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Real people discuss their dietary choices

Real people talk about what affects their dietary choices
I’ve always ate healthily, in so far as I’ve always ate healthy things, mainly cause I enjoy them more. I’ve never eaten junk food. I’ve just not had any interest in doing that. I cook a great deal. So, food is something that I do from scratch, so I know what’s going into it. So, I’ve always done that. Previously, I used to do too much of that. So, what I realised is, you can’t make yourself healthy by eating more and more of all the things you like and that are good for you, that you also have to have some sort of limits on it. I don’t eat that much, actually, but most of it, it’s homemade.
I rarely buy packet food, unless it’s marked down to 10p or something. And I’ll tend to - because I live on my own, I tend to cook in batches, bag up, and freeze. Up into my mid-20s, I was skinny as could be. I could eat all I want and still squeeze into my size 32 jeans, no problem at all. And then, as I crept into my 30s, and I got a family, and I got a real job, and I got a commute, and I got a desk, suddenly, I became aware that I was a bit bigger, and a bit larger, and a bit more inactive than I probably should be.
I think a small amount of fear that comes into encouraging me to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Because I believe it’s important, more important as you become older, to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to remain within the mainstream of society. When I first got to university, I was definitely eating a lot more microwave food, a lot more food from the freezer in the oven. And in second year, I really started learning to cook. So learning to cook was a huge part of me moving from bad food up to better food. I enjoy cooking a lot. I have a lot of fun doing that. It’s a nice one to do for friends.
And if I’m getting better food out of it, and treating my body a bit better for it, all the better. When you get old, you’ve got time to kill. So, it doesn’t bother me if it takes ages to cook stuff. I had to start maintaining a food diary, which I’m ex-IT, so I have spreadsheets to look after it. It’s turned into a hobby as much as anything A short while ago, I had sciatica, and I was trying to find out what foods would be good. And certain things like broccoli would be better than spinach. So I will go out of my way to try and find out things about the things that will be better for me.
The gym that I work at, we do like advise people on what to eat. So I always sort of say, try and have a minimum amount of ingredients as you can in any foods, and eat every colour you can possibly imagine. Because you’re getting more of a range of nutrients. But steak, I just, I can’t say no to steak. I do like fish and like oily fish as well, for muscle health. But also because it can help your moods as well, and help your concentration definitely. I make sure I try and eat foods with like vitamin D in as well, because I know that’s important for your bone health. And I definitely eat enough protein.
Because I do do quite a lot of exercise, and resistance exercise as well, I think it’s very important to make sure you have - do have enough protein to maintain that. For about the last about nine months now, I’ve been doing that diet where just two days in the week you’re really very careful about what you eat. You have a low calorie intake. But you also make sure it’s high protein, low carbohydrates. I can do difficult things for short periods of time. So, like, fasting for a single day, you know, I can do that.
The idea of not eating what I wanted to eat like for a whole week, that would be heartbreaking for me because food is one of the things I love most in life. I think I eat relatively healthy. I could do a lot better, but I think I eat quite well. I don’t do takeaways very often. I have a sweet tooth, but I’ve learned to curb it a little bit. I’m very good with my five a day. If I’m eating poorly in the evening, if I’m going out for a meal or doing takeaway pizza, I always make sure I eat very, very well in the daytime. I try not to overeat.
That was a big issue for me for a long time was - I would just - whatever was on my plate, I would eat. And now, I’ve sort of managed to teach myself to look at portion size a bit better. So, I feel I can eat, cheat and have some foods which are quite bad for me sometimes. But as long as I don’t get to eat too much of it, then I feel I’m getting a nice balance there. I think in terms of musculoskeletal health, really looking at the things like proteins and making sure that you’ve got the right sorts of ingredients there for muscle building, that would probably be the major thing that I would do in that respect.
But I’m always on the lookout for the foods that will magically make you healthy just by eating lots.

This week, we have seen how important a healthy diet is for optimising musculoskeletal health.

In this video, we speak to a selection of people of all ages to hear how they manage to eat in a healthy manner and what conscious decisions they make about their diet.

What factors influence your dietary choices for musculoskeletal health and ageing?

In the additional video below, we also talk to our Patients as Educators to find out what foods they eat and discover whether they have ever been given dietary advice.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

This article is from the free online

The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active into Old Age

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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