One step at a time...
We all like to be as close as possible to our ‘perfect’ self. That may mean dropping a size or two, or just being careful that we stay the sensible weight we already are.
While drastic diets may work in the short term, what we really need are healthy eating patterns that we can live with long term and learn to love. Here are few hints to help you get closer to the ‘you’ you’d like to be.
Be calorie conscious
Calorie counting in itself won’t necessarily make you healthier, but to maintain a healthy weight what we eat does need to be balanced against the calories we use up. Getting rid of ‘empty’ calories – foods with sugar but little or no other nutrients – is an easy target to tackle.
- Save around 110-150 Calories by drinking water or a low-calorie beverage instead of full sugar soft drinks.
- Save around 170 Calories by snacking on an apple instead of an average sized chocolate bar.
- Save around 14 Calories with every teaspoon when you use a low calorie sugar alternative such as SPLENDA® in your cuppa, your coffee or to sprinkle over cereals and desserts.
Size is everything
A smaller you could start with smaller portions, it’s as simple as that. Knowing the right portion sizes takes a little research and practice, and sticking to them can be tricky, especially when you’re eating out or away from home.
- Serve meals and snacks on smaller plates.
- Cook slightly less than you normally do.
- Fill your plate with vegetables before serving anything else.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers straightaway so there’s no temptation to have seconds.
There’s no reason why you can’t eat out, eat healthily and enjoy it, in restaurants or with friends and family.
- Never arrive too hungry. Eat a piece of fruit or have a large glass of water before you go out
- Say ‘no’ to nibbles. Garlic bread, crisps, crusty rolls and butter can all add up to diet disaster
- Be the first to order. Then you can’t be tempted by what others have chosen.
- Dress down. Ask for dressings, sauces and spreads to be served ‘on the side’ and just use a small amount.
Get moving to get fit
Calorie intake is only one side of the equation. You also need to keep an eye on the calories you burn off before they turn to fat. Luckily the things we do every day can all help.
- Walk it off. A brisk 20-minute walk could burn off over 100 Calories.
- Dance the weight away. 60 minutes on the dance floor could shake off as many as 330 Calories.
- Turn housework into a workout. 60 minutes house cleaning could wipe away nearly 200 Calories.
It’s important to remember that calorie counting is not an exact science; the number of calories burned in an hour will depend on the activity, the intensity, your weight and gender, and as a general rule, the length of time spent exercising will affect the amount burnt off more than doing it harder and faster.
And do speak to your GP before starting any new physical activity.