especially if you’re over 65 years.