With the classic ‘new year, new me’ mantra, lots of us are striving to become healthier this year.

With this goal in mind, we have collated 10 do’s and 10 don’ts tips of ‘becoming healthier’ in 2022. The tips include diet, exercise, habits, activity and mindset. They look into which daily habits do and which don’t speed up weight loss, which common mistakes can hinder weight loss and which metrics to focus on or ignore, breaking them down into 10 do’s and 10 don’ts.

Read on to find out more…

10 do’s:

  1. Do look forward to the future, do not dwell on the past and when you fall rise again

It is important to reflect on the past and learn lessons from mistakes. However, that is the role of the past, to be learned from not to be dwelt on. Instead, focus on now. Apply what you learned on your current situation and make correct choices now regardless of what choices you made before.

  1. Do make small, gradual, and sustainable changes

It is very tempting to think that you might be able to make very large change in a very short space of time. Big changes can only happen if you had a big and frequently external change (accident, surgical procedure, a medication). However, the rule is that changes are sustainable only when they are small and gradual.

  1. Do make yourself accountable to someone and surround yourself by people who have similar mindset and who are keen to support you

Your health journey is not going to be simple. You need to make changes to many parts of your life. You need someone to ‘monitor’ your changes and to tell you when you do well and when you do not do as well. You also need people (friends, family, colleagues) who really wish the best for you and will facilitate and support any changes that you make.

  1. Do start with the end in mind

It is really important to decide where you want to be in 12 months, 5 years, and 10 years then work to achieve that. Create short and long-term objectives for your health journey and make your efforts directed towards the objectives. Focusing on where you want to be will help you to carry on when the going is tough.

  1. Do reduce your portion size

This might be the single most important change to your diet, health, and weight. You should substitute your current plates with smaller plates. You must stick to the new plate size.

  1. Do start your meal by eating protein rich food

Protein rich food provides your brain with stronger fullness feeling. There are many protein rich foods like eggs, dairy products, meat, beans, and pulses.

  1. Do follow the 20:20:20 rule of eating

You should aim to eat no more than 20 mouthfuls of food for a meal, over a 20-minute period of time, chewing each mouthful 20 times and putting your knife and fork down between each mouthful.

  1. Do fill up on vegetables if you are still hungry

Vegetables are low in calories so if you are still hungry after eating the protein rich food, eat vegetables as that will help you to feel full.

  1. Do a physical activity that makes you sweaty, breathless, or preferably both for half an hour a day

The type of activity does not matter as long as it gets you to the stage of sweating and breathlessness.

  1. Do follow a programme of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Following a programme of CBT– either with a psychologist, therapist, via an online course, or a book – can help you to make the changes that you want to make.

10 don’ts:

  1. Don’t eat and drink at the same time

Leave half an hour after eating before you drink. Drinking at the same time as eating flushes food down and makes you feel less full. However, you should drink 1.5-2 L fluids a day. Being hydrated is very important for your body to function well. I suggest keeping a bottle with you and sipping from it all day.

  1. Don’t have too many carbohydrates or too many sweets

Carbohydrates are needed in small amounts. While they are very tasty, they provide less feeling of fullness to the brain compared to protein. The downfall of many patients who have bariatric surgery is high intake of sweets or carbohydrates.

  1. Don’t exceed the NHS recommended weekly alcohol intake (14 units a week)

Don’t exceed the NHS recommended weekly alcohol intake (14 units a week), and preferably aim for less. Alcoholic drinks are rich in calories, poor in nutrition, disrupt sleep and might cause depression. In addition, they harm the liver. For people affected by obesity, adding alcohol to obesity causes even more damage to the liver. Alcohol is a significant cause of weight gain.

  1. Don’t skip meals

It is very important to eat regular meals. This gives your body the best possibility to get good nutrition when it is needed and reduces the risk of overeating and snacking.

  1. Don’t have too many takeaways

Takeaways are frequently rich in calories and fat and frequently large in portion size. The fat content of the takeaway tempts you to eat more and to have them more often. Instead, cook at home, possibly from basic ingredients.

  1. Don’t be inactive

Whenever possible, move off your seat and walk. Use the stairs, walk to the shop, work, etc.

  1. Don’t focus too much on one specific healthy habit

You will benefit from following the advice in regard to several important dietary, physical activity and mental habits. By working on all of these aspects you will achieve a change that is greater than the sum of its parts.

  1. Don’t get into situations that might make you go back to your old habits

Don’t get into situations that might make you go back to your old habits ( for example going to a buffet meal with many alcoholic drinks on offer) unless you have a clear plan. In such situation, you should prepare yourself by deciding exactly what you are going to eat, the amount of food that you are going to eat and the drinks that you are going to have. Stick to the plan.

  1. Don’t avoid those who might help you or provide accountability for you when you struggle

When you are doing well, you will feel the desire to go and see your coach, ‘monitor’ or health care professional. It is likely you will want to avoid them when you are not doing well. Instead, what you should do is even to ask for more accountability when you are not doing well.

  1. Don’t worry about what people think about your journey to health, what you eat or your physical activities

You cannot control what other people do or think. You can only control yourself.

When it comes to embarking on your journey to become healthier, it is important to start with a specific goal in mind but be sure to make gradual changes to make them sustainable. Remember not to focus too much on one specific healthy habit – dietary changes, physical activity, and mental habits are all important aspects of becoming healthier.

Reducing portion sizes, starting your meal by eating protein rich food, and following the 20:20:20 rule are great ways to keep your diet in check. It is important to eat regular meals and aim to reduce your carbohydrate, sugar, and alcohol intake overall.

Make an effort to do 30-minutes of physical activity every day – ideally something that makes you sweaty, breathless, or preferably both. Try to avoid situations that might make you go back to your old habits. Don’t worry about what people think about your journey to health, what you eat, or your physical activities. Look forward to the future, do not dwell on the past, and when you fall rise again!

For those really struggling to shift unwanted weight, there are a variety of weight loss surgery options available (suitability dependent). These include gastric sleeve, endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), gastric bypass, orbera 365 gastric balloon, and the Allurion (swallowable) gastric balloon. During your initial consultation Mr Toumi will provide you with an expert and honest opinion regarding your suitability for surgery. He will discuss with you the different surgical options and give you a clear understanding of the surgery, its benefits, possible complications and expected outcomes in order to support you to make an informed decision about a treatment that is right for you.

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