Every year starts with the same noble promise that you’ll eat well and break a sweat on a regular basis. That’s all well and good when the sun’s shining and light meals rule the menu. Come midyear, however, you’re about to embark on a few long, cold months – grounds to leave your hard work by the wayside in favour of piling on a little extra ‘padding’, you know, for warmth (ahem).
But just because you’re packing on clothes doesn’t mean your weight needs to do the same. By adopting these smart strategies you can maintain a healthy lifestyle, whatever the season. Plus, eating well and exercising are great ways to beat the winter blues. It’s win-win!
1. Shop around
It's easy to cut back on junk food and naughty treats – just don’t put them in your trolley! Instead, plan your weekly meals and snacks and buy only the ingredients you need. Resist the urge to stockpile biscuits, cakes, chips, soft drinks, frozen dinners, ice-cream, sugary artificial juices, lollies, choccie bars, high-fat muesli bars and other diet saboteurs. A simple way to do this is to avoid these aisles at the supermarket. Remember, it’s an effort to eat unhealthy food if it’s not conveniently on your shelves!
2. Make each meal count
Eating well doesn't mean you're limited to bland, boring food. In fact, you not only can but should eat three delicious meals each day, along with a nutritious snack
or two. It’s all about what and how much you eat. Start your day with a protein- packed brekkie – good old boiled eggs with wholemeal toast fingers is perfect. Breakfast kicks your metabolism into gear so you burn kilojoules faster throughout the day, and protein will give you staying power and keep you feeling full throughout the morning. create a few weekly menus to rotate and keep your tastebuds tantalised.
3. Start a food diary
Make a list of everything you eat each day, along with the number of kilojoules and grams of fat each food item contains. Don’t forget to record snacks and drinks, too – everything from your morning coffee to that evening glass of vino counts. This is a great way to see exactly what you’re eating each day and highlight bad habits (hello sugar!) that may need to change. The average daily kilojoule intake for people who are not dieting should be about 8700 kilojoules, so to lose weight you’ll obviously need to eat less than that.
5. Tell your doctor
Admitting to your GP that you’re trying to trim down is like making a promise to your health boss – who doesn’t like to be disappointed! Plus, your GP can help you work out a weight-loss goal and plan of attack. For example, if you have high cholesterol, they may advise against the Atkins Diet and instead recommend a low-kilojoule, low-fat diet combined with exercise. The doctor may even offer you routine weigh-ins.
6. See the big picture
Keep in mind that losing weight is a long-term goal, and may seem too hard at times. You’ll have to be constantly vigilant about what you eat and how much you exercise, deny yourself foods you love and work out until you sweat profusely. There will be days when the scale doesn’t move at all, and even days when it goes
the wrong way – but stick with it! Better eating habits and physical activity will help you live longer, plus you’ll enjoy going clothes shopping once more and fitting into those skinny jeans you never thought you’d wear again. And, as an added bonus, you’ll begin to smile at your reflection.
7. Celebrate your little victories
This is especially important at the start, because you’ll need encouragement as you make drastic changes to your eating and exercise habits. Acknowledge each day that you go without your daily junk food fix. Then take note each time you eat a small or light dinner instead of the heartier meal you might have preferred. Call a friend, get a hug from your partner, joke around with your kids, or take a leisurely bubble bath as your reward for sticking with it. You did it! And it’s those small wins that add up to success in the long run.
8. Vary your exercise
So, you’ve committed to a 30-minute session four times a week – fabulous! Now, mix it up. Different activities and intensities can be more beneficial than doing the same work-out every time. How about a brisk walk on Tuesday, Zumba on Thursday, a yoga session on Saturday and a swim on Sunday? By keeping it interesting, you’re less likely to skip a session.
9. Snack right
Keep low-kilojoule, nutritional snacks on hand at work or in the car to avoid caving in to junk food cravings. The aim here is to make that chip machine or muffin run redundant! Better options include low-kilojoule microwave popcorn, cereal or health bars, low-fat yoghurt, fresh fruit and vegie sticks, and raw unsalted nuts.
10. Choose your vice
You’ve worked hard to create and stick to a healthy lifestyle plan – now pick one small vice you can treat yourself with as you continue your good work. Perhaps it’s an evening glass of wine, a weekly ice-cream or a daily square of chocolate. This treat might even become part of your daily or weekly victory celebration. The bottom line is that you don’t need to completely deprive yourself of everything you love in order to beat the bulge. Dieting is about moderation, not deprivation. So pick one thing that will be your daily or weekly indulgence and enjoy it. good luck, you can do it!