Eat Well, Live Longer


What is Change 4 Life?
‘The ‘Change 4 Life’ initiative was set up by the NHS and if you visit their website you will get a whole host of resources to help you make positive changes.  Anyone who wants to improve health can get something from this campaign.  As described on the website “these days, ’modern life’ can mean that we’re a lot less active. With so many opportunities to watch TV or play computer games, and with so much convenience and fast food available, we don’t move about as much, or eat as well as we used to.”

At the NIHP in Durham we work with many people to support and enhance their health and wellbeing.  That’s why we welcome this campaign and enjoy our own unique way of helping people Eat Well and Move More.

Top Tips to “Eat Well”
Before we start talking food and nutrition – have you written your goals down yet?  This is a great way to choose what you need to do to achieve your goals and provides motivation to get there and monitor as you go.  It might seem too simple and unnecessary, but this can be a powerful first step.

In my experience of working with people on nutrition, the key to successfully ‘Eating Well’ is two-fold.  The trouble is I see many people only embracing either one or the other of these important points.  This tip will put you ahead of the game and help you achieve your desired results.  First lets look at two common Mistakes that I see:

  1. Getting too specific too soon.  I call this ‘top down’ nutrition, because if we get too specific too soon we are attempting to build something from the top first and work our way down.  We often see this in the form of an extreme/fad diet, latest superfood, wonder drug, surgery or specific vitamin or mineral.  Not that any of these doesn’t have its place, but should they be the first thing that you try when looking to achieve a health or fitness goal.  The usual result is short term and can often be detrimental to long term health.
  2. The second mistake is almost the opposite to the first one.  This is when we fail to see the fact that we are all individual in every way including the food and nutrition we do well on.  We might be eating what are termed ‘healthy’ foods, but we are still following a one-size-fits-all that unfortunately may never enable us to optimise our health and fitness.  If we are aware of this it suddenly becomes clear why we often see some of our friends and family get great results eating on one diet, whilst others experience totally opposite results.  You are left confused, wondering why one thing works for one person but not for the other.

So the secret is to actually get the best of both worlds – Build a strong Foundation and then make it more specific to your individuality.

Build a Foundation: The foundational principles that I teach and need to be aced early on are factors like:

  • Hydration
  • Getting the right amount and quality of macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbs) at each meal and snack.
  • Shopping, Preparing and cooking techniques.
  • Creating nutritious Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners and Snacks.
  • Learning the truth about healthy fat.
  • Avoiding inflammatory foods such as gluten, cow’s milk, alcohol, soy and sugar.
  • Getting the most out of raw foods
  • Enhancing Digestion
  • Controlling blood sugars.
  • A lot of this is cost and time effective and can really make a difference on your health and energy levels.

Metabolic Typing: Here’s how to get to the next level and build on the foundation with your individual nutritional needs.  Metabolic Typing is a fantastic way to do it.  Metabolic Typing is a process that finds out what foods you do well on.  And also the foods you do not.  Have you ever noticed that other people, friends, colleagues and family might be successful when following a particular diet, whilst you feel worse on it?  Or the opposite way round?

Metabolic Typing is all finding the individual foods that should be on OUR plate, whether that is breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.  We are all built differently.  We have different hair colour, heights, weights, sense of humour…….everything about us is unique and individual.  Including the nutrients we need.

Sometimes this uniqueness is only slightly different to the next person and sometimes it can be a stark contrast.  It doesn’t really matter.  The only thing that does matter is that you can identify what is right for your type.  How do you do that?  My advice is that firstly you should ace all the above steps – hydration, macronutrients etc and then take the steps to find out your Metabolic Type.  Whilst you can get the book “The Metabolic Typing Diet”, the most effective way is to work one-to-one with a Certified Advisor.  At the Northern Integrative Health Practice we have everything in place to coach you to Eat Well.

Change 4 Life at the NIHP in Sacriston, DurhamTop Tips to “Move More”
The Change 4 Life campaign is motivating us to make a significant impact on our quality of life.  In addition to eating well, you can get great results from Moving More too.  A lot of people I speak to do not know where to start with exercise or have tried something that they could not sustain or actually led to injury.

As described earlier, our modern lifestyle may be contributing to how little exercise we are getting, however there are also many more choices of activities and sports to play then ever before.  There is great availability of exercise classes, childrens’ fitness groups, outdoor activities, teams, clubs and private support.

So the trick is to choose the right one for you. In my opinion here are a few things to consider;

  • Enjoyment and Fun
  • Appropriate for your Ability Level
  • Sustainability – travel, cost, effort, motivation
  • Is it in line with your goals?

Of course enjoyment is key to anything we do and it makes sense that it is practical and sustainable.  However, the two biggest reasons that I see people slip up on are the fact that it is not in line with their goals and it isn’t appropriate for their ability.  So what we need to do is take the time at the very beginning to write goals that are important to you.  What is it that you really want to achieve and when do you want to do it by?

When choosing the activity make sure it is appropriate.  If it isn’t you may experience short term results, but suffer from burn-out or injury, taking you right back to square one.  We all like a challenge, but we must take responsibility to gauge that challenge and realise when it is actually pushing your goals further away.

It depends on your starting level, but lets say you have very low activity levels to start with, you might want to progress from:

  • Walking, gradually more each week.  Set yourself some targets
  • Swimming
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Pilates.  Try a group with a good instructor to coach you through
  • Exercise Coaching to design a program specific for your needs and keep you injury free
  • Build up your walking into different terrains
  • Cycling
  • Try a sport that you can participate in at light activity levels.  Great to do with partner at first, so choose something like badminton or table tennis
  • Sports and Bootcamps are fantastic, but for the greatest benefit you should be conditioned for them.

Progress and combine the above to reach your targets.  Be creative and enjoy the process and experience how Eating Well and Moving More can really make the difference to your quality of life.