Sunday 25 September 2016

Siobhan Byrne: Are you fooling yourself about what you eat?

Portion control and better food choices are key, but there's no need to starve, says our fitness expert

Siobhan Byrne

Published 21/06/2016 | 02:30

Siobhan Byrne: adopting a balanced meal plan is about choosing better options.
Siobhan Byrne: adopting a balanced meal plan is about choosing better options.
Chicken salad
Spiderman 1
Spiderman 2
Spiderman 3
Alternating superman 1
Alternating superman 2
Plank

In life, we need to develop a better attitude towards training and eating, which will make it easier to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Some diets, for example, don't work simply because cutting down too much on your intake isn't sustainable in the longer term.

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Another important factor is that what may have worked for you in your twenties may no longer work in your thirties, forties or fifties.

Our metabolism slows down as we get older and yo-yo dieting does not help.

One of the classic mistakes that women in particular make is to cut calories too harshly, effectively starving themselves and calling it a diet - but this is doing more damage to your already slowing metabolism.

Adopting a balanced meal plan is not about living on a carrot stick - it's about choosing better options, foods that are better for you nutritionally and that fuel your body more adequately.

A great start, for example, would be to choose the chicken salad with dressing on the side for lunch rather than the stodgy, carbohydrate-loaded sandwich.

Why not get rid of the sugary cereal and opt for eggs instead, which will fill you for longer and help control insulin spikes. These two options alone can make such a calorie and nutritional difference to your day, and will provide better fuel for your body.

Portion control too is key to helping you lose body fat. Many people will start off with the best of intentions, baking the fresh batch of protein cookies or healthy banana bread for that evening treat but then demolish the lot almost in one go.

So keep an eye on the quantities you are eating.

Remember too that eating a healthy balanced diet doesn't mean food needs to be boring - just do a bit of planning ahead and you can have tasty, nutritious meals prepared and waiting for your return home in the evenings.

And there is also no need to reach full satiety after each meal - always leave a bit of room.

This week, to help you build your fitness, I have put together three great core exercises - the spiderman, alternating superman and the plank - all of which will help you develop upper body strength and improve your posture while you run.

Focus on healthy eating

Spiderman

1/ Start in the top position of a push-up with your arms straight.

2/ Then bend your elbows and lower your body towards the floor while at the same time bending one knee and bringing it up to your elbow with your foot off the floor. Push back up to the top position and repeat with the opposite leg.

3/ For a more advanced exercise, try the crawling version of this. Start with your right knee at your elbow, immediately extend your right hand out to crawl, then bring your left knee towards the left elbow, repeating the move.

Return to start position

Alternating  Superman

1/ Lie face down with your abdomen on a BOSU and your legs straight, with your arms outstretched overhead. Then raise one arm and the opposite leg straight up off the floor.

2/ Lower both leg and arm and repeat with the other arm and leg, keeping your arms and legs straight throughout.

Return to start position

Plank

1/ Start by lying on your elbows and forearms and on your toes, with body straight and with your hips and back in line, and tummy tucked in. Hold the position in place for 15-30 seconds then slowly rest down.

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