It's time to spring into action
Has this winter hit your waistline harder than usual? Let’s do something about it! Spring is all about starting afresh so with that in mind we’ve come up with five healthy lifestyle tips to get you back in shape.
Set some goals
Goals are important for keeping you on track and are essential to let you know when you have succeeded. Unfortunately most of us set unrealistic goals that set us up to fail, often making us feel even worse. The trick is to set small and realistic goals. If you were climbing a mountain you would break it down into smaller bursts of effort. That’s what goals are about- breaking down the journey into achievable steps. Goals are often weight related but they don’t need to be. Don’t forget to notice other benefits of a healthy lifestyle, such as improved mood, better sleep, fitting a gorgeous dress, or puffing less up the stairs. If you do make a weight-related goal make sure you don’t aim to lose any more than 0.5-1kg per week. This is unsafe and cannot be maintained.
Here are a few examples:
I will have 2 pieces of fruit per day.
I will swim after work twice a week.
I will I will have breakfast every weekday.
Once you have mastered a goal you can add another. Just don’t set too many at once. And most importantly- reward yourself when you achieve your goals however, try to use non-food based rewards eg going shopping, getting a manicure, taking time out to read a book.
Often we mistake thirst for hunger, which leads to eating more than we need to. By keeping hydrated you can avoid this pitfall. Here are some simple tips to help you increase your fluid intake:
- Carry a water bottle with you or keep one at work. At home a good trick is to have a jug of water with some lemon slices in the fridge. This makes water more appealing.
Water is best but this can be a battle for some of us. Other low calorie options include herbal teas or water flavoured with slices of fruit, vegetables or herbs. Carbonated water is also a good option - bubbles without the calories!
Next time you feel what you think is a hunger pang have a glass of water first and then see how you feel.
If drinking alcohol, alternate each drink with a glass of water. You’ll be thankful in the morning.
Pick your plate wisely
Even if we are eating healthy options we can eat too much, which will cause weight gain. To help control your portions take a look at what you eat and drink from/with.
Make sure that you put everything that you eat on a plate or bowl. Have you noticed how easy it is to overeat when you eat straight from the packet?
An easy trick to eat less is to use a smaller plate. By downsizing your plate you can trick yourself into thinking you are eating the same amount as usual. Using a teaspoon instead of a dessertspoon can have the same effect. Make sure you check out what you’re drinking from too. Choosing a smaller glass for your after-work wine or a smaller takeaway coffee cup can make a big difference if you do it all the time.
As important as eating healthily is being active. Recommendations state that we should be active for at least 30 minutes a day. For all of you busy bees out there take note- these 30 minutes do not need to be done all at once. The longer you can exercise the better but here are some ideas for how to add small bursts of activity into your day:
"Walk an e-mail”. Get up and about at work.
Find a friend to go for a walk or run with at lunchtime.
Take the stairs instead of the lift.
Put on some music and spring clean the house.
Find out about local group exercise options. Lots of people love Zumba at the moment.
An easy way to cut some fat from your diet is to use healthier cooking methods. The less butter or oil you use the better. Grill, bake, steam or barbeque rather than frying. A great investment is a good quality non-stick frying pan. This means that when you do fry, you don’t need to add any oil. When grilling or baking make sure you use a rack or grooved tray so that the fat drips away.