After a long and very chilly winter, the warmer weather is a great opportunity for us to start creating a healthier and happier you! Here are some guaranteed tips that will help increase your energy, reduce inflammation, minimise oxidative stress and help you lose that last few kilos.
1. Focus on balance. Avoid meals and snacks that are dominated by carbohydrates, protein, or fat. Try to make sure you are including plenty of vegetables and/or fruit as well. A great start is to aim for a dinner plate of ¼ carbohydrates, ¼ protein, and ½ vegetables. Look at a meal you’re making and ask…can I add some more veggies to this?
2. Switch the carbs and drop the sugar. Highly processed carbohydrates and foods high in added sugar have been stripped of their nutrition. They provide very little benefit aside from spiking blood sugar which promotes weight gain. Eat low GI carbs like brown rice, wholemeal bread/pasta, oats, sweet potato, lentils, and legumes. Drop foods with lots of added sugar like flavoured yoghurt. Read the ingredients list and if sugar is in the first 4 ingredients then run for the hills!
3. Get moving. When we are young, our bodies take care of themselves, build muscle and burn fat. As we get older those signals start to weaken so we need exercise to help us out. You don’t have to kill yourself in the gym immediately. Aim for at least 1 hour of physical activity a day (around 10,000 steps), take the stairs, and stand up for longer at work and on public transport. In addition, try to do 3-4 set exercise sessions a week where your heart rate is up like walking, running, swimming or cycling.
4. Get organised. The key to being successful is good planning! Try planning your meals for the week, or even preparing some meals or ingredients. Have access to easy and quick healthy options so you don’t reach for the snacks. All of this will make it easier for you to stick to your diet.
5. Set some goals. Focus on goals that alter your behaviour. We set goals around our professional life, financial life etc, but rarely for our behaviours. Don’t set outcome goals like “I’m going to lose 5 kilograms’ instead try and set a behaviour based goal. Examples include: ‘I will plan my meals for the week’, ‘I will swap the soda for water’. This way, the outcomes will take care of themselves.
Kick start your spring by doing these simple tips and you will see a happier and healthier you by summer.