Weight loss tips for the new year
By Nutrition Consultant, Jess Robinson
So, Christmas and New Year are over, and you may have indulged a little more than you should’ve in delicious food and alcohol. Not to mention you may have gained a few kilos from not sticking with your exercise routine over the holidays and simply not moving enough. Or maybe your New Year’s resolution is to get fit or lose weight? Never fear, here are the top tips for losing weight and maintaining weight loss into 2018.
1. Don’t skip meals
A common meal for people to skip is breakfast. Breakfast is actually the most important meal of the day as it kickstarts our metabolism and provides essential energy for the day ahead. Skipping meals can cause insatiable hunger cravings that can cause you to have a huge meal later in the day that is high in carbohydrates and very taxing on the liver. Skipping meals also increases your chances of consuming unhealthy snacks to make up for a missed meal. Instead, aim to have three good meals a day, and if you get hungry in between have a piece of fruit, some nuts and seeds or a whey protein smoothie. Synd-X Protein Powder reduces cravings for carbohydrates, reduces hunger, and facilitates weight loss.
2. Establish an exercise routine
It is likely that during the Christmas and New Year period your exercise routine may have fallen by the wayside, which means it’s more important than ever to get back into your usual routine. Find something you enjoy whether it be running, walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, meditation or classes such as Bootcamp, boxing or Zumba. Mix up your routines by looking up different workouts on YouTube or Pinterest. Increase motivation by finding yourself a friend or family member to exercise with. Not only does exercise aid weight loss, it also boosts immunity, increases energy levels, improves cardiovascular health, and lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. You may benefit from taking L-glutamine, an amino acid that is vital for muscle growth and healthy muscle function, and also assists muscle recovery after exercise.
3. Embrace home cooking
What better way to ensure you’re using the freshest and best quality ingredients and oils than by preparing your meals at home? Home cooking is also a great way to save money, and you can support small businesses and purchase organic fruits and vegetables by shopping at the farmers market on weekends. There are plenty of easy, delicious recipes you can find online or in magazines that are also super healthy. If possible, it’s a really worthwhile investment to grow your own herb garden. They don’t take up much space, are low maintenance and are a great way to add extra nutritional value to your meals. Then when it’s Friday night and you feel like getting takeaway, you can really enjoy it cos it is isn’t something you do all the time.
4. Limit alcohol intake
Especially after the silly season and New Year’s, I’m sure your liver needs some TLC (Tender Loving Care) after it has had to breakdown large amounts of alcohol. It is recommended to have at least 4 alcohol-free days a week to make you feel more energised and active, and allow your liver to rest and repair. And if you do decide to drink, follow each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water to dilute alcohol and hydrate the liver. You may benefit from taking tyrosine, an amino acid that stimulates the reward system of the brain and may help to reduce cravings for addictive foods and alcohol.
5. Establish good sleep hygiene
Not only is sleep essential for rest and recuperation, it’s also beneficial for energy, immunity, healthy ageing and weight loss. People who don’t get adequate sleep have high levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone and low levels of leptin, the satiety hormone, which contributes to overeating and consequent weight gain. If you are lacking in the sleep department, you are more likely to reach for foods that are high in sugar or refined carbohydrates for a quick energy fix. This will ultimately result in a dramatic sugar crash a few hours later that will then cause the carb cravings to return. Ideally, you should be getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. If you have trouble sleeping, we recommend you read Dr Cabot’s book ‘Tired of Not Sleeping’. Magnesium is a powerful mineral that promotes relaxation and helps to induce sleep.
6. Up your H2O
Adequate water intake is essential and people should be drinking between 1.5 to 2L of water a day or 8 to 10 glasses. Many people get their hunger signals mixed up and think they are peckish when their body is actually trying to tell them they need water. Water is needed to hydrate our cells which are needed for hundreds of functions throughout the body, as well as to boost metabolism, support energy levels, and aid weight loss. Our liver needs to be sufficiently hydrated to carry on its many functions such as filtering our blood, regulating hormones and detoxifying and eliminating toxins from the body. Having a glass of water with fresh lemon in the morning is a great way to stimulate your liver and digestive system for the day.
7. Chew your food properly
Many people underestimate the importance of chewing your food properly. Eating should not be something that occurs on the go, is rushed, or at work surrounded by noise. Ideally, food should be eaten somewhere relaxing and quiet, where you can take the time to slowly chew and actually enjoy your meal. If you work in an office, use your break to go and have your lunch in the park, rather than at your desk. Each mouthful of food should be chewed 15 to 20 times before swallowing to allow more time for enzymes to start digestion, taking pressure off your other digestive organs which have to work a lot harder to break down big pieces of food. Taking your time will also give your satiety hormones more time to signal to your brain that you are full, which prevents overeating and subsequent weight gain.
8. Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates include products made out of white flour such as baked goods, breads and cereals as well as white pasta, white rice and sweets. All these foods are converted into sugar in the body, which causes inflammation throughout the body, and promotes weight gain. Sugar also feeds candida and cancer, and excess consumption is linked to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, immune problems and arthritis, just to name a few. A good diet should be based on whole foods like fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins and good quality fats. There is an excellent plan for weight loss in Dr Cabot’s book ‘I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why’.