Looking for a fresh start? Enter Dietician Rebecca Gawthorne

It’s that time again – the start of a new year. As 2016 roles around, it has a different meaning for all of us. For some, it’s just another day, but for others, it marks a fresh start. January 1st is the home to New Years resolutions – the reason for the mosh pit on the gym floor! It can get so crowded, you’d think Taylor Swift was giving a free concert while you worked out!

According to Finder.com.au, nearly 60% of all New Years resolutions in 2015 were health and fitness based. Whether it be due to the oversharing of post gym selfies, the magnitude of green smoothies or just knowing it’s time for change, fitness goals are two-fold – food and exercise.

Health and fitness goals require a full lifestyle improvement. No one said it’d be easy and the change won’t necessarily happen overnight, but once implemented, you’ll feel better on your positive path as you skip down the yellow brick road. For some, it may just be a small tweak such as cutting down the amount of ice-cream consumption per week, (I’m still working on that one!) or maybe it’s a complete switch like trying to incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables with each meal. Whatever it may be, help from a qualified dietician can be beneficial to make your positive changes permanent.

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Enter Rebecca Gawthorne. Rebecca is an accredited dietician and nutritionist with a vision to create a healthier world. And if her qualifications aren’t enough, she’s also the instagrammer behind the amazingly colourful account, that more than 100K people are following, @nourrish_naturally.

I sat down with Rebecca for a little Q&A to get answers to some of the questions we may have when looking for that fresh start.

Q: The new year is almost here and there’ll be many people making health and fitness resolutions. What are your tips for making achievable and maintainable goals that will stick?

A: Make your new “year” resolutions into new “life” resolutions. Make your goals something you want to do fro the rest of your life. For example, you want to eat healthier, make it a complete life change that you will do, not just attempt for the first week of January.

Q: Is there a diet that actually works?

A: “Diet” originally meant, “way of eating”, but now when we hear the word diet, we think of restricting food to lose weight. There is no diet that works for everyone, it all comes down to healthy eating. This means healthy, nutritious, real, whole foods and in appropriate amounts, which differs for each individual.

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Q: Speaking of a healthy diet, how can we fit pasta into it?

A: Easy! Just choose a wholegrain or veggie pasta (e.g. zoodles or sweet potato pasta) and keep the portion to about the size of your clenched fist.

Q: Women especially need to make sure they’re having a large iron intake. What are some other foods besides the typical red meat that can increase our intakes?

A: Beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, and green leafy veggies (kale, spinach, broccoli etc) are all great sources of iron. It’s important however to note thought that there are certain factors that can affect iron absorption. You can increase your bodies uptake of plant iron like spinach by combining it with vitamin C. So by adding tomato, capsicum or a squeeze of lemon juice for example, it will help to increase the absorption of the iron. Tea, coffee and calcium can prevent iron from being absorbed, so aim to avoid drinking your tea and coffee with your meals.

Q: What’s the best way to cook our vegetables?

A: Steaming, stir-frying and baking are all great! But don’t boil your veggies! If you boil your veggies, this can cause the water soluble vitamins to leach out of them.

Q: Juicing or smoothies?

A: I prefer smoothies. Most types of juicing actually remove a lot of the fibre, vitamins and antioxidants from the fruit and vegetables.

Q: What are your go-to tips when food prepping?

A: Chop up your veggies like pumpkin, zucchini, broccoli etc. and keep them in a large plastic container in the fridge for quick and easy cooking.

Q: What are a few post-workout snacks we should incorporate after exercise, and why is it important to do so?

A: Post-workout, it’s important to have a combination of protein and carbs. Some quick and easy options can be a piece of fruit with a small tub of yoghurt, fruit smoothie or peanut butter spread on a banana or some dates.

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Q: For many people, the gym just isn’t there thing – what are some other easy ways to incorporate physical activity into our lives?

A: I personally don’t go to the gym because I prefer to exercise outdoors! If you don’t like the gym, there are so many other ways you can stay healthy, fit and active. Take the dog for a walk/run, swim at the beach, play tennis or kick a soccer ball around with a friend, do a plyo workout at a park, go for a walk with a family member…the list is endless!

Q: What’s your go-to workout?

A: I love running! Long runs, beach runs, hill runs, stair runs! I’ve also recently gotten into KX Pilates and it has been the BEST thing I have ever done for whole body toning and strength. KX Pilates is based on the ‘Isolate-Stretch-Fatigue’ principle and uses reformer machines. It burns a huge amount of calories whilst strengthening, stretching and toning muscles. It’s fin and dynamic and the sessions are never the same!

No one said a fresh start would be easy, but as Rebecca says, it’s all about balance. “Treat yourself, but make healthy swaps,” she goes on, “You don’t always need to drink alcohol and have cake at dessert. Make healthy swaps like choosing water instead or alcohol and fresh fruit for dessert. But make sure you’re keeping your exercise routine going too! Prioritise your training, even if it means waking up an hour earlier to fit your exercise in.