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The Secret to Eating for Optimal Health: Tips for a Healthy Diet


As the new year approaches, it's a great time to reflect on our habits and make positive changes for the coming year. One area that can have a big impact on our overall health and well-being is our diet and hydration.


Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of whole, unprocessed foods is essential for good health. This includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It's also important to limit or avoid foods that are high in added sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats.


In addition to eating well, it's also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Water is essential for maintaining proper body function and can help keep energy levels up and support digestion. Aim to drink at least eight cups of water per day, and more if you are physically active or in a hot environment.


It's also important to be mindful of our alcohol consumption. While an occasional drink can be part of a healthy lifestyle, it's important to drink in moderation and be aware of the potential negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption on our health.


Making small changes to our diet and hydration habits can have a big impact on our overall health and well-being. As we approach the new year, consider making a commitment to eating and drinking more mindfully and making healthy choices for a happier and healthier you.


In this article we will look at:

  1. Unprocessed foods

  2. Processed foods

  3. Nutritional information on food packaging

  4. Meal replacement diets

  5. Drinks and beverages

  6. Enjoying alcohol safely

  7. Self-Hypnosis for healthy weight.

  8. Working with a dietician

  9. Virtual Gastric Band

So what are unprocessed foods?


Whole, unprocessed foods are foods that are minimally processed and do not contain any added ingredients such as sugar, salt, or preservatives. These types of foods are generally considered to be healthier because they are closer to their natural state and have not had any of their nutrients removed or altered.


Examples of whole, unprocessed foods include:


  • Fruits and vegetables: Fresh, frozen, or canned (without added sugars or preservatives)

  • Whole grains: Oats, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat bread

  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, chickpeas

  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds

  • Lean proteins: Chicken, turkey, fish, tofu


Eating a diet that includes a variety of whole, unprocessed foods can provide the body with the nutrients it needs to function properly and support overall health. These foods are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that are important for maintaining energy levels, supporting digestion, and promoting overall well-being.


So what are processed foods?


In contrast, processed foods are often high in added sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats, and can contribute to a range of health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Limiting processed foods and choosing whole, unprocessed options instead can help support good health and prevent chronic diseases. Having said that, we are all entitled to a treat now again but learning to limit these treats is the objective.



It's important to limit or avoid foods that are high in added sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats because these ingredients can have negative effects on our health.


Added sugars: Foods and beverages that are high in added sugars can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Added sugars are often found in processed foods such as baked goods, sweets, and sugary drinks, and can also be hidden in foods that are labeled as "healthy," such as granola bars and fruit juices. It's important to read labels and choose foods that are low in added sugars.


Salt: Consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Processed and packaged foods are often high in salt, so it's important to choose fresh or minimally processed options and to use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour foods.


Unhealthy fats: Foods that are high in unhealthy fats, such as trans fats and saturated fats, can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. These types of fats are often found in fried foods, processed snack foods, and baked goods. It's important to choose foods that are high in healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts, and to limit or avoid foods that are high in unhealthy fats.


Examples of foods that are high in added sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats include:

  • Cakes and Sweets

  • Sugary drinks, such as soda and fruit juices

  • Packaged snack foods, such as crisps and crackers

  • Frozen dinners and fast food

  • Fried foods, such as fried chicken and French fries

  • Baked goods, such as pastries and doughnuts

  • Processed meats, such as bacon and sausage

  • Creamy sauces and dressings

Limiting or avoiding these types of foods and choosing healthier options instead can help support good health and prevent chronic diseases.


Understanding the nutritional information on food packaging


Understanding the nutritional information on food packaging can help you make informed decisions about the foods you eat and how they fit into your overall diet.


Tips for interpreting the nutritional information on food labels:

  • Serving size: The first thing to look at is the serving size, which is listed at the top of the label. This will tell you how much of the product is considered one serving. It's important to pay attention to this, as the nutritional information listed on the label is based on this serving size.

  • Calories: The number of calories per serving is listed next. This tells you how much energy you'll get from eating one serving of the food. If you're trying to lose weight, you may want to choose foods that are lower in calories.

  • Macronutrients: The label will also list the amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrates in one serving. These are called macronutrients, and they're an important part of our diet. Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates all provide energy, but they also have different effects on our bodies. For example, fats are a rich source of energy, but they can also contribute to weight gain if you consume too much.

  • Micronutrients: The label will also list the amount of various micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that are present in one serving of the food. These micronutrients are essential for maintaining good health and performing important bodily functions.

  • % Daily Value: The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much of a specific nutrient a serving of the food provides in relation to the recommended daily intake. For example, if the label says that a serving of the food provides 20% of the DV for iron, it means that the serving provides 20% of the recommended daily intake of iron.

  • Ingredient list: Finally, be sure to check the ingredient list, which is usually found at the bottom of the label. This will tell you what ingredients are used to make the food and in what order they appear by weight. Foods with shorter ingredient lists and ingredients that you recognize and can pronounce are generally healthier choices.

By understanding the nutritional information on food labels, you can make informed decisions about the foods you eat and how they fit into your overall diet.


Meal replacement diets:


Meal replacement diets, also known as meal replacement shakes or bars, are a convenient way to get all of the nutrients your body needs in a single serving. These products are designed to be a quick and easy alternative to traditional meals, making them a popular choice for people looking to lose weight, gain weight, or simply maintain a healthy lifestyle.


One of the biggest advantages of meal replacement diets is their convenience. Instead of having to prepare a full meal, you can simply grab a shake or bar and go. This is especially beneficial for people with busy schedules or those who don't have access to healthy food options.


Meal replacement diets are also typically balanced and nutritionally complete, meaning they provide all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs to function properly. This can make them a more convenient and healthy option compared to fast food or other unhealthy meal options.


However, there are also some potential drawbacks to meal replacement diets. One concern is that they may not be as satisfying as traditional meals, which can lead to feelings of hunger and cravings. Additionally, some people may have difficulty digesting certain ingredients found in meal replacement products, such as soy or dairy.


Another potential disadvantage is that meal replacement diets can be more expensive than preparing meals at home. This may not be an issue for some people, but it can be a concern for those on a tight budget.


Will a meal replacement diet help me lose weight fast?



It is possible that a meal replacement diet may help you lose weight fast, as these products are typically lower in calories and portion-controlled. However, it is important to note that weight loss is not solely determined by the type of diet you follow, but rather a combination of factors including your overall calorie intake, physical activity level, and genetics.


While meal replacement diets may be a convenient and nutritionally balanced option for weight loss, it is important to make sure you are choosing a product that meets your individual needs and preferences. Some meal replacement products may be higher in protein to help support muscle mass during weight loss, while others may be geared towards providing a balance of nutrients for overall health.


It is also important to note that it is not healthy or safe to lose weight too quickly. Rapid weight loss can lead to a number of negative health consequences, including muscle loss, nutrient deficiencies, and an unhealthy relationship with food. It is generally recommended to aim for a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week, which can be achieved through a combination of calorie reduction and increased physical activity.


If you are considering starting a meal replacement diet for weight loss, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine if it is a safe and appropriate option for you. They can help you develop a plan that meets your individual needs and goals.


What low calories treats can I have while on a meal replacement diet?


While following a meal replacement diet, it is important to pay attention to your overall calorie intake to ensure that you are losing weight at a healthy and sustainable rate. Here are a few low calorie snack ideas that you can incorporate into your meal replacement diet:

  • Fresh fruit: Fruits such as berries, apples, and citrus fruits are low in calories and high in fibre, making them a healthy and satisfying snack.

  • Raw vegetables: Raw vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers are low in calories and packed with nutrients. You can dip them in a low calorie hummus or Greek yogurt for added flavor.

  • Air-popped popcorn: Popcorn is a low calorie and high fiber snack that can be a satisfying alternative to chips or crackers.

  • Hard-boiled eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and can be a satisfying snack when you are feeling hungry.

  • Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is a high protein, low calorie snack that can be enjoyed on its own or topped with fresh fruit or a sprinkle of nuts.


It is important to remember to pay attention to portion sizes, as even low calorie snacks can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. It is also a good idea to choose snacks that are nutritionally balanced to ensure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs.


In conclusion, meal replacement diets can be a convenient and nutritionally balanced option for people looking to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, they may not be as satisfying as traditional meals and can be more expensive. It is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of meal replacement diets before making a decision.

Next, let's look at Drinks and Beverages



There are many drinks and beverages that can be included in a healthy diet. Some options include:

  • Water: Water is the best choice for hydration, as it has no calories, sugar, or other additives. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

  • Unsweetened tea: Tea is a good source of antioxidants, and unsweetened varieties can be a healthy choice.

  • Unsweetened coffee: Like tea, coffee is a good source of antioxidants. However, be sure to limit your intake, as too much caffeine can have negative effects on your health.

  • Low-fat milk and plant-based milk alternatives: Milk and plant-based milk alternatives, such as almond milk or soy milk, can be a good source of protein and other nutrients. Just be sure to choose low-fat or non fat options to limit your intake of saturated fat.

  • 100% fruit juice: While fruit juice can be a good source of vitamins and minerals, it's important to choose 100% fruit juice and limit your intake, as it can also be high in sugar.


On the other hand, there are also some drinks and beverages that should be limited in a healthy diet. These include:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: Drinks like soda, sports drinks, and sweetened iced teas are high in added sugars, which can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of chronic diseases.

  • Alcohol: While it's okay to have an occasional drink, it's important to limit your alcohol intake. Excess alcohol can increase the risk of a number of health problems, including liver disease and certain types of cancer.

By choosing healthy drinks and limiting your intake of unhealthy options, you can help support a healthy diet.


Enjoying alcohol safely.

How we can enjoy alcohol safely without cutting it out altogether and what are the worst alcoholic drinks for trying to maintain a healthy diet?


It's possible to enjoy alcohol safely without cutting it out altogether, but it's important to do so in moderation. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.


Here are some tips for enjoying alcohol safely while maintaining a healthy diet:


Limit your intake: As mentioned, it's important to limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.


Choose lower-calorie options: Some alcoholic drinks are higher in calories than others. For example, a 12-ounce beer can have around 150 calories, while a 5-ounce glass of wine can have around 100 calories. If you're trying to maintain a healthy diet, you may want to choose lower-calorie options, such as light beer or vodka with soda water and a splash of lime.


Don't drink on an empty stomach: Alcohol can be more intoxicating when you drink it on an empty stomach, so it's a good idea to eat something before you drink.


Avoid sugary mixers: If you're mixing your alcohol with something, be sure to avoid sugary mixers like soda or fruit juice, as these can add a lot of extra calories. Instead, choose low-calorie mixers like soda water or tonic water.


As for the worst alcoholic drinks for trying to maintain a healthy diet, some examples include:

Mixed drinks made with sugary mixers: Cocktails made with sugary mixers like soda or fruit juice can be very high in calories.


Sweet liqueurs: Liqueurs like Bailey's Irish Cream or Kahlua can be high in sugar and calories.


Malt liquor: Beers like malt liquor tend to be higher in alcohol content and calories.

By following these tips and being mindful of your alcohol intake, you can enjoy alcohol safely while maintaining a healthy diet.


If a person has a serious weight problem, is it advisable to work with a dietician in order to get the situation under control.


It is generally advisable for people with serious weight problems to work with a healthcare professional, such as a dietitian, to develop a plan for losing weight in a healthy and sustainable way.


A dietitian can help you determine the appropriate calorie intake for your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level, and can also provide guidance on how to make healthy food choices and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. It's important to remember that losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight are long-term commitments that require a combination of healthy eating, physical activity, and other lifestyle changes. Working with a dietitian can help you develop the skills and strategies you need to make lasting changes and achieve your weight loss goals. Using Self-Hypnosis help to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle


Self-hypnosis is a technique that involves entering a state of focused concentration in which you can access your unconscious mind. Many people believe that Self-Hypnosis can be used to help change behaviours and habits, including those related to diet and lifestyle.


There is research suggesting that Self-Hypnosis may be helpful in promoting weight loss and healthy eating habits. For example, one study found that participants who received Self-Hypnosis treatment in addition to a weight loss program lost more weight and had better eating habits than those who only received the weight loss program.


However, it's important to note that Self-Hypnosis is not a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. A healthy diet and lifestyle involve making a range of changes to your habits, including eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods, being physically active, and getting enough sleep.


If you're interested in trying Self-Hypnosis to control your weight and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, take a look at our downloadable session HERE Sharon Shinwell is a U.K. qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist who has been helping people maintain a healthy lifestyle for over 20 years

Virtual Gastric Band.



A Virtual gastric band is a weight loss program that uses Hypnosis and other techniques to mimic the effects of a surgical gastric band. The virtual gastric band program is based on the idea that hypnosis can help people to change their eating habits and behaviours, leading to weight loss.


During the virtual gastric band program, a person is put into a state of deep relaxation through hypnosis. While in this state, the person is given suggestions and affirmations that the virtual gastric band has been placed around their stomach, making them feel full more quickly and satisfied with smaller amounts of food.


There is no actual physical gastric band involved in the virtual gastric band program, and it is not considered a medical treatment. Some people may find it helpful as a complement to other weight loss efforts, but it is not a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise. Our downloadable Virtual Gastric Band session has been one of our most popular recordings in recent years.

In Conclusion.


In conclusion, healthy eating is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It involves making mindful choices about the types and quantities of foods we consume, as well as paying attention to how we prepare and consume them.


By following the principles above, you can enjoy a wide range of delicious and nourishing foods, while also supporting your overall health and well-being. Remember, every small step towards healthier eating habits can make a big difference in the long run.




I am Sharon Shinwell a UK qualified clinical hypnotherapist. I recently retired from my face-to-face hypnotherapy practice. However, I am able to continue to help individuals through my range of downloadable Self-Hypnosis sessions that address a variety of issues. With my extensive knowledge and experience in the field of hypnotherapy, I am able to provide effective solutions for those seeking to improve their mental and physical health and emotional well-being.


You can see my full range of downloadable sessions HERE


"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."