Had a few too many Christmas cookies this festive season? We take a look at getting back into shape after the holidays.
Donning your working attire can be a bit of an eye-opener as that first workday of the year rolls around. Is your suit feeling a little tighter than usual or does the waist band of that pencil skirt seem a big snug?
Prior to the holiday, you may have had good intentions, but with all the tasty snacks around, it is easy to throw caution of the wind. If you’ve overindulged over the past few weeks, you may have picked up between 500g and 2kg. Don’t beat yourself up. Make a fresh start today and you should be able to shake those extra kilograms in no time.
Ways to slim down
1. Eat on schedule and check portion sizes
What makes the holidays such a food challenge is that regular meal routines are often replaced with a different schedule and plenty of snacking. Get back into your regular routine today. Have breakfast, lunch and dinner around the same times each day. Pay attention to portion sizes. We all tend to take an extra helping over the holidays. Swop a dinner plate for a side plate to make things easier for you.
2. Snack smartly
During the holidays we tend to eat when we want to; our bodies get used to this constant supply of food. You may even crave the foods you have been eating over the past few weeks, especially cookies, crisps and cakes. To keep up your blood sugar have a snack between meals so you don’t get hungry. You’ll need good willpower to get yourself back on track. Choose pieces of fruit, vegetables, a handful of nuts, biltong, a tub of low fat yoghurt or a cracker with cheese. Avoid crisps, chocolates, sweets and biscuits.
3. Pace yourself
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to drop the weight. Opt for a weight loss programme that allows you to lose around 500g to 1kg per week. Crash diets are never advocated. You may drop the weight, but you will pick it up again as soon as you start eating normally. Crash diets also leave you feeling tired and drained. The start of a new year can be very busy and you need to be mentally sharp, so don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure. Make sustainable changes to your diet for the long term. Always see your doctor before starting any weight loss programme.
4. Have a smoothie
Swop one meal per day for a healthy smoothie. Look for recipes that use cow’s milk, almond or coconut milk, fruit and vegetables. They provide a boost of nutrients and will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
5. Say goodbye to cane sugar
If you currently use sugar in your tea and coffee, swop it for a teaspoon of honey or a plant based sweetener such as stevia which contains no kilojoules. Be cautious of the amount of fruit juice and soft drinks that you drink. Government’s plans to introduce a sugar tax are well on the way. The programme will encourage beverage manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar used in soft drinks and also caution consumers on the dangers of consuming too much sugar.
6. Increase your water intake
Drink at least two litres of fresh water every day. Not only does it help you feel fuller for longer, it also flushes out toxins and gets your bowels moving to prevent constipation.
7. Get moving
If you stopped going to gym before the holidays, motivate yourself to get back into routine with your exercise programme. It will help you to lose weight faster. Try the gym if you haven’t been before. If you don’t enjoy it, find other ways to get moving. Don’t push yourself too hard or overdo it in the beginning. Walking is a great way to get extra exercise and the feel-good hormones released into your bloodstream will make you feel fantastic. Find a time of the day that suits your schedule – perhaps before work after you drop the kids at school, during your lunch break, before or after dinner. Also find ways to get additional exercise – park further away, take the stairs rather than a lift, ride an exercise bike. Aim for 20 minutes of additional exercise per day, then push yourself to increase this to 30 minutes and 40 minutes.