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Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First

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Suzanne Zaremba

☀️I currently work as a Lecturer in Nutrition, School of Medicine, the University of Dundee. 🔆I co-founded @AfNutr chat, a monthly Twitter chat for AfN Registered Nutritionists. Our monthly chat is open for all to participate, regardless of their background. With active participation and reflective practice, #AfNutrChat can be used as CPD for ANutr and RNutr. ☀️Frequent blogger for the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network @theSCPN 🔅Twitter @SuzZaremba

#Staycation hydration

People can find it easier to be active and eat better on holiday, thanks to the break from routine and extra free time. However, holidays also come with lots of temptations, distracting our eyes from our normal healthy lifestyle behaviours. Of course you’re going to treat yourself (you’re on holiday!) but be mindful of how often you might do this. Holiday time is the time for feeling good, time to invest in yourself, so why not make a few little changes for an extra boost? One habit that most of us are prone to letting slide is keeping well hydrated (I’m not talking about alcohol here!).  

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We are all in this together

For some people body image, self-esteem and eating habits can be a struggle all year round – and even more of a strain on the lead up to summer holidays and planning a #staycation. 

A new YouGov survey conducted around the world has reported that 46% of Brits have gained weight during lockdown. More than half of people globally indicated they wanted to lose weight, with 51% reporting that they are trying to lose weight. 

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Walking from home

I’ve now officially been working from home for 15 months. Like many people, initially I embraced the extra free time that working from home gave me; during the first lockdown my activity levels were the best they had ever been. I was spinning each morning as a mock commute, following online yoga classes and using resistance bands to grow stronger. But winter came and with that my mood and motivation plummeted. I’d been stuck in a very big sedentary rut since January – starting the year off in another lockdown is not what my mental health needed. Averaging around 4,000 steps per day I knew I needed to re-calibrate.

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Happy (socially distanced) Valentines

Living well in the time of COVID-19 isn’t always easy. Recent stats suggest alcohol intake has increased and it doesn’t look like calorie intake has gone down either. It isn’t difficult to understand – we all need some comforts and warmth in these dark winter, homebound days. As the grey skies of February loom over us, many of us are looking forward to the next special date in the diary, February 14th, St. Valentine’s day. Amidst a global pandemic, it might look a little different this year.

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You can have your vitamin D and eat it

With autumn fast approaching and holidaying to our favourite sunny destinations on hold, many of us won’t be having a couple of weeks of ‘guaranteed sunshine’ by the sea, opting instead for staycations within Scotland. Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and has been in the news a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to concerns about time spent indoors during lockdown months. The Scottish Government recently issued revised guidance on vitamin D for all age groups, advising everyone (including children) to consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D. There is some confusion amongst the public with regard to vitamin D intakes, with evidence of Scots being unaware of the benefits of taking vitamin D supplements and uncertainty of which supplements to take.  

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Netflix and Spin

I remember the feeling I had when I took my bike selfie below – it was the first time I had been on a bike ride for years … and I felt brilliant! The rain poured, the wind blew and my Raynaud’s stricken fingers were chalk white… but I reached my destination, and surprisingly I had 11 kilometres of fun along the way (and 11 kilometres of fun on my way home too!)

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A New Normal – Nutrition

As we enter our sixth week of lockdown in Scotland, we are now beginning to get used to our new normal way of living. We all now have new routines; routines that are structuring our days spent at home. Enjoying our time outside is important, with some people starting off their day with a refreshing walk or cycle, some taking up challenges such as Couch to 5k or yoga to wind down in the evenings. All this ‘free’ time for exercise is no doubt beneficial for both our mind and body, but naturally as a Registered Nutritionist my focus always turns to food. 

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Eat Smart, Eat Seasonal

Making healthy and sustainable food choices only really appeared on my radar over the last couple years. We all appreciate the virtues of balanced, healthy eating for disease prevention, but what about healthy sustainable eating? We care about the health of our body but do we really consider the health of planet Earth?

Being a nutritionist, I fully admit to shopping smartly for good nutrition but only recently have I changed my ways to be a little bit kinder to the environment. One main change I’ve made is making an effort to shop local and eat foods that are currently in season.

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