Many of you know someone, perhaps a family member or close friend, who always seems to look bikini-ready – even throughout the long winters and Christmas holidays. You may be wondering how they do it, while your own weight seems to fluctuate with the seasons. Their secret doesn’t involve yo-yo dieting or an intense fitness regime. It is simply a number of healthy eating habits that have been adopted into their way of life.
Focus on nutritional value rather than big portions
By eating food that is of better quality you are rewarding your body by receiving more nutrients that will ultimately support good health, energy and a healthy weight. When you eat excess amounts of processed foods that are high in sodium and of low nutritional value, you will experience fluctuating blood sugar levels, low energy and hunger cravings. All these factors combined will result in weight issues. While it may seem you are getting your monies worth by choosing a larger dish, when you consider the long-term effects such as the time, money and stress involved in trying to budge the excess weight, it really isn’t worth it. Not only do these eating habits create a strain on your body, but you will become so accustomed to these large food portions you will soon find it impossible to reach satiety from a regular sized meal.
Prepare the majority of food at home
Although there are healthy takeaway and home delivery options like Japanese, or certain Thai and Indian dishes, a lot of us tend to opt for the comfort food such as heavy pastas, pizza, or deep-fried Chinese food. When we order these more nutrient-dense foods we are also more inclined to order extras such as starters or soft drinks, causing us to ingest more carbohydrates than you generally would from home-cooked meals. People of a healthy weight commonly have a routine of pre-planning meals which often include fresh salads or a meal containing vegetables and adequate protein. Although take away and frozen meals are convenient in our fast paced lifestyle, home cooking with fresh ingredients is much tastier and you know exactly what is in your food.
Be mindful of what you eat
People of a healthier weight are more likely to eat their meals with less distractions, such as eating at the table rather than in front of the TV. Eating in front of the TV often results in excessive eating as you may not pay attention to how much you are consuming, often resulting in weight gain. By eating food in company at the table, you can enjoy good conversation while also taking more time to chew your food and be mindful of how much you are putting away. Eating alone in silence is a fantastic way to appreciate your meal and focus on enjoying the taste.
Pay attention to how your body feels
People of a healthier weight are more in tune with their body and familiar with their natural hunger cues. They know when they are satisfied and will stop eating, even if there are only a couple of bites left. It generally takes about 15 minutes for your body to register fullness, so it is best to stop eating when you feel 80% full.
Start your day right
People who skip breakfast tend to eat more calories later in the day and have a higher body mass index. Eating breakfast is highly important as it kick-starts your metabolism for the day, even if it’s just a simple smoothie or fruit with yoghurt. Hot or cold water with lemon is also an excellent drink to have first thing in the morning, as it aids digestion, reduces appetite and detoxifies the liver.
Weigh Yourself Regularly
At the beginning it may be disheartening if the scales haven’t budged, but as you start to adapt to these new habits you will find your healthy weight and balance. The scales can help to monitor weight changes and indicate what you may need to avoid or cut back on until you are feeling yourself again.
Find an exercise regime you can stick to
It is common for people of a healthier weight to have established an exercise routine they can maintain, whether it be walking, running, yoga or another means of exercise. Depending on intensity and length of time, people should try to be active at least 3 to 5 times a week. Exercise regulates appetite, supports good metabolism, balances blood sugar levels and supports cardiovascular health.
Allow yourself the occasional treat
It’s important to let yourself indulge once in a while, because if you don’t it will likely lead to a food binge later on. Try to think of your diet as an 80/20 ratio where you are healthy 80% of the time and the other 20% you can treat yourself. This way you can enjoy your indulgence without feeling guilty, and maintain your weight at the same time.
Reference: ‘I can’t lose weight and I don’t know why’ by Dr Sandra Cabot