How many Christmas parties did you attend last holiday season? I am sure these social events featured lavish meals, snacks and booze! With “diet” thrown out the window, no one was counting the calories (can you imagine the salt, fat and sugar content of all the food we consumed?) and we were simply enjoying time with loved ones.
However, it’s time to return to a nutritious routine – or start a new one to shed the unnecessary weight we’ve gained during the holiday season.
How can this be achieved? First of all, it requires a concrete decision from within yourself that you are ready to start NOW and not tomorrow. Don’t waste any time in getting back to eating the right portions and take a few confidence-building steps. Here are seven tips to get you started:
Start right now — Procrastination does nothing good because it’s too easy to justify another slice of cake or another serving of milk tea. “I’m starting my diet tomorrow” is never a good way to start your weight loss journey. You’ll then realize that you are already stuck in an “abyss” of delaying tactics and before you realize it, months had passed, and you are still uttering that phrase!
Get rid of snacks — Give up or cut back on snacks and condiments that do not contribute much by way of nutrients. These can be obvious (sweets and processed foods) or “sneaky” like salad but overflowing with mayo dressing, or even quick-cook burgers. Snacks are a significant player in the weight gain arena, so be wary of them.
Better fiber — Choose foods rich in nutritional fiber like whole grain breads, cereals, oatmeal, legumes, fruits, and vegetables like potatoes. A medium-sized potato with skin on (148 grams) has 2 grams of dietary fiber that help regulate blood glucose level and increase satiety, which makes you feel full longer.
There are a bunch of healthy potato recipes to experiment on, but if you want to get something done in a short span of time, try this yummy and easy recipe from Potatoes USA: Pesto Parmesan Potato Stackers.
Reduce the consumption of sweetened drinks and alcoholic beverages – Alcohol and sweet beverages like soda and artificially flavored fruit juices have significant caloric value, and they do not really contribute much to quenching thirst, so you just tend to drink more. You may not realize it, but it’s much like munching on candies! Drink plenty of water and herbal or green tea. Use natural non-caloric sweeteners or not use any at all. You’ll instantly feel better (thirst is quenched asap) and you’ll have no regrets later.
Tread carefully when it comes to your food intake — Be aware of which foods are the most energy dense or “rich,” and keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Not all foods are created equal in terms of nutrients. One example are nuts, which can be a highly nutritious part of a diet, and especially important for vegans as a source of protein but chewing on them mindlessly (snacking on them like popcorn!) can actually translate to trouble for your weight goals. Did you know that 100 grams of mixed nuts actually has over 600 calories?
It’s good to know that a medium-sized potato with skin on (148 grams) only has 110 calories. It also has 26 grams of complex carbohydrates (to fuel the brain!), 620 milligrams of potassium (good for the heart!), and loaded with 27 milligrams of Vitamin C and 3 grams of Protein.
Exercise — Move in ways you enjoy. If the weather allows it, go for a walk outside, and if not, you can always exercise indoors. A little movement is better than none at all.
After an awesome exercise, try integrating potatoes as part of your post-workout diet regimen. You need to re-fuel your body, especially the carbohydrates lost during your workout. Check out this amazingly simple recipe that is loaded with nutrients and is absolutely good for the body: 2-Ingredient Herb Mashed Potatoes.
Eat mindfully — Have small meals every 3-4 hours. The stomach is a muscle that has expanded throughout the years, especially after “explosive” holiday meals. The idea is to make the stomach feel like its capacity for food has shrunk – so there is a feeling of fullness even after eating smaller amounts of food.
Most important of all, be kind to yourself… You can do it!
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