Whether you make new year’s resolutions or not, January is a month for focusing on our best habits and (hopefully), saying goodbye to some of the bad ones. While previously the first day of the year typically brought with it a barrage of products and diets that promised to help you “shift the Christmas weight”, those days are thankfully now behind us. Now, it’s all about making healthy choices that feel right for us, that enhance the way we live and how we feel about ourselves.
Getting the right nutrition, of course, is a big part of that. How and what we eat impacts how we feel so – in addition to drinking lots of water as a starting point – Vogue asked three top nutritionists to share their key rules for the year ahead.
1. Don’t detox
“Research has shown time and time again that “detoxing” and calorie restrictive diets don’t work. Wean yourself off indulgent foods and simply replace with fresh whole foods instead. Have three meals a day that consist of lean protein (a quarter of your plate), complex carbohydrates (a quarter of your plate) and an array of vegetables (half of your plate),” advises nutritionist and Vogue contributing editor, Rosemary Ferguson.
2. Have a consistent mindset
In the same vein, look to start building healthy habits that you can maintain consistently over the year, advises nutritional therapist, Eve Kalinik. “Don’t be tempted to try extreme things – it messes the metabolism up long term,” she says. “My main piece of advice is to be consistent over time.”
Rhian Stephenson, nutritionist, naturopath and founder of Artah, agrees, emphasizing that consistency is the most effective path to feeling good. “There are some core habits that often stand in the way of that,” she adds. “One of the ones I hear the most is the notion of ‘starting again on Monday’, which usually follows an unplanned mid-week indulgence. The perception is that their healthy efforts are ruined so they’ll pause and start again on Monday.”
Stephenson says that this mentality commonly leads to yo-yo dieting and the stress, guilt and frustration that often accompanies it. Instead, if you go out and have an unhealthy meal, eat well the next day. “Don’t throw the towel in and let it turn into five days of unhealthy food, followed by a restriction,” she says.
3. Get your fiber fill
“Increase fiber in your diet, via a wide variety of fruits and vegetables,” says Ferguson. She recommends aiming for an array of different rainbow colors on your plate – and try to get eight to 10 portions each day.
4. Eat for the season
It can be helpful to modify how you eat depending on the season: “Swap cold, summery salads for warming ones, and smoothies for soups in winter,” advises Stephenson, and the same goes for summer. This is also a nice way to eat fresh, organic and seasonal produce, too.
5. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
“Nail your prep,” says Stephenson. “Whether it’s doing a little extra meal planning or finding an inspiring resource for healthy recipes to help you stay on track with your nutrition, it’s important to set yourself up for success.” Artah’s digital membership, from £12 a month, offers nutritionist-created meal plans and daily recipes, along with customizable shopping lists, which makes it super simple – even for those living hectic lifestyles.
It might not be directly related to your diet, but a little bit of movement each day is key for balancing blood sugar and helping to control the hormone leptin, which is in control of our appetite, explains Ferguson. “Movement is so key not just for weight management and muscle tone, but to balance our hormones,” she says.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk