The post Christmas period is one when most of us look ruefully south and quickly spot a few extra pounds. The combination of eating more and, probably, exercising less means it’s all too easy to add weight.
With the colder weather closing in, gloomy mornings and dark nights it can be hard to get motivated to shift the extra weight, especially when it can be easily hidden in a few big jumpers. The reality though is that if you do nothing the weight won’t disappear on its own and you may even increase your weight further.
Basic weight loss guidelines
The rules of weight loss are easy to understand but harder to follow. In basic terms you need to expend more energy than you take in, therefore encouraging your body to use up fat stores. To do this you need to eat less and/or exercise to burn off calories. A combination of the two is best as exercise has many other benefits for your health other than helping you lose weight.
When it comes to your diet it helps to have an awareness of what you are eating and when, so keep a food diary for a week. You might be surprised by how much you are eating. You should also be able to easily see when and what kind of foods, you are eating.
Healthy eating rules for a slimmer you
At the start of the day, for example, you should never miss breakfast. Doing so quickly leaves you feeling hungry and the temptation then is to go for a quickly satisfying but unhealthy snack that boosts your energy levels but is high in calories and low on nutritional value.
A good breakfast with slow energy release foods such as porridge, wholegrain cereals or banana will set you up for the day and help you stop feeling hungry.
At lunch and dinner time try to reduce your carbohydrate intake and instead eat more fibre and protein. Fibre-rich foods are good because they take you longer to chew which automatically slows down your eating speed and gives the brain time to register that it’s full, so making you less likely to over eat.
Foods with lots of fibre also absorb and retain water meaning they swell up in your stomach and help to make you feel full. Also, because fibre is harder for the body to digest it will stay for longer in your system, again making you feel full and making it less likely that you’ll want to snack. Choose lentils, beans, peas, fresh and dried fruit, vegetables, especially with the skin left on and nuts and seeds.
Eating small portions of foods with high amounts of protein is useful because they may help to keep you feeling full for longer. A serving of lean chicken or meat, eggs or fish are all good sources of protein.
Dietary tips to lose weight
What you drink can help too. Fizzy water is good for helping to fight hunger pangs. If you do feel hungry it’s worth pausing and having a glass of water instead of more food as people often confuse hunger with thirst. Meanwhile, too much caffeine can make you feel more hungry so cut out tea, coffee and fizzy drinks.
If you want to keep up the good work there are someÂ great destinations for a fitness holiday where you can tone up, slim down and continue with your healthy eating plan.
Whatever your motivation, losing weight with a combination of good diet and exercise should see you back to your pre-Christmas shape before too long.