We catch up with nutritional expert Louise Johnson from Results with Lucy, to hear about living a healthier life through healthy eating, exercise and having a good mindset. Louise also shares her top tips on how to change your lifestyle in a positive way, but on a budget.
For someone who wants to take their first step to a healthier lifestyle, what would your top three tips be?
1. Count nutrients NOT calories - Calories do have their place in weight loss but they should not be the main focus. It is just as important to think about the nutrients in the food. After all 250kcals of chicken and 250kcals of doughnuts have the same calorie amount but have a completely different affect on your body's health include your fat stores.
2. Stay away from processed foods - To lose weight and be healthy you need to stay away from processed ready made foods. Processed foods are full of sugar, salt and the wrong type of fat which have a negative effect on yourhealth. Even 'diet' packaged foods may look healthy but once you look closer at the label, they often are not. Yourdiet should be based around good fats, unprocessed carbohydrates and protein. Increasing your antioxidant intake from fruit and vegetables is also important.
3. Don’t go for a quick fix - Quick fixes may work short term but never long term. Usually they just make the situation worse and people end up putting any weight they have lost back on and any health improvements are lost. Taking the time to make healthy and long term changes to your diet and exercise is essential. It may take a bit longer however the results last a lot longer.
What do you think it takes to stay healthy and eat well?
To stay healthy and eat well it is important to be prepared. Always make sure you have healthy meals and snacks to hand whenever you need them. This will prevent you from snacking on fatty or sugary foods or relying on takeaway meals at the end of a busy day. It is a good idea to plan an hour or two to batch cook and freeze 3 or 4 healthy meals a week.
Setting yourself realistic goals is important as they help keep you focused and motivated on what you want to achieve. Set what you want to achieve and work towards it. I also think it is important to choose foods that are both good for you and which you enjoy. Eating healthy shouldn't be be a chore or something you feel as if you have to do. It should be something you enjoy and can have fun with.
In your opinion, do you need to exercise as well as eat healthy to get results?
Yes absolutely. I believe there are 3 things that are important to get results - eating healthy, exercising and mindset. One or two of these may work on their own for a time but to achieve optimum, lasting health and results all 3 need to be focused on. I would personally say that for most people to achieve lasting results their focus would need to be 70% nutrition, 20% exercise and 10% mindset. For others mindset would need to be the main focus to begin with to help them get started and then concentrate more on nutrition and exercise.
Is it easy ?to eat well on a budget?
Yes it absolutely can be easy to eat well on a budget. Buying frozen vegetables is often cheaper than fresh versions (and often have more nutrients due to the freezing process). Keep an eye out for deals on meat and fish which you can buy in bulk and freeze to use whenever you need. It is often cheaper to batch cook foods and freeze some meals to avoid multiple visits to the supermarkets. Plan your meals each week so you know exactly what to buy each rather than just wandering around the supermarket picking items up and having lots of wasted food at the end of the week. Don't forget the money you save by not buying any processed and unhealthy foods will now go towards buying healthy foods anyway.
What is your advice when it comes to dieting, are there any schemes you would recommend?
The best way to lose weight is to cut out all processed foods and include healthy foods which promote health from within. Set yourself realistic goals, never skip meals, make sure you drink enough water throughout the day and look at your portion sizes. These are the principles which we use with all Results with Lucy programmes and we have helped hundreds of people to achieve their goals. Don't be distracted by the newest 'magical' food or drink - there are no magical foods or drinks. By consuming the right food and drink, being active and having the right mindset you will achieve the results you want.
What is your favourite healthy ingredient at the moment?
I don't have one favourite ingredient but rather a group of ingredients - leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach and chard! They are easy to include in meals and can be added to smoothies. They are packed full of nutrients including minerals such as magnesium and calcium as well as vitamins A, C and K. As well as being generally good for your health they are great for your liver which is the most important organ in your body, especially when it comes to health and fat loss. Healthy liver, healthy body!
Have you always eaten healthily?
No. When I was younger I thought I was eating fairly healthy but actually I wasn't at all! I was about 20 years of age when I started to look at how I was eating. I had joined a gym with a friend and was loving feeling fitter and stronger but quickly realised that I was never going to the get the most out of my training programme unless I addressed my eating. I became fascinated by how food effects your body. I couldn't understand why no one had taught me how important eating the correct food was. I wanted to educate other people on how important being active and eating correctly was to their health so I trained to be a Personal Trainer and a Nutritionist. I am also a Nutritional Therapist and Exercise Referral Specialist meaning I can help people with specific conditions. To me it is not just about giving people a 'diet' plan to follow but it's about showing people how they can improve their health and lifestyle in the long term.
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