Three BMI consultants share their top health priorities for 2019 to inspire you.
1. Start every day the right way
Mrs J Earl. Consultant bariatric dietician,BMI The Chiltern Hospital
As the adage goes, we should be eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper but medieval titles aside, it’s certainly true that breakfast is regarded as the most important meal of the day.
My morning meal provides the energy necessary to replenish my body after sleep – and breakfast, while being a good source of energy to start the day, can also stop me snacking before lunch and increase my morning productivity. Some studies have shown that skipping breakfast is associated with higher levels of obesity.
Cereal is a popular breakfast choice as it’s easy and often seen as quite healthy, but as a processed food many varieties can have added sugars. I prefer a breakfast that is heavier in protein than sugars as proteins are where most energy comes from so I feel fuller for longer.
I would recommend a breakfast of oatmeal or Greek yoghurt – mix it with a portion of dried fruit and nuts or seeds for added nutrients and to start the count towards one of your five a day. If you have more time to spare eggs are a great option due to their high protein and vitamin D content – just remember poached and boiled are the healthiest.
2. Apply the ‘balanced diet’ rule to your exercise regime
Mr Ahmad Malik, Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon and Sports Specialist, BMI The Shelburne Hospital and BMI The Chiltern Hospital
It never fails to amaze me when a runner with a foot and ankle problem tells me their training regime is along the lines of 'two 5k and one 10k runs a week, and that’s pretty much it.' That’s like me saying I have a healthy diet and eat an apple for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, and nothing else. Sure, an apple is healthy and good for you, but a diet composed of nothing else? I don’t think so.
I make sure I have a healthy ‘diet’ of exercise with elements of muscle conditioning, strengthening, core stability, flexibility and aerobic exercises. Studies have shown that many middle aged runners with Achilles pain, for example, have very poor hip and gluteal muscle strength that increases forces going through the Achilles as a result.
So, do what I do: don’t just put your trainers on and clock up the miles, but train effectively and smart. Prevention is better than cure.
3. Work that pelvic floor (it’s not just for women)
Mr Ian Currie, Consultant Gynaecologist, BMI The Chiltern Hospital
I realise that working as a gynaecologist in the area of pelvic floor disorders is not that glamorous. In the field of medicine, urinary incontinence and prolapse has never been in the top 10 of areas for aspiring medics to climb to, but it does have its benefits.
Approaching what is now considered established middle aged-dom, I am now having to cope with the inevitable aches and pains from years of bad posture at work. For years I have advised women to exercise their pelvic floor and strengthen their core in order to obtain an Olympic-style performance of their pelvic floor muscle. Little did I realise how valuable this would be on a personal level.
My exposure to the field of physiotherapy and core strengthening has had a dramatic improvement on my own quality of life. As I continue to do exercises which are generally omitted from the usual male gym repertoire and more commonly in the Pilates classes, I have found my back pain has diminished to almost zero.