When starting to adopt lifestyle habits into your daily life, it’s better to start slowly and up the tempo gradually! Here are some ways to start those small changes:
When eating out:
- Don’t pig out: Figure out what you are going to eat in advance. Avoid starters, and choose veg as a side. Try avoid potato, chips, mash or bread as a side. If you take rice, half maximum 6 tablespoons of the portion.
- Get salad dressing on the side: Restaurants usually put about a quarter cup of dressing on a salad, which is often too many calories. Best to stick with 1 to 2 tablespoons. Dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad. Otherwise, have a tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
- Pace you eating: Force yourself to eat more slowly and savor each bite. This allows you to feel fuller, quicker. The faster we eat, the more you will eat in order to feel full
- Hydrate before meals: Drink two glasses of water before meals may help you eat less.
- Downsize plates and bowls: Using smaller versions of your serving ware will help you eat less and help with portion control.
- Adopt the motto “after 8 is too late” for food/snacks after dinner.
- Sleep: Sleep deprivation alters levels of hormones in the body that regulate hunger, causing an increase in appetite.
- Spring clean: Start by evaluating the content of you cupboards and fridge. Get rid of all the high calorie food, the highly processsed foods, as well as junk that may sabotage your weight loss journey.
- Plan your meals ahead of time: for example, if you want to have a salad daily, make a week supply and store in your fridge. That way you’re less likely to make an unhealthy last-minute food choice, and it is easily accessible.
- Never skip a meal: This causes your body to go into a fat-storing starvation mode, making it harder to burn calories. Eat regular meals and snacks. Make sure you have some protein foods such as yogurt, tuna, beans etc. for most meals. Protein helps you feel full longer.
- Go hard core: Cut out sugar in your tea, coffee and cereal. Don’t bake with lots of sugar. Cut out liquid calories by eliminate cold drinks and sugary drinks. This includes iced tea, sports drinks and alcoholic beverages. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
- Treat yourself: Allow yourself one high- calorie snack daily. This means one biscuit, or two blocks of chocolate, and stick to that! When you have met a personal weight loss step (eg. 2-3 kg per month), treat yourself to something — but not food. Buy a CD or DVD you’ve been wanting, by a new piece of clothing or go out to a movie with a friend.
Sustainable lifestyle changes and weight loss
After the holidays, some of us may have indulged, and now, the clothes we wear are just a little too tight… oops! What we have to realise that weight loss is not a quick fix, found in a pill. The honest truth is what we all don’t like to hear/read: Weight loss means good diet, exercise and supplements. What we also need to consider is a mind- body link. When we nourish the body, reduce the physical, mental and emotional stress, and accept ourselves for all that we are, weight loss occurs in a sensible and sustainable way.
Here are some practical lifestyle habits to adopt, long term:
- Food choices: Our bodies are designed to process healthy, real food. This may sound obvious, however, many of us are unaware of the fact that modern diets contain ‘dead’ foods. Dead meaning they contain substantially less nutrients than natural foods. These include: Junk and fast foods, pizza’s, pasta’s, chips, sweets and chocolates etc. What we lack from daily eating is live foods, which are fresh and natural. Our bodies crave the foods that are nutrient dense and of superior quality. I always tell patients- an old fashioned diet is the best diet- boiling beans, salad, raw veg, low wheat and more rice/quinoa/millet/amaranth etc.
- Probiotics: Absorption of nutrients depends on the health of our intestinal system. The gut needs to be healthy in order to extract the nutrients from the food we eat. This requires the use of a very good probiotic, as well as having cultured foods (yoghurt etc.). This will not only aid in absorption, but also cleanse the colon and allow our bodies to release toxins easily.
- Stress: Cortisol and inflammatory hormones run rampant when your body is stressed. These hormones lead to constant cravings and sometimes we make the wrong food choices. This is what causes our bodies to store excess fat. We have to realise the importance of how to reduce stress in our lives. The power of spending quiet time alone, having a soak in the bath, sleeping an extra hour, meditation, gardening, hobbies and exercising are invaluable to stress reduction. What also comes to play with stress is by living a sustainable life. Not overspending, living on what you need, not what you want. Find a way to lower your expenses, and live simpler.
- Detoxing: The more excess fat we carry on our bodies, the more toxins we harbour. The body naturally uses fat as a storage tank for toxins it cannot eliminate! It is therefore, vital that we live a detoxifying diet, continuously. This means increasing lots of fresh, raw foods (salads and sprouts), increasing water intake, green juicing, and in general, alkalising the body.