Dr Marilyn Glenville

A new year is almost like a fresh start – a new beginning that gives us the possibility of thinking: ‘What about a new you?’ We have also probably gone overboard at Christmas – some people can consume up to 6,000 calories on Christmas Day when 2,000 a day is the recommendation for women – and we therefore believe that now is the time for change.

It is estimated that most people only maintain their New Year’s resolution for about a week to ten days, and it is thought that the problem is people give themselves unrealistic, unachievable goals which they can’t keep up.

We do get stuck in routines and ways of doing things, or not doing them, so it can be difficult to make changes.

I have always thought that it is better to have achievable short-term goals that you can stick to, see the difference, and then add some more in as you gain in confidence.

Nearly everybody needs to think about eliminating added sugar for 80 per cent of the time in their diet, and while there will always be the odd blips, like Christmas, birthdays and weddings, it is what they do every day that makes the difference.

Sugar and foods that are broken down into sugar quickly (e.g. white flour) are the major culprits behind most people’s health problems, and having low or no fat is not the issue.

When I think of many of the symptoms that women – especially those who come into the clinic in Tunbridge Wells – complain about, they mainly include irritability, aggressive outbursts, palpitations, lack of sex drive, crying spells, dizziness, anxiety, confusion, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, fatigue, insomnia, headaches and muscle cramps.

These are all symptoms that can be due to fluctuating blood sugar caused by sugar, and also long gaps without eating.

Balancing blood sugar is also essential in lowering stress, because the crashes in blood sugar levels which happen through the day stimulate more adrenaline to be released.

Some top tips on how to achieve a healthier life:

  • Eliminate: Take out of your diet
    all the savoury foods that contain added sugar. This might be as
    simple as just changing the brand
    so you keep the same food but the ingredients are healthier. Foods to think about are tomato (spaghetti) sauces, mayonnaise, salad dressings, baked beans and soups.
  • Just say no: Stop adding sugar to your hot drinks and other foods. Some people will sprinkle sugar on to their cereal in the morning when there is already a lot of sugar added to it – remember to read those packets. This is similar to people who sprinkle salt on their food before tasting it, when it might be salty enough. Wean yourself off added sugar, gradually diminishing the amount you use each day over a period of days or maybe weeks.
  • You are what you eat: Include some protein every time you eat, i.e. fish, eggs, quinoa, tofu, beans, nuts and seeds and natural bio yogurt. This slows down the release of sugar and thus keeps levels more stable. It’s also beneficial to eat a serving
    of dark green leafy vegetables or salad daily.
  • Treat time: Try snacking on dried fruit and unsalted nuts and seeds (for protein) to help when you might get a craving for sugar or chocolate.
  • Get moving: Add in an extra 30 minutes of exercise a week, or if you have not been exercising, start with 30 minutes exercising a week. After a month, you can add in another 30 minutes.

Dr Marilyn Glenville, PhD, is the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s health. She is Former President of the Food and Health Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine and author of a number of internationally bestselling books, including The Natural Health Bible for Women. Her book Natural Alternatives to Sugar is available from Amazon.

Dr Glenville runs clinics in Tunbridge Wells, Harley Street, London and Ireland. If you are interested in a consultation, call Dr Glenville’s clinic on 01892 515905 or email: health@marilynglenville.com or visit www.marilynglenville.com

Next week: We show you how you can create delicious yet healthy recipes to include in your New Year repertoire