Whilst new year resolutions may be short lived for some, often the downfall is because they aren’t realistic or well planned out. Sometimes we need a reset after the holiday period, so it is the right time to be thinking about wellness, and how to best nourish your body from the inside out. Gabby Ward, The Sports Dietitian Co. and MACROS Food Specialist shares some insights and strategies to transform your body and skin wellness with tweaks to your nutrition and lifestyle. Gabby is an accredited practising dietitian with a passion for simplifying nutrition to support both performance, nourishment and enjoyment, to have a positive relationship with food and feel your best.
Sure, your nutrition is very important, as it is the fuel and nutrients that keep our body functioning – but our behaviours, mindset and fitness are also going to determine how we are functioning. It’s a real juggling act.
When things ramp up, it is so common to see people going for long periods without having something to eat (hello afternoon slump!), often leading to choices of convenience or cravings. Sure, this isn’t bad to happen every once in a while, as long as it doesn’t become a habit. Aim to prepare to eat every few hours (no longer than 5 hours) and take satiating meals and snacks with you whilst on the go.
We also need to consider our food choices. A foundation of lean meats, oily fish and plant foods is ideal – with a focus on variety! Focus less on what to remove and more on what you could add to your diet. For meals think: 1 palm size of protein, 1 cupped handful of wholegrain or starchy-vegetable carbs, 2 fists of salad or low-starch veg and 1 thumb of fat. For snacks, you want to combine a carb source with protein, and, or fat.
The type of fat we consume can impact our health. It should never be all or nothing, but we do want more fats from oily fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel and trout, and from plant sources such as nuts, seeds, natural nut butters, avocado, and good quality extra virgin olive oil. By focusing on getting in more of these fats, we inherently tip the balance of good fats higher and decrease fats we want less of (think fatty cuts of meat, baked goods, highly processed oils). Having the right ratio of fats ensures we are supporting immunity, absorbing fat soluble vitamins, achieving satiation and supporting hormone production and regulation.
I already delved into the types of protein we want to include, but other good sources of protein also include soy products (tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein) and low fat dairy. We want to include these regularly throughout the day to support our satiation, keeping us fuller for longer, and if we are active this also helps with recovery. Protein, along with our plant foods, help to maintain and nourish the structures of our hair, skin and nails.
Wholegrains, starchy veg and legumes are not only important to provide fibre and antioxidants, but also provide a great source of low-GI carbs. This would include your wholegrain breads, wraps, bagels, crackers, rice, pasta, noodles and cereals; beans and legumes; potato, sweet potato, and corn; and to an extent fruit and dairy (yoghurt, milk). Low GI carbs moderate the rise and fall of your blood sugar levels, an important factor to consider as sharp rises and falls in our blood sugar levels can increase oil production in our skin, leading to breakouts and inflammation.
It is all well and good to know what to get in to support your mind and body – but in reality we need to know (or plan) exactly how to do this. ! Variety is king, and if we prep our food it can quite often lead to eating the same meals on repeat. Ready-made meal delivery companies can be a god-send, providing you with a diversity of well-balanced and dietitian approved meals to match your health and fitness goals: sculpt, perform, build are a snapshot of what’s available to order online.
The gut is in constant communication with virtually everything in our body, so looking after our gut health via the above balanced plans, is what’s going to keep us feeling our best.
Once we start to nail the basics, and do them consistently, they will become a habit. Creating consistency when it comes to managing your overall health, is what will get you through those times where you lack motivation.