It’s spring, the days are sunny, and there’s the promise of summer holidays being around the corner. As we move out of winter, many of us are also hoping to shake off those few extra kilos that we managed to pick up somewhere between June and now. The temptation to start a strict diet and exercise regime is strong, and magazines are full of new diet plans to get you ready for December, but why not do something different this time around? Make overall wellbeing your goal, and make longer lasting changes to your food intake.
The best way to do this is to start with small changes and get used to them (anything from 2-3 weeks) before making further changes. So here are just a few ways to get going:
- Cook using a non-stick pan, or use lemon juice instead of oil to sauté chicken, and water to steam veggies
- If you eat cheese every day, try swopping to low fat cottage cheese at least 3 times a week. The taste will be different, so add something like mustard for a tangy flavour.
- Cut excess fat off meat – such a simple thing to do!
- Swop to low fat products – it might not seem like it would make a difference, but it all adds up at the end of the day
- Relying on coffee to get you through the day? Try get down to 2 cups. Too much caffeine interferes with your ability to know when you’re hungry or not
- If you have 3 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee and you have more than one coffee a day, that’s a whole lot of sugar! Try to go down by 1 teaspoon a week. After a month go back to how many you had and you’ll see it’ll taste way too sweet!
- We’re blessed to live in a country where, in most places, the tap water is safe to drink. Drinking enough water is important so keep filling those water bottles.
- If you eat white bread, swop to brown. If you’re already on brown, make the change to low GI bread or brown seed loaf
- Don’t skip meals. By doing that you’re simply slowing down your metabolism
- Keep an eye on portion size to help regulate your kilojoule intake. In winter months we tend to dish larger portions of comfort foods. Dish slightly smaller portions…enough to keep your energy levels going, but not so much that you feel tired or bloated after eating
- If you have to take meals to work, plan something in advance or take leftovers. Less chance of having to rely on high-fat or high-sugar on-the-go foods
- Only eat when you are physically hungry
- Exercise exercise exercise. You can eat as healthily as you want but without exercise it just won’t last
Think of it as building a puzzle. By gradually making all the small pieces fit together, you end up with a bigger picture. In the same way, if you make small manageable changes with your food, the end result (wellbeing at a weight that’s right for you) will happen naturally.