With summer just a few days away with its the promise of warmer weather, and less clothing, you may be thinking it’s time to shed the winter weight. Whether your goal is to look great for a date, for your summer holiday, a big event or just to look good in those floaty summer dresses, we turn to the latest diet in the hope that this time we will be successful in losing, and keeping off, the weight.
Having tried Paleo, 5:2, Dukan, The Carb Lovers Diet, white only food and the Maple Syrup Diet, low carb, no carb, calorie counting and no eating after 6pm, we all know how hard it is to stick to these prescriptive diets and often the weight piles back on the minute we go off them.
So here are 5 simple principles to be both healthy and to lose some extra pounds:
1. Watch Portion Size
Even if you are eating healthily you are going to put on weight if you are eating too much. If you are used to extra large portions, begin by cutting down the size of your meals until your stomach gets used to a smaller size and until the portion sizes are within recommended guidelines. Think a fist full for carbohydrates, a deck of cards for protein and a matchbox for cheese. Also try serving your meal on a smaller plate to trick your mind into thinking it has eaten more.
2. Eat loads of fruit and vegetables
Eating the recommended five serves of fruit and veg a day not only provides you with vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be healthy but can also provides fibre which helps lower cholesterol and can be a sweet treat to stop you craving sugar. Try freezing grapes for a deliciously sweet snack in summer or buy berries, which are currently in season so taste great right now.
3. Careful of hollow calories
Think about the essential nutrients that each food provides and ensure that each meal has a good mix. While drinks such as sodas and alcohol are enjoyable they offer no nutrients and yet are high in calories. Similarly with food high in sugar or simple carbohydrates that break down into sugar, which is then converted into fat, they offer little or no nutrition for our body. So unless you are about to run a marathon or need the energy for major physical exertion, leave them as an odd treat.
4. Complex Carbohydrates
Carbs shouldn’t be avoided but do choose carefully. Go for wholemeal or multigrain carbohydrates and the less processed the better. Wholemeal pasta, multigrain bread, beans and pulses and brown rice are full of fibre, vitamins and their bulk helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
5. Swap bad fats for good fats
While fats have more calories per gram than any other food, not all fats are bad. Essential fatty acids found in fish, nuts and vegetable oils can reduce bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol which will help protect your heart. Having a healthy amount of good fats in your diet is essential for good skin and hair as well as healthy joints and having fat in your diet can also help keep you fuller for longer.
But remember you’re not perfect. If you do muck up and binge on sweets, booze or fatty food, do not despair and give up, just put it behind you and make up for it tomorrow!
[picture credits: foodswings]