Nutrition & Weight
This section will cover general guidance and some local links. We plan to interview local experts in the fields of nutrition and weight management to pass on their top tips too. Contact us if you have any suggestions about what else you’d like to see in this section.
What’s your relationship with food?
Our relationship with food and our bodies is often very complex; with emotional patterns operating at a subconscious level. It is important that we build relationships with our bodies that allow us to nurture ourselves and celebrate our individuality. It's not just about diet and exercise, often food is used as a coping strategy for handling difficult feelings – our extra weight can act as a buffer between us and these painful emotions. Some dieticians suggest that it can be useful to investigate the emotional desires around what you eat, eg by asking 'do I want something hot or cold; soft or crunchy?' before starting to prepare a meal or snack. Also, try noting your emotions as well as food intake in a food journal to see if there is link. Healthy diets do not have to be all about stringent calorie-counting but it's more about trying to find a place of balance where you are more in tune with your dietary needs.
NHS Eatwell advice
The NHS's 'Eatwell Plate' shows the different types of food people (but not very young children, who have different dietary needs) should eat to have a well-balanced and healthy diet. They are still recommending the 5-a-day rule for fruit and vegetables. There's plenty more information on their site.
The Livewell 2020 Diet
If you're interested in guidelines that also focus on environmental benefits, the WWF have worked with the Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health at Aberdeen University to produce the Livewell 2020 Diet:
- 35% fruit and vegetables
- 29% bread, rice, potato, pasta and other starchy foods
- 12% non-diary protein (4% meat; 4% beans and pulses; 3% fish: 1 % eggs; 0.3% nuts and seeds)
- 9% food and drinks high in sugar and/or fat
They suggests that you eat more seasonal, regionally-grown fruits, vegetables, more cereals, and less meat and highly-processed foods. The WWF also have a 7-day menu guide available if you need ideas – click here for link.
If you have any issues with weight, your first port of call should be your GP. Also, there are various local programmes available including:
Passport to Health (B&NES) – with access to a 12-week facility-based programme or community activator programme (link here)
MEND Programme – for children from 5-13 years who are aiming to manage their weight. It's a free community programme based at the B&NES leisure centres but you must pre-register to reserve a space: www.aquaterra.org/mend-in-bnes