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No one knows the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle more than Emily Andrea.
As an NHS doctor, the 31-year-old has worked on the front line during the pandemic and seen first-hand how important it is to keep ourselves in tip-top condition.
Emily herself also contracted coronavirus back in April last year and had to spend two weeks isolating away from her husband, Peter Andre and their two children Millie, who turns seven this week, and Theo, four.
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“The pandemic has made us all aware just how vulnerable we are,” Emily tells new magazine. “I do think people will be more health conscious going forward.”
As well as providing her with the opportunity to spend more quality time with her young family, lockdown also gave Emily the chance to start an exercise regime in her home gym. And now she’s got going, Emily says she’ll never look back!
Here, the medic shares her advice for having a healthy diet, keeping active and staying motivated…
Do you think the pandemic has made people more health conscious?
Definitely. From a physical health perspective, it’s good to try and turn this pandemic into something positive in the sense that it gives people a bit of motivation to live a healthier lifestyle.
I think those buzz words of underlying health conditions have been spoken about so much over the past year.
I do think people are going to be more conscious to make steps in their lifestyle to avoid things like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
I think people will be more aware than ever this year. The pandemic has made us all aware how vulnerable we are.
You got into a fitness regime during the first lockdown. How often do you work out?
Over Christmas I fell off the wagon a bit. Life just gets in the way sometimes. I’d love to say I’m exercising seven days a week, but I’m definitely not. It’s more like three.
I always try to stay active as much as possible, though. I’m always running around after the kids and I try to walk Millie to school sometimes rather than drive because we live a 15-minute walk away.
I was working out with Pete in our gym, but ironically it was getting the gym redone that got me out of the habit of exercising. Then I found it hard to get back into it because I was busy. But I’m ready to go now it’s a new year!
Emily Andrea left emotional at son Theo starting school as she doesn’t think he's ready
Peter Andre shares adorable festive video of his children as he wishes everyone a Merry Christmas Eve
How do you motivate yourself?
You have to find something you enjoy and that makes you feel good. You don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself. The way I did it was to start small.
I began with some stretching videos on YouTube. Once I’d done that I realised how good it felt, then I started doing yoga videos. Then I incorporated some core and ab workouts. I love YouTube because there are so many different resources when it comes to exercise.
What are your top tips for starting to eat a healthier diet?
To not be too hard on yourself because it’s a long game. It’s best to swap a few things out of for healthier alternatives and try not do everything all at once.
It can be tempting in the new year to make big changes, but that’s not sustainable for the long term. It’s not realistic to say, “From tomorrow, I’m just going to have grains, pulses and salad.”
Some people can stick to that, but I get real enjoyment from having foods that wouldn’t be considered the healthiest. It would be unrealistic to cut them out, so I try to make the majority of my diet quite healthy and then I don’t feel bad if I want a biscuit, chocolate or chips at the end of the day.
What do you think of Veganuary and Dry January?
I think they’re great. As I don’t drink, I do Dry January all year round! Sometimes, people just need that bit of encouragement to give something a go. It’s good to at least try as it gets you over that initial hurdle.
Last year I did a week of Veganuary and felt really good afterwards. But for me, where I’m not amazing at cooking, I don’t think it’s something I’d do constantly.
But January is also such a miserable month and you don’t want to make it more miserable by trying to go on a crazy diet. I’ve never dieted in my life because I feel like they don’t work. You just end up falling off the wagon.
What are the best ways people can look after themselves this year?
It sounds simple but it really is so important to have a healthy, balanced diet. I’d never say don’t have food that you enjoy because that’s unrealistic, but it’s about making healthy choices if you can.
Also, as a parent, it can be tricky to get your kids to eat healthy food. That’s why I was interested to learn more about different ways to increase the amount of vitamins and minerals in your kids’ diet, because I’m always looking for ways to sneak healthy food into their meals.
There are lots of foods you can swap into your diet that contain more vitamin D than you’d think. I think the Kingsmill 50/50 Vitamin Boost loaf is a fantastic idea, especially as a parent, because the thought of getting liver or oily fish down my kids is difficult!
Vitamin D is important every year but due to lockdown lots of people haven’t been exposed to enough sunlight for the body to produce it.
Increasing your intake can have a positive effect on many areas of the body, such as bones and muscles. It’s even thought to play a role in helping prevent things like diabetes and heart disease.
Emily is working with Kingsmill to help families get to know vitamin D. Kingsmill 50/50 Vitamin Boost is available from shops nationwide, RRP from £1 .
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