The secret to staying healthy is sustainability.
You are far more likely to remain healthy if you make realistic and sustainable exercise and diet goals.
This week Karl Henry talked to Danny Lennon of Sigma Nutrition about his tips to ensure you optimise your health and fitness.
Danny is the founder of Sigma Nutrition and has a master’s degree (MSc.) in Nutritional Sciences from University College Cork, during which time he completed his research thesis directly under the world-renowned vitamin D researcher Professor Kevin Cashman.
Danny says having basic food cooking skills makes a big difference. One of the big struggles that people encounter is if they don’t know how to create tasty and nutritious meals. Learning some basic cooking and preparation skills allows you have more control “and allow you to play around so healthy food tastes nice”.
He also advises analysing the regularity with which you snack.
“People often snack more frequently than they think,” he said. “Especially in the evening when they are watching TV. If they are trying to reduce their overall calorie intake then I recommend having a cap on the number of snacks. People don’t tend to overeat during meal times but in snacking too often.”
Creating a good ‘food environment’ in your house. If you have snacks and sugary treats littered around the house than you are more likely to indiulge.
Danny recommends creating ‘mini barriers’ to curb eating out of habit or boredom. Place sugary snacks in cupboards can help – remember out of sight can be out of mind. “We can create food environments that doesn’t mean banning foods but encourages us to eat well.”
Danny says we should all consider our everyday food choices. Ultra palatable foods – or highly processed food – can be hard to resist. As they tend not to be hugely filling you end up often eating a lot more than the recommended serving size.
Drinking plenty of water is essential to having a good diet.
Sleep is so important in maintaining a healthy diet. “Two night’s of sleep restriction can have a knock on impact on your hormones, and increase your appetite,” he said.
“If you don’t sleep well you will wake up hungry and will look for palatable food that is processed. And a bad start to the day makes healthy eating habits later in the day harder to stick to,” he said.
“As much as practical have a regular sleep and wake time. Try and keep the room as dark as possible and try and limit light exposure the hour or so before bed.”
A lot if people dread hitting the gym. Instead of framing it as an endurance test, find exercise you actually enjoy.
“It’s all about sustainability. If you have work out that is enjoyable it will become more of a lifestyle shift.”
He also recommends thinking about protein throughout the day.
“At dinner people are very good at factoring in protein but you need to have proteins earlier in the day. Protein makes you feel full and that positively impacts your food choices later in the day.”
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The Real Health podcast with Karl Henry in association with Laya Healthcare.
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