July 18, 2012 10.25 am This story is over 119 months old

Your health: Dieting vs healthy eating – what’s best?

Small changes: Lisa Boulton explains how subtle changes can improve weigh loss goals, over dieting.

Atkins diet, Blood type diet, Dukan diet, F-plan diet, low-fat diet, Mediterranean diet and Smart For Life diet. Confused? The never-ending list of diets can make it hard to know just how to get fit and healthy. Yet getting healthy does not have to be difficult. Maybe the first thing we should do is swap the word ‘diet’ for ‘lifestyle changes’!

According to a recent NHS survey, nearly 25% of Lincoln residents carry excess weight. So how can we make easy changes in our hectic lives towards being healthier? By taking small steps and making realistic goals that work for each of us is a start! Our body deals well with slow changes in terms of eating and exercise. So what can we do?

First of all, it’s good to start the day with a healthy breakfast. NHS Livewell suggests such things as wholegrain cereals with no added sugar, such as wholegrain porridge oats, and instead of adding sugar, add fruit.

It’s good to eat every 2-3 hours, so we should have healthy snacks between meals such as fruit and vegetables (i.e. raw carrots). According to Netdoctor, irregular eating habits disrupt your body’s metabolism, which makes it harder to lose weight in the first place.

Lincoln Nutritional Therapist Rachel Linstead says: “Just like a car engine needs a constant supply of fuel, if we go hours without food we might grab a sugary snack because our body is telling us we need fuel ASAP, eating regularly may stop these cravings and help give you constant energy. Try to include a small amount of protein in your snack to keep you fuller longer, this may be a few nuts or some hummus on oatcakes, maybe a seed bar.”

Just as a starter, a few other small changes can help. Just one less biscuit a week can lead you to lose 5lb a year. Cut out sugary drinks, swap white bread with wholegrain and replace whole milk with semi-skimmed/skimmed. NHS Livewell and Netdoctor have more suggestions to help.

Getting active is essential and goes hand in hand with healthy eating – start making small steps towards activity.

It’s important to check with your GP before making changes to your lifestyle if you have health problems.

Lisa Boulton is the Medical Director of Amethyst Health Screening, a local company which carries out health checks and cardiovascular risk assessments for Lincoln residents and local businesses. She contributes on health-related topics for The Lincolnite.