Eat smart move more is definitely a term we would all have heard at some point, but what does it really mean and how can you incorporate this in to your daily life?
This term really sums what we should be aiming for, and we firmly believe that if everybody could adopt this as a philosophy the world would be a much healthier and fitter place.
We are strong advocates of starting these principles as young as possible and everybody having as much education not only on what it means but also how you can implement it. The WHO (World Health Organisation) says that “Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.”
The statistics are truly alarming (as provided by WHO):
- Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
- In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
- 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
- Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
- 38 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2019.
- Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
Now we appreciate that not all of you reading this are parents, but be it Grandparents, Auntie’s and Uncles, friends even neighbours, we believe that we all have a firm role to play in being the educators to our younger generation of how important is it for us to stay in shape and be healthy by eating smart and moving more. If this was our global communication could you imagine how different it would be? Children would recognise this as ‘the only way’, and would understand early on of its importance. WHO goes on to say that “Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. Overweight and obesity, as well as their related diseases, are largely preventable. Prevention of childhood obesity therefore needs high priority.” This shows even more so why it is important to get this from early on.
Therefore, we hope that by sharing with you some key tips on what you can do to eat smart and move more you will be able to be the leading role in this and be a good influence on our younger generation.
What are the causes?
So we know that there is an issue that needs some work, but what is it that causes these problems and how can we all ensure we are healthy and fit moving forwards and how can we encourage all ages to be the same too?
The main cause is the fact that there is a significant imbalance between the calories being consumed and calories being burnt. So what does this mean? Quite simple, we are eating too many foods that are high in sugar, fats (the wrong kind), and calories, and we are leading a more sedentary life as a whole by significant reducing our activity levels, for example, using transport more, watching television more, or having sedentary jobs.
So let’s look in part 1 of this series at how you can make some big differences by looking in more detail at your nutrition. The great news is that eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up all the foods you love. It also doesn’t mean that you have to start “dieting”. In fact, (you may be pleased to hear), we would hugely recommend against dieting. Why, we hear you ask? Well let’s ask you a question: When you consider a diet, is this something that you do in response to wanting to live a healthier life, or is it normally because you give yourself a goal of when you’d like to lose weight by, or get in shape by for example? We can bet you that it’s the second? Why do we know? Because whenever we think of changes that we need to make we often think these things only need to have a short shelf life, e.g. “I’m going to cut out bread” or “I’m going to give up alcohol” Great! But how long does this last for? Until the next social gathering you have, or until you are feeling low one day and just need that pick me up of lots of melted butter on a slice of toast?
Everything that we are suggesting is about lifestyle, so the plan isn’t that you do this until you get bored or reach your goal, you do this as a way of life. You will probably end up finding that after a time of living like this, and feeling the benefits of renewed energy and vigour you will want to ditch the junk anyway and continue to give your body the nutrient-dense fuel that it needs and deserves,
So what are some basics that you can incorporate and follow:
Set the Limits
Firstly, notice how we have said limit and not cut out! This really is an important concept to get your head around. Overall a good plan to follow would be to limit the food that is nutrient poor but calorie high. The key areas we would recommend putting limits on would be:
- The wrong type of fats. You need fat in your diet as it is an essential fatty acid that the body cannot produce itself, it also helps with the absorption of Vitamin A, D and E, as these can only be absorbed with the help of fats. However, it is the right type that is important, therefore we would highly recommend steering clear where possible of Saturated and Trans fats.
- Food and beverages with added sugar. These are not only artificial but will also end up being stored as fat as the body is not able to utilise too much sugar in one go.
- Alcohol. It goes without saying that too much alcohol is not good for us. It is recommended that we do not drink more than 14 units per week, and if we drink as much as this we should try to spread it over 3 or more days.
- Foods with sodium, and any added salt when cooking. Reducing this can huge benefits on your blood pressure.
- Fatty or processed red meats, this will be much better for your overall heart health.
Go for it
So we have spent time explaining what you should focus on limiting, but what about the recommendations? What is it that you should be aiming for?
- Aim to eat a variety of foods to ensure you are getting the vitamins, minerals, protein, whole grains and other nutrients that the body needs, all while maintaining good calorie balance.
- Aim to make your plate as colourful as possible, this will ensure the maximum vitamins and minerals.
- Opt for whole grain products where possible, as these have a better effect on the blood sugars and therefore help with any potential risk of diabetes.
- Focus on getting a variety of sources of protein such as fish, meat (as lean as possible), nuts, legumes, dark green leafy veg.
- Prepare: If you can have a plan as to what you are going to eat throughout the week you will find it much easier to stay focused and eat the right things. We always aim to create a meal plan and shopping list before we even consider hitting the shops. We find BBC Good Food a fantastic tool to help us with this.
- Opt for healthy snacks, and make this an easy option by having pre-chopped chopped veggies or fruit to hand.
- Aim to eat little and often, this will help to stabilise your blood sugars and avoid over eating. A good plan to follow is breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, evening meal, possibly another snack depending on timings, calorie requirements etc.
- Drink water! This is such a key one that so many people simply fail to make a priority. Let us make it even easier for you and give you a recommended amount of water that you should be drinking, see if you fall anywhere near that.
Body weight (kg) x 0.033 = litres per day.
- Low fat or no fat is best. How long have our baskets been full of low fat or no fat options? Yet our waistlines are continuing to get bigger, how does that make any sense? Well let us fill you in…. Since the 1980s there has been a boom in the low fat options available to us, this was all down to the message that we needed to reduce the amount of saturated fat in our diets in order to improve our health. This then resulted in the food industry getting to work to reduce the animal fat in our food with unsaturated vegetable oils, but in order for them to be used in place of solid fats some changes had to be made to the structure of the oil. Enter trans-fats… yup!! the ones we said to avoid. What you will also find is that in order for the foods to still taste nice, food manufacturers had to start adding more sugar so we continue to enjoy their taste and flavour. What does this then mean? We end up wanting more of those foods because of the nature of them on our blood sugar levels, so all portion control goes out of the window.
- Fats make you fat. While it is true that fat supplies more than twice the calories per gram of carbohydrates, as we have shown already, if you are eating the right fats in the right amount that is actually not the problem. Carbohydrates on the other hand, they tend to be the silent assassin: The body only has the ability to break down so much per sitting (meal) of Carbohydrates, and when these are broken down in the body they are broken down to sugars. The body then stores this if it can’t be utilised, as fat! So the saying should actually be: Fats don’t make you fat, Carbs do!
- I just need to eat less. In some cases this is absolutely true as many consume way more calories than they need. But people have the wrong perception that if you wanted to lose weight for example you just need to eat less, perhaps by skipping lunch as an example. What is really important to remember is that we all have a certain amount of calories each day that we need in order to function and to get the correct vitamins and minerals in to our diet. What also happens if we skip meals is that our blood sugar levels end up dropping too low, and the next time we do eat we end up eating more than we need, meaning all of the excess will be stored as fat. Therefore, the approach we should actually be going with is not to eat less (providing we are not way over our calorie intake requirements, which also comes down to the amount of exercise we are doing: Covered in part 2 of this series), but we need to eat the right type of foods. Which hopefully, is what we have covered above.
So there you have it, not only the reasons why we need to get a control of this, but also some tips that you can put straight in to place to make a difference to your life and our future generations.
What will be the first things that you change as a result of reading this? Or what have you already done that you have found really beneficial? Perhaps it is something that we haven’t mentioned today. We would love to hear from you.