Gary Foster is Weight Watcher’s chief scientific officer and he believes that forging healthy habits and improving our lifestyles has a lot to do with our self worth. He believes that the path to greater wellbeing has less to do with astringent rules and restriction and more to do with realising that you are worth taking care of. Championing a more holistic approach to health, Foster chatted with Women’s Fitness about the ways we can change our mindset and improve our overall health at the same time.

Eat mindfully

Focusing on the food you’re consuming, paying attention to each bite and switching off from the world as you do so is a mindful act and Foster says it pays to be mindful when it comes to eating. “In this day and age, it’s almost a crime to just eat,” says Foster, “We’re always eating in front of a screen, or doing something.” He says that by becoming a little more aware of the taste of food, enjoying it and registering fullness we can bring a greater sense of ritual to meal times rather than just spooning down lunch in front of a computer monitor.

Look after yourself for greater happiness

“Happier people make healthier choices,” says Foster. “If you’re sleep deprived or stressed, it’s going to be tough to make reasonable choices.” Foster says that doing the little things in life that make you happy results in improved wellbeing. The latest research from Weight Watchers showed that more than a third of those interviewed suffered from mood swings, were less productive at work (43 percent) and were more likely to fight with their partner (24 percent) after inadequate sleep. By simply ensuring you are sleeping well at night, drinking enough water, getting a variety of colourful veg, allowing yourself quiet time and making time for meditation you’re being kinder to yourself and boosting happiness naturally. “It’s about teaching people ways to look after themselves,” says Foster.

Acknowledge stress and ride the wave

“Stress is an unpleasant emotion,” Foster says, “And it’s a way that life can get in the way of a healthy habit.” Foster believes that coping with stress doesn’t necessarily mean that your healthy habits need to be derailed. “Women are very oriented to taking care of other people. When stress hits it’s important for them to say ‘I deserve to feel good’, ‘I’m worth taking care of'” he says. Foster says it’s okay to be stressed but riding the wave and taking care of your health should never take a back seat. “Fundamentally, it comes down to taking care of yourself,” he says.