Readers of You Glow Girl, have I got a treat for you! I was lucky enough to sit down with the top Harley Street nutritionist, Rhiannon Lambert BSc, MSc, ANutr. She’s an expert in weight management, eating disorders and sports nutrition, and founder of Rhitrition, a leading private practice.
Her credentials are endless. From being a qualified personal trainer to the author of Re-nourish: A Simple Way to Eat Well (www.amazon.co.uk/Re-Nourish-Simple-Way-Eat-Well), Rhiannon’s masterful approach to nutritional has seen her work with many of the world’s most influential names. Head to rhitrition.com to find out more.
I wanted to quiz Rhiannon on how to manage our moods as the cold and dark sets in. I’ve long preached about the benefits of winter self-care, and Rhiannon agrees, saying, ‘I know all too well what it can feel like when the days get darker, the struggle to maintain a happy and upbeat persona is real!’ And so, here she is, offering us her tried and tested methods to help beat the winter blues.
The first thing Rhiannon advises to keep our bodies and minds functionally optimally is to EAT WELL:
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can do a lot to improve your mood and sense of wellbeing. In fact, exploring the relationship between what you eat and how you feel can be really eye opening. Food and mood are now being researched heavily, suggesting that an improved diet can lead towards more positive feelings, clearer thinking, more energy and calmer moods.
Our happy hormone, known as Serotonin, is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps to relay messages from one area of the brain to another. It’s believed to influence a variety of psychological and other bodily functions. Most of our brain cells are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin. We now know that serotonin is produced largely in the gut and from our diet, which may explain why some people with low serotonin levels claim to feel better when eating sugar. This is obviously not the optimal healthy pathway to alleviate our mood and unfortunately it can lead to binge eating, not to mention an unhealthy relationship with food.
Instead you can help serotonin production by consuming plenty of complex carbohydrates and quality protein containing the amino acid tryptophan. For example, meat, fish, eggs and oats – these amino acids are then converted into serotonin.
Exercise is any movement that makes your muscles work and requires your body to burn energy. We should all aim to do a combination of aerobic activity and strength exercises each week to keep fit and healthy. However, exercise is so much more than just a weight management tool. It can help you manage stress, pick up your mood, aid your energy levels, concentration and enable you to lead a healthy, fulfilled life.
There are so many types of exercise – from swimming to dancing, running to walking – and being active in all these different ways has been shown to have countless health benefits, both physical and mental. As a Personal Trainer myself, my advice would be to pick an exercise you enjoy, make it fun and see the bigger picture. Small changes can have big results. Try taking the stairs instead of the lift, or even getting up every hour from your desk to take a walk.
Too many of us are simply not drinking enough, but how much water should you drink every day? Estimates report the average Briton drinks less than 1 glass of water a day, preferring instead to take in fluids in the form of sugary drinks, tea, coffee and juices.
Our bodies are comprised largely of water so it’s understandable that every function inside our body depends on it to do its job well. Cells, organs and tissues all need water and it’s absolutely essential that we drink enough. And when we have enough water we become more efficient at losing it too, through sweating and urination. This is crucial to eradicate toxins from the body and prevent us from becoming unwell.
When we are feeling low and lethargic, this may sometimes be a sign of dehydration, believe me you will notice the difference when you set yourself the task of drinking more water every day. On average, we should be aiming for at least 1.5L a day.
RESPECT YOUR BODY:
Taking enough time for yourself, to recuperate, can be beneficial for your mind and your body. Getting enough sleep at night can sometimes be all it takes to make a difference between having an OK day and an amazing day. We all know when we don’t get enough sleep we feel grouchy, and this can affect the rest of the day, and even your immune system, too. So be mindful in the winter months – give yourself rest to maintain your health.
Additionally, sleep is important for various aspects of brain function. This includes cognition, concentration, productivity and performance. All of these are negatively affected by sleep deprivation. Good sleep, on the other hand, has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance the memory performance of both children and adults.
I have developed four easy to remember principles to help you put yourself first. THE FOUR R’S:
Regardless of any ailment or specific concerns, I ask every client of mine in to see food as nourishment and something that affects both your mind and body. With many my clients leading active lifestyles, above all else I ask them to follow four easy to remember principles which I see as the corner stones to optimal health.
You and your body deserve the best, so make it a priority to see eating as an opportunity to nourish. If you treat your body right, it will treat you right.
Don’t waste your time being active without refuelling your body with nutrition. You really can’t out train a bad diet.
Most of the human body is water, so it makes perfect sense that we need to keep our levels topped up. All too many of us are simply not drinking enough.
Recovery encompasses more than just muscle repair. Recovery involves restoring your chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system, mental state, and so much more. Don’t ignore your body when it asks to be rested.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY:
In my experience, most people look to others to tell them what will work for their body instead of listening to their own. This is such an important thing to address and one of the most underestimated and challenging tasks within my clinic. No one is smarter than your own body when it comes to what you need. I teach my clients how to learn the skills to tune into your body’s needs, putting emotion and judgment to one side. Learning about your body’s requirements, listening to your body and addressing its needs really works.
So, there you have it, a top nutritionist’s guide to staying well during the winter month. I for one will be trying to follow Rhiannon’s advice! Do you have any winter self-care tips you’d like to share? If so, pop then in the comments below!
ALSO Rhianan interviewed me for her brand new podcast Food For Thought, check it out below!