How To Indulge And Have Balance

According to recent statistics, women in the UK have one of the lowest body confidence scores in the world, with just 20% of us being happy with the way we look. Coupled with the fact some 57% of British women have tried to lose weight in the last year with the equivalent admitting they are almost always on a diet,  it’s safe to say when it comes to struggling with body image and achieving balance in what we eat, we’re not alone.
And while many of us claim to follow the 80/20 rule – eating healthily 80% of the time and indulging the other 20% – could depriving ourselves be doing more harm than good? Luckily, help is at hand. We spoke to some of the wellness industry’s experts for their tips on how to strike a more balanced relationship with our health…


Don’t Beat Yourself Up

It happens to all of us – our good intentions go out the window come the weekend and we end up feeling guilty for overindulging. My advice? Don't beat yourself up as this will do you no favours. Remember that true balance (for both mind and body) means finding a baseline of health where you are emotionally strong, have energy and are confident about your body, and then maintaining a healthy relationship around that.  – Rhian Stephenson, Nutritionist, Naturopath and CEO of Psycle London


Love Your Liver

Our liver is our most important fat-burning organ and it needs a couple of consecutive days without alcohol to recover and repair. In short: spacing out your drinking is key when it comes to maintaining balance. The liver is quickly overloaded in times of indulgence; drinking a lot of alcohol in a few days (such as the weekend) can cause a build-up of fat in the liver’s cells, impairing its ability to function normally and remove toxins. Be mindful of limiting other things that stress and overburden the liver such as sugar, dairy, caffeine and red meat. Try to take a milk thistle supplement (I love Solgar’s Milk Thistle, £11.49) in times of overindulgence to support the liver. – Zoe Palmer Wright, Clinical Nutritionist and Naturopath

Don’t Get Obsessed

If you’re leading an active lifestyle (working out four to five times per week) then a dinner out with friends isn’t going to change anything. For me, seeing friends, catching up and enjoying good food and wine together is part of a healthy lifestyle. Balance is more than just feeling confident in our bodies – our mental health is all tied in so honour that and have some fun. – Annie Clarke, Mind Body Bowl

Try To Be Consistent

Whether it’s following a certain plan or ethos – for example, high-protein or veganism – it’s important to set yourself guidelines. In the long term this will result in consistency, meaning finding a balance nutrition-wise will come naturally to you. – Rhian Stephenson

Enjoy Alcohol In A Healthy Way

While there’s no denying alcohol can affect fitness levels, it shouldn’t be totally off-limits, as long as it’s consumed in moderation. Alcohol is calorific, can disrupt hormones and impedes our metabolism, sleep and motivation, so make sure you chose your poison well. Good quality tequila is the best spirit due to its purity, followed closely by vodka and gin; add lots of fresh lemon or lime and sparkling water for a guilt-free drink. When it comes to wine, choose organic and biodynamic varieties which have less congeners (additives and stabilisers) than poor quality wine and will be easier on the body. Be mindful of how often you drink, too – if you find yourself drinking more than three nights per week, you may benefit from cutting back.
The best way to enjoy alcohol? Tune in to how it makes you feel and understand it’s not all about the calories, it’s about the effect it has on your underlying health – your liver, hormones, inflammation, digestion, mental state, cholesterol and stress. – Rhian Stephenson

Don’t Deprive Yourself

One of the worst things you can do for your blood sugar, weight and morale is to starve yourself throughout the day. Trust me, you’ll suddenly be ravenous come the afternoon and when your blood sugar crashes, you’ll either end up eating unhealthy snacks such as cakes or biscuits or raiding the fridge when you get home. For me, this is far worse for weight gain than if you had just eaten more but the right balance of nutrients, earlier in the day. – Zoe Palmer Wright

Count Calories (to an extent)

There are a lot of people who claim you can eat whatever you want, as long as it’s healthy, but this is misleading. An excess of calories – even from healthy sources – can lead to weight gain. Like everything in nutrition, it’s all about balance and I dislike formally counting calories but it’s good to be aware of what you’re eating. – Rhian Stephenson

Join a community

The more you enjoy a specific workout, the more likely you are to sustain it and genuinely want to hit the gym. I find it really helps to get involved in a fitness class or community, such as Barry’s Bootcamp, as it’s a great way to find support and motivation. In turn, this will make you want to eat foods that nourish and energise you, fuel your workout and make you happier all round.  – Anya Lahiri, Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer


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