Looking for inspiration to help you stick to your health goals? Find out BMI Consultant’s goals, motivations, tips and techniques for making healthy lifestyle changes that last.
“10 years ago I couldn’t run for a minute, but since then I’ve run a couple of marathons.”
Mr Jonathan Peter Walczak, Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma surgeon, BMI Chelsfield Park, The Sloane, Shirley Oaks and The London Independent hospitals.
"Last year I was one of so many people who made grandiose resolutions to radically turn their lives around that were impractical, unsustainable - and were never successful.
"I learnt the hard way that small steps are the way forward. Little changes to how you eat, exercise and your day-to-day activities pay huge dividends if you are prepared to put in the time. It’s about changing habits forever rather than being good for a few weeks as penance for your past sins!
"I speak as somebody who 10 years ago couldn’t run for a minute and has now managed to run a couple of marathons. This wasn’t through any Herculean effort, just through lots of small changes through the year.
"These can be as simple as getting a step meter to encourage you to walk 10,000 steps a day, competing with other people in a friendly way, getting off the bus or tube one stop beforehand, always using stairs rather than lifts. Housework and gardening are surprisingly high in terms of metabolic expenditure.
"In terms of diet, it is remarkable how effective a low carbohydrate, high protein diet is for losing weight and giving you energy, and we should really never forget sleeping. It is incredible how many of us are sleep deprived and it is really important to give yourself some sleep hygiene before you sleep at night.
"You are never too old to make a change; the UK National Institute for Healthcare Excellence said in 2015, ‘disability, dementia and frailty CAN be prevented or delayed’.
"Exercise need not be as hard as you may think. 150 minutes per week will make a huge difference and everything counts!
"Finally, life is for living, take care and never forget to treat yourself now and then, just don’t make it a habit!"
“Yoga is helping me eliminate the awful creaking groan I make when I stand up”
Mr Richard Sinnerton, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at BMI The Princess Margaret Hospital, Windsor
"This year I aim to stop sounding like an old man when I get out of my chair! Like all the best resolutions, I started In October, not January. How am I eliminating the awful creaking groan I make when I stand up? I’ve taken up yoga! Once a week I squeeze into my lycra tights and head off for an hour’s Vinyasa flow.
"For the first few weeks the groaning actually got worse as parts that hadn’t been stretched since I was a toddler (perhaps that’s why there are positions called child’s pose and happy baby?) were put through the wringer. It does seem to be working though. I’m getting a bit bendier and am moving more easily - and the groaning seems to be going.
"Regaining flexibility is probably one of the most important aspects for staying fit and healthy into later middle-age. Many of us do some exercise and, although we could certainly be fitter, we certainly aren’t couch potatoes. However it does require a specific effort to counteract the stiffness that comes with age. Yoga is one of the best ways to deal with that. You should go to a regular class but there are lots of excellent apps that allow you to do keep up with your practice at home.
"And if you think yoga isn’t macho enough for you, there is a recent ex-England rugby captain in our class!"
“It’s time that I started to heed my own advice”
Mr Neil Haldar, Consultant Urologist at BMI The Chiltern and The Shelburne hospitals, Buckinghamshire
"Two major life events have started to erode that feeling of invincibility we had in our youth. Firstly, I will be hitting my half century in 2018 and turning 50, and secondly a member of my family has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"As a urologist I’m used to advising men with prostate cancer. I know that some of that advice would have been more useful if it were given to those men in their younger years to help them reduce the risk in the first place. It’s time that I started to heed that advice myself.
"There is increasing evidence that diet and exercise can have a significant influence in the development of many cancers. With prostate cancer, animal fats and animal protein can have a detrimental effect, whilst a diet that is high in vegetables, fruit and nuts has been shown to reduce the risk. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of cancers, including prostate cancer, whilst obesity increases the risk.
"My New Year's resolution is to eat red meat no more than once a week and to cut out processed meats altogether. I also intend to add a portion of fruit and nuts to my breakfast cereal and add an extra spoonful of vegetables to my dinner plate. I’ll also undertake at least one long walk or bike ride every weekend. And while it’s not always possible to hit the gym every evening, but at work I can certainly use the stairs instead of the lift and walk or cycle for short trips to the shops and leave the car at home. 10,000 steps a day will be my target."
“Cutting out a chocolate a day saved me 60,000 calories”
Mr Jonathan Ross, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, BMI Kings Park Hospital, Stirlingshire
"I was always partial to the odd chocolate bar when my clinic was too busy to take a proper lunch break. Last New Year’s day I started to follow a simple rule - I never deny myself anything but before I eat anything unhealthy, I always eat a piece of fruit.
"Most of the time, that's enough to stave off the craving. Over the year, cutting out a chocolate bar a day saved me nearly 60,000 calories. That’s equivalent to 17lbs in weight!"
Read more health tips from BMI Consultants
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