Good-mood food is the key to healthy living, says TV’s Sian

Sandra Chapman
Sandra Chapman

At this time of year, magazines and newspapers are full of New Year diets and how we should all be reviewing how and what we eat.

When I too was writing for New Year in my time as features editor for this newspaper it seemed the right thing to do since Christmas is such an indulgent time, with most of us left feeling guilty at the weight gained as a result.

Sian Williams

Sian Williams

Despite lots of new thinking about our food, the journalists are at it again and I felt how behind the times they were.

So-called healthy diets are not all they’re cracked up to be and you don’t have to take my word for that.

Former BBC Breakfast presenter Sian Williams, who now anchors Channel 5 news, was the epitome of a woman who did all the right things.

She was slender and glossy, the attributes we all aspire to.

But a breast cancer diagnosis days after her 50th birthday left her reeling.

She believed her healthy diet was perfect whilst her husband Paul enjoyed a 
diet of wine, meat and puddings.

In an article last month about her illness, she said she had cut out many food groups, not in a bid to lose weight but to try to be “healthier’’.

Yet she was the one got the cancer.

Writing in the Radio Times, she said she came to the conclusion that diets are not about the ‘pounds we lose’ but also the impact food has on mental health.

She had watched her mother ‘‘struggle against the purgatory of diets’’ and believed she wouldn’t follow in her footsteps.

She became a healthy eater.

Yet her mother and aunt both died from the disease.

She has written a book about her experience the theme being good-mood food.

‘‘My gut feeling for 2017 is this: that we will stop persecuting ourselves about what we should and shouldn’t eat…stop living in hungry denial…stop pursuing the starve-sugar cycle.

“This year will be all about eating for happiness, not just for weight loss,’’ she writes.

That makes a lot of sense to me, as someone who has had a lifelong passion for chocolate and Christmas cake/pudding.

This Christmas past I realised I’m not so mad about any of those things and wondered was this a sign of old age, the good health message finally getting through to me or, as it sometimes can be, a sign of and underlying illness.

Having lost over two stone in the last two years without significant dietary changes, I’ve come to the conclusion that my weight loss coincides with me becoming a dog owner.

Together we walk up to two hours a day, seven days a week, rain, hail or snow (except Christmas day) and the weight simply fell off me.

It meant an entirely new wardrobe, as none of my old clothes fitted any more.

I’ve taken the time to research some of the foods I’m now eating again, like semi-skimmed milk (instead of skimmed) and realised I was missing out on valuable vitamins and calcium which older women need.

This week health experts have been advising parents of the high sugar content in cereals, with children going to school having eaten as much as three tablespoons of sugar at breakfast.

Sugar can make some children – adults too – hyper so it’s no wonder many cannot concentrate in class.

We’ve all a lot to learn about the food we eat and I’m no exception. New Year is a good time to start learning.