So you notice the changing leaves, cooler air, earlier sunsets, following by the torrential downpours on your journey into work? This all points to one thing here in the U.K… yes winter is coming but so are the dreaded changes to your diet and exercise regime. You know what I mean, keeping high-calorie carbohydrate cravings at bay, followed by the excuses that stop you from exercising now that its dark and cold outside…it’s inevitable, or is it?
It’s time to get real, be consistent with our health, in what we’re doing year round, not just season to season. There are too many reasons to diet and exercise sporadically… birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and I don’t know about you, but I dislike diets, especially as they don’t work and are a waste of energy! Wouldn’t it just be easier to maintain a healthy and ‘you-friendly’ shape all year? Yes, undoubtedly yes!
So how do we go about it? A personal trainer once told me that in order to achieve a beach body (or a celebrity’s body as I prefer to think of it) you would have to spend a year in the gym eating a ‘clean diet‘. Beach body- who has the time for that?! I’m way past keeping a diary of how many lunges and push-ups I’ve completed or the amount of couscous I’ve eaten; if this is you, I applaud it. It takes a strong drive to maintain this military-like regime and still keep you sanity intact!
For the non- G.I Jane’s out there, a more practical solution is needed. As a food lover and a nutritionist, I would never recommend anyone to follow a very low calorie diet (VLCD) or ‘fad diet’. Why put yourself through the misery? So it’s a new chapter, not a new diet; burn the diet books! By following the changes below you’ll develop a healthier lifestyle.
The 8 Lifestyle Changes You Should Make Year Round Include:
- Mindfulness. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry? Maybe it’s just thirst? Think about what you are eating, the portion sizes and enjoy every mouthful; make time to enjoy meals with friends or family.
- Sleep. Studies have shown getting less than 7 hours of beauty sleep a night can lead to weight gain.
- Meal plan & eat in moderation. It’s possible to eat healthy meals on a budget all year; it just takes some planning and a little research. The My Supermarket app compares food prices and can reduce your bills. Your weight loss doesn’t occur on a daily basis, but over weeks & months, so avoid your daily, or weekly snacks or ‘treats’; your waistline will thank you!
- Reducing alcohol. Remember, alcohol=calories, whether it’s champagne, a martini or whatever your drink of choice.
- Experiment. Your old ‘diets’ or usual meals might have made you bored of food; seek a colourful dinner plate to make sure we eat as many nutrients as possible.
I encourage you try these healthy, alternative, stodgy winter recipes:
These versions slice the calories you would normally consume in their ‘standard’ recipes but do not fail to satisfy!
- Eat to stabilise your blood sugar levels. Try legumes, yoghurt, wholemeal pastas and rice, porridge, nuts, seeds and whole fruits. Protein and fibre will help keep you going for longer and reduce your appetite, whilst cupcakes and doughnuts, courtesy of the ‘office feeder’ won’t.
- Buy a measuring tape. Your weight can fluctuate daily, so ditch the scale; take measurements every 2-4 weeks to see your progress.
- Exercise! Get your heart racing for 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week. Studies show that even exercising for three 10 minute intervals/bursts per day is beneficial for your overall health. Keep motivated by involving your friends and family! Just keep your goals SMART, as you want to be able to keep up this new regime.
Be kind to yourself and maybe have a crack at some of these new workouts:
Always get a health professional’s opinion if you are new to exercise. I don’t want anyone injuring themselves.
Making these changes will allow your body to adjust to a healthy, comfortable weight. Just keep it realistic, interesting and remember, its ‘lifestyle changes’ so keep it up as the seasons change!
Check future articles for more great ways to exercise throughout the winter!
Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image: Running By: fatfeet_Flickr
BDA Weight Wise
Department of Health (DOH)