It’s that time of the year when our calendars are jam-packed with social occasions that revolve around food, and sweet treats are everywhere we look. But there are a few simple tips that can help ensure you maintain your weight for a great start to 2022.
1. Start the day with a healthy breakfast – research shows that people who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to eat better for the rest of the day. That’s because breakfast kickstarts digestion and fires up our metabolism, as well as helping the body regulate blood sugar, making it easier to avoid giving into food cravings or binge eating later in the day.
2. Stay hydrated – sometimes when we feel hungry, we are actually thirsty, and we are having an unusually warm December. Have your water bottle handy all the time. Be aware of how much you are drinking - if your bottle is still full, you need to skull back some water.
3. Load up on healthy salads, but avoid calorie-laden dressings. This time of the year is great for fresh veggies so make the most of them. Fibre-rich, dark, leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are great as a salad base as they will keep you feeling full longer. Team salads with lean protein for a satisfying but healthy lunch or dinner, or take a salad as your contribution to a shared meal at a Christmas function. Remember to get as many different colours as you can into your to salad so you are getting a variety of nutrients
4. Watch your portion sizes –the Heart Foundation has a simple guide that illustrates how much of each of the different food groups we should be eating per meal. If you know you often serve more than is recommended, try using a smaller plate. After you have eaten, have a glass of water, wait 20 minutes, then ask yourself how full you are (out of 10). If the number is less than eight, go back for seconds – but only serve yourself a little extra.
5. Eat consciously – enjoy what you are eating. Chew well – chewing is good for so many reasons. It helps release digestive juices, it helps break down food, so nutrients can be released, ensuring we feel fuller, and it makes us eat more slowly, so we are less likely to overeat.
6. BONUS TIP Make time in your day to exercise– find something you love, and try to mix up your routine to include cardio and non-cardio activities. Not only will you burn fat, exercise also reduces stress and can improve your mood and your sleep, which is very helpful at this busy time of the year. If you find it hard to commit to exercise, find a buddy to work out with. It makes it more fun and you are less likely to cancel your plans.
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