Remember when last Spring arrived a bit faster than you anticipated and before you knew it you were facing wearing shorts and strappy tops and exposing legs and flabby arms … ouch… before you were ready for it? During the winter months we tend to eat more comfort foods and crash on the couch too much … often leading to a few unwanted extra kilo’s.
Here are some super tips to help you to spring into Spring without needing an emergency make over.
Spring tip 1: Eat light, eat often
Eating light and eating more often . Start each day with a healthy breakfast within two hours of waking. A healthy easy-to-make breakfast-on-the run is a fruit smoothie.
If you refuel with healthy snacks every two to three hours you need not eat a big midday meal. In fact, by eating at regular intervals, you will keep your blood sugar levels steady and balanced. This will increase your energy levels, manage your appetite, prevent food cravings and speed up your metabolism. All great things if your goal is to lose a little weight! Keep in mind that a smart snack should fit into your hand. After all it is a snack and not a meal. Each snack should contain about 500 kJ for women and 750 kJ for men.
Spring tip 2: Fill up on fibre
Most of us do not consume the 25 – 30 g of fibre we need each day. Fibre helps to keep you full by adding bulk to meals which increases volume and encourages you to chew! Fibre also slows down digestion and so keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Sneak in extra fibre with minimum effort:
– Have high fibre cereal for breakfast: Ideally, aim for a whole grain, unsweetened cereal such as oats or bran flakes with at least 5-10 grams of fibre per serving. You could also add some oat bran to your fruit smoothie.
– Make the switch: Use high fibre products where possible such as seed loaf bread in place of regular bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice or barley as a starch accompaniment.
– Choose fresh fruit, small portions of dried fruit or popcorn as smart snacks.
Spring tip 3: The power of protein
Protein can help you to feel fuller for longer by stabilizing your blood sugar levels. Include controlled amounts (one fistful or size of the palm of your hand) at each meal and as occasional snacks.
Some protein-smart snacks:
– A handful of sultanas or chopped dried apricots mixed with a few tablespoons of chunky cottage cheese
– Low fat cheese on two oat cakes or ryvitas
– Peanut butter, 1 tablespoon with fresh apple wedges, pear or any other piece of fruit
– A medium fresh fruit with a small handful of lean biltong
– A boiled egg with 3-4 whole wheat crackers
Spring tip 4: Colour-me-healthy
Eating 5 or more servings of a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables every day can help you to manage your weight as these foods are low in kilojoules but high in nutrients. Ensure that each meal you have has at least one to two fistfuls of colour coming from fresh fruit, salads or vegetables. This Spring, eat more vegetable-based meals such as stir-fries, salads, roasted vegetables or vegetable soup. Why not roast veggies in larger amounts using a little olive oil and fresh herbs, and refrigerate for a few days. Have crudités such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, baby corn and broccoli florets dipped into fat free cottage cheese or a low fat dip as a light meal or a smart snack. Visit www.fiveaday.co.za for more ideas on how to easily meet the 5-a-day challenge.
Spring tip 5: Lose weight with weights
It isn’t easy to find the time to exercise so when you do, make it worthwhile by doing resistance type exercise. As opposed to cardiovascular exercise that builds your fitness, resistance type exercises will help you spring into shape faster because these exercises build lean muscle. And lean muscle raises your basal metabolism…which causes you to burn more kilojoules. You’ll even burn more energy while you’re sleeping or sitting making sales calls! No access to a gym? No sweat. You can easily do resistance exercises by using stretch bands, stability balls and even your own body weight. Pop into your closest sports store for ideas and visit You tube for watching fun exercise videos.
This Spring remember to give yourself the best shot at success, make one change at a time. Be specific about what you want to change. Developing a habit of eating more fruit may seem daunting, whereas merely eating two pieces of fruit per day seems simpler! We all have a built-in blue print for good health and vitality. The choice to strive for exuberant and radiant health is yours for the taking this Spring!