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Self care for life

Modern life can make it easy to eat and drink more than we realise and do little physical activity. The result is often weight gain.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. It doesn't have to be difficult either. Just follow these eight tips to get started.

The key to a healthy diet is to do the following:

  • Eat the right amount of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight. It is recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should have around 2,000 calories a day (8,400 kilojoules). Most adults are eating more calories than they need, and should eat fewer calories.
  • Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.

To lose weight, we need to change our current habits. This means eating less – even when eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting more active.

Drastic fad diets and exercise regimes that result in rapid weight loss are unlikely to work for long, because these kinds of lifestyle changes can’t be maintained. Once you stop the regime, you’re likely to return to old habits and regain weight.

Instead, choose diet and physical activity changes that you can make a part of your daily routine, and stick to for life.

Below are some tips to help you on your journey towards a healthy weight:

  • If you haven’t already, check your BMI. There is an easy to use BMI calculator available on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx  
  • Now take the next snack you plan to have and swap it for something healthier. Go for a piece of fruit, a fruit bun or a slice of malt loaf with a low-fat spread. Aim to do the same every day: you’ve adopted your first weight loss habit
  • Try to swap drinks that are high in calories for drinks that are lower in fat and sugars. Swap a sugary fizzy drink for a sparkling water with a slice of lemon. Don't forget that alcohol also contains calories, so cutting down could help you to control your weight.
  • Next, find a way to fit just one extra walk into your day. Fast walking is a way to burn calories, and you can often fit it into your daily routine. You might walk to the shops during your lunch break, or get off the bus one stop early on the way home and walk the rest of the way. Commit to this and you’ve adopted your second long-term habit. Ideally, you should aim to walk 10,000 steps a day: it’s not as many as it sounds. More information about walking for health can be found on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk/Livewell/getting-started-guides/Pages/getting-started-walking.aspx.  
  • Last, think about your breakfast tomorrow morning. Can you make it healthier; using the foods you already have at home?

Get ideas in for eating a healthier breakfast here www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/Healthybreakfasts.aspx

More information, including a link to services that are available to help in Worcestershire can be found at https://ylyc.worcestershire.gov.uk/information-and-advice/health-and-wellbeing/lose-weight/

Find out more about Self-Care Week at www.selfcareforum.org/