Following our life principles will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. They’ll also help you to achieve peak fitness, to look and feel great, and to improve your health. What are you waiting for – make some changes!
Principle 1: Don’t Eat Junk
Don’t eat sugar – sugar is toxic. Don’t eat sweets or bars of chocolate. Don’t eat refined carbohydrates – avoid bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits and anything made with flour. Don’t drink sweetened drinks – drink water instead.
Principle 2: Eat More of the Good Stuff!
Eat LOADS of veggies and salad, and plenty of fruit. Fruit & veg is really good for you – eating more of these foods can help prevent serious illness, and can also help you to balance your weight. Aim for 2 portions salad, 5 portions of vegetables and 3 portions of fruit per day. Fill at least half your dinner plate with vegetables.
Eat nuts & seeds – unsalted. Nuts & seeds are a good snack. Get some sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts & hazelnuts into your life.
Principle 3: Eat Protein with Most Meals
High protein foods include red meat, poultry, fish & eggs. You’re designed to eat meat and eating high protein foods helps you to feel full.
Principle 4: Don’t Drink Too Much Booze
You don’t need to drink 10 pints to have fun. Don’t have more than 2-3 drinks at one sitting. On most days, don’t drink at all.
Principle 5: Get Some Exercise
Actually, get a LOT of exercise. Stand up and move around more, even at work. Take an exercise class. See how fit and strong you can become – you might surprise yourself.
Principle 6: Listen to Your Body
Eat when you are hungry, stop eating when you are full. Eat mindfully. Sleep when you are tired. Really LISTEN to your body, without distractions.
Principle 7: Control Your Environment
Remove junk food from your house – you’ll be less likely to eat it. Surround yourself with healthy options. Buy smaller plates – you’ll eat less.
Principle 8: Score Goals!
Get some goals – if you don’t know where you want to get to, how are you going to get there? Visualise your goals – imagine how you’ll feel when you achieve your goals.
Principle 9: Lighten Up, Have Fun & Play More
Have some fun. Get a hobby. Spend time with other people. Turn off the TV. Play is not just for kids – take time out to play. Meditate.
Principle 10: Get Outside More
Get outside every day. Put on a coat if necessary. Get some natural light. Get some safe sun exposure – you could probably use the vitamin D and you’ll feel better for it.
Eating more vegetables, fruit and salad can help you to lose weight. Eating enough vegetables, fruit & salad can also help prevent heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. The World Health Organisation estimate that 2.7 million lives could be saved each year simply by eating more fruit & veg!
How Much Fruit & Veg Should I Eat?
If you’re watching your weight, we recommend that you aim to eat 2 portions of salad, 5 portions of vegetables and 3 portions of fruit per day. Most people should aim for at least 9 servings of fruit and veg per day. A “serving” or a “portion” is roughly a handful – so for most people a portion would be:
A medium serving of mixed salad leaves
A medium sized apple, orange or pear
A handful of berries
For main meals, we recommend that at least half your plate should be full of vegetables and/or salad.
Why is Fruit & Veg so Healthy?
Vegetables and fruit have many health benefits – they contain numerous phytochemicals (pronounced “fight”-o-chemicals) that have a beneficial effect on health. Some phytochemicals have antioxidant effects – they help prevent damaging reactions within the body and have a beneficial effect upon health. Other phytochemicals help reduce inflammation. By reducing inflammation and oxidation, phytochemicals appear to promote heart health and reduce the risk of neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
People who eat plenty of vegetables and fruit get less degenerative illnesses, and taking vitamin pills does not have the same effect. Eating lots of veg & fruit won’t completely protect you from serious illness, but it will reduce your risk.
Fruit, Vegetables and Cancer
Research shows that some plant phytochemicals can slow or prevent the growth of cancer cells. One phytochemical found in cabbage, broccoli and kale (called indole-3-carbinol) slows the growth of breast cancer cells. A good reason to eat more cabbage!
According to the US National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organisation, not eating enough vegetables and fruit is linked to an increased risk for cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) recommends the regular consumption of vegetables like lettuce, leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, onions and fruits. According to WCRF, these foods probably protect against certain cancers, including:
Cancers of the mouth, throat & voice box
According to the World Health Organisation, eating more fruit probably lowers the risk of cancers of the oesophagus, stomach and lung, and possibly reduces the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, colon-rectum, larynx, kidney, and bladder. Eating more vegetables probably lowers the risk of cancers of the oesophagus and colon-rectum – and possibly reduces the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, stomach, larynx, lung, ovary and kidney.
The ones that you like! Aim to increase your general fruit and vegetable consumption, rather than focusing on a particular fruit or vegetable. Try to include a wide variety of different coloured fruits & vegetables, to ensure that you are consuming a range of beneficial nutrients. If you have limited choice available, your best bet is probably to go for richly coloured red, orange and yellow vegetables & fruit – like carrots, pumpkins, tomatoes & apples. The health effects of different fruits and vegetables are being slowly uncovered by scientists:
Apples reduce cholesterol levels and may reduce risk for some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes
Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons etc): contain phytochemicals that inhibit cancer cells and may be protective against heart disease
Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale and other cruciferous vegetables: Consuming these vegetables may protect against breast and other cancers
Tomatoes and cooked tomato products may be protective against prostate cancer
More health benefits linked to different veg & fruit are being discovered all the time – so don’t just focus on the ones we’ve mentioned. Just try to increase your veg & fruit intake across the board, with a wide variety of different types of veg, salad and fruit.
What About the Sugar in Fruit?
Some diets restrict fruit because of the fact that it contains sugar. I don’t go along with this. While it is true that fruit contains sugar, you’re consuming that sugar in a very natural package. Fruit has been a major part of the human diet since before we were human! So yes, fruit contains sugar – but the absorption of that sugar is slowed because you’re consuming plenty of fibre with it. Fruit is also packed full of other beneficial nutrients, as I mentioned above – so on balance fruit is a good snack for people watching their weight. One of my clients recently lost 1.5 stone in six weeks (and six weeks later, he’s kept the weight off!) – he was eating 12 pieces of fruit per day throughout his weight-loss.
Having said that, for people with a serious weight problem, we always emphasise increasing intake of vegetables (not including potatoes) and salad first and foremost.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully we’ve convinced you to include more vegetables, fruit and salad in your diet! Aim to eat a wide variety of vegetables & fruit of different colours – if you have limited choice, your best bet is to focus on eating lots of dark leafy greens (cabbage, kale, lettuce, rocket and other salad leaves) and anything that’s a rich red, orange or yellow colour. Fill half your plate with veggies at every meal – and cram down bucket-loads of healthy salad!