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By Joy Healey
You would be mistaken to think only about exercise when you consider starting a keep fit program. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, exercise is important, but so is your diet. Real fitness means a healthy body...free from the problems that take all the fun out of life.
Fact: Our modern way of life contributes to a nutrient deficient diet - no matter how well fed we think we are.
Fact: Food refining strips up to 80% of minerals from food as nature intended it to be.
Fact: Our environment is damaged by air pollution, toxic chemicals and man-made pesticides that we have no control over.
We can live full, rich and healthy lives if we just take action and incorporate a few straight-forward changes in eating and life-style habits. But with so many fad diets, and so much conflicting information that even the experts seem unable to agree, it's no wonder you may have failed trying to improve your health and weight, by diet and/or exercise. In fact, it's not your fault and you're not alone. The UK Government's Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson pulled no punches in warning that much of the British public is becoming obese at an alarming rate.
What is particularly alarming is the fact that so many children are overweight too. We live in an age where parents are, understandably, anxious about children playing out in the streets, so instead they may spend hours in front of the computer or TV. Given that we live in what is commonly referred to as "The Information Age", this is very surprising; in which case why aren't we all slim, fit and healthy?
As a qualified nutritionist, I have been seeing clients since 1999, and come to a stark conclusion. There's more to "Keep Fit" than just exercise and diet. No matter how enthusiastic nutrition clients, or new gym recruits, start off, 80% of them will not follow-through with the long-term life-style changes needed to benefit from their new knowledge. Those who do not change will have wasted their money and time.
Consider two typical, but very different, clients - a busy Mum and a highly-stressed executive. Both are looking for advice on healthy eating and exercise. t is just too easy to wheel out a standard "Five-a-Day" and "30 minutes daily exercise on five or more days a week" formula, but this may be totally impossible for some clients. For most people, this advice is totally inadequate unless motivation and lifestyle are considered.
In addition to receiving advice on diet and supplements, clients need to seriously explore the benefits they'll experience from a healthier life-style, and to consider the consequences of not following through on what they've learned. Even when health consequences are clearly understood, some clients are still unable to commit to life-style changes - as evidenced by those continuing to smoke despite the health warning on cigarette packets.
While a one-off nutrition consultation or coaching session can be useful to kick-start you into a new way of eating and living, the effect can soon fade. To be successful, your health and fitness programme must fit into your life as an on-going program, so it's helpful to source a recurring series of practical tips on incorporating healthy eating into your every-day life.
A steady input of advice and new ideas is much more likely to keep you focused on healthy eating for healthy living.
Joy Healey qualified as a nutritionist in 2000, at the prestigious Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London. For regular health news and tips on healthy eating subscribe to her Healthy Eating for Health Living Tips at: http://www.HealthyEatingForHealthyLivingTips.com