If you are one of the many who have let your exercise and diet routine slide a little this winter, the glimmer of the gorgeous sunny winter weather we are experiencing is an unyielding memento that we may need to budge a few kg before the bikini season is fast upon us. For the majority of us, winter means more time on the couch snuggling under a warm blanket whilst turning to hearty and warming foods that provide us comfort and satiety. The problem is that many of these warming foods are also high in kilojoules. According to a recent survey by the NSW Food Authority and NSW heath, 38% of women and 53% of men are expected to gain up to 5 kg over the winter months.
Here are a couple of common nutrition errors that can easily be tweaked to ensure those winter kilos start moving right now, especially with the beach season just around the corner.
How many kilojoules are you drinking at the moment? Every person walking these days is carrying a coffee, juice or smoothie in one hand and their mobile phone in the other. If you are serious about a spring slim down than challenge yourself to two weeks of kilojoule free drinks, which means water, black coffee (a macchiato is an acceptable compromise), herbal teas and did I mention water! What about your three protein shakes a day I hear you ask? Yep, cut them out for two weeks too. Two weeks will not inhibit your strength gains especially if you ensure you recover with a meal soon after a workout.
Alcohol contains almost as many kilojoules as fat per gram and a regular red wine drink with your dinner during winter quickly becomes a habit and before you know it your one glass has turned into 2 or 3 glasses every night. Try kick starting your winter weight loss with an alcohol free period of 1-2 weeks and feel how your body and liver will reap the benefits of no alcohol.
Fall in love with fruit again
Many of us start eating foods in winter that we normally would not include in our daily energy intake. Have you found your afternoon tea is now accompanied with a sweet treat such as a biscuit, muesli bar, protein bar or soy chai latte. What happened to the whole foods like fruit and vegetables that you were so used to snacking on during the warmer months? Spring is when fruit and vegetables are fresh and delicious so aim to have a whole piece of fruit with a small handful of nuts every day and you will feel cleaner and leaner in no time. This is a great challenge that can be done within your workplace as well or even just with a colleague. Challenge yourself to see how many different fruits you can eat over two weeks. I promise you will fall in love with some new or forgotten fruits and two weeks will turn into a spring fling!
Don’t be afraid of Carbohydrates
It seems simple, but the most common mistake when people are trying to slim down is that they try and be super healthy at lunch and start having their salads and tuna every day……but are starving by dinner and tend to over eat. The intentions are correct, but the outcome is often failure. Add some brown rice, quinoa or some leftover potato and sweet potato to your lunch or god forbid you even have a slice or two of bread. Deprivation of fuel foods will only result in you feeling too tired to go to the gym and less likely to resist the fundraising chocolates.
Listen to your Hunger
The final step in your spring slim relies heavily on you nailing number three and having a filling lunch. Your dinner shouldn’t be the biggest meal of the day and if you have had a filling lunch, a whole piece of fruit and a handful of nuts for afternoon tea, then your dinner should shrink in size. In Australia, we are so blessed with beautiful meat that we tend to overeat on protein at dinner. The general rule is that half of your plate should always be full of vegetables or salad. One quarter of your plate full of lean meat and one quarter full of filling carbohydrates such as sweet potato or a whole chat potato with it’s skin on. If you go into dinner listening to your hunger then your portions should shrink, along with your waistline.
By incorporating these four small changes for two short weeks will result in you feeling better, fuelling better and slimming down this spring.