The idea of trying to losing weight over the festive season may seem counterintuitive, but when compared to the alternative of gaining weight, it may just be worth trying!
According to Angela Leach, the Head Dietitian for FUTURELIFE® losing weight over the Christmas holidays is not as tough as you think, “With a little willpower, the right mindset and a few tricks for staying on track, it’s completely possible to achieve your weight loss goals.”
She offers 5 tricks to get you started your weight loss journey:
Follow an eating plan
The first step to weight loss is to follow a healthy eating plan. It will not only make it easier for you to stay on track, but it will also outline what you can and can’t eat. A good plan is one that is low in fat, sugar and salt. It should include a fair amount of protein and plenty of nutritious vegetables. Remember to steer clear of starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas and corn.
Eat a high-protein breakfast
A high-protein breakfast plays a vital role in your weight loss journey. It helps replenish your energy, kickstarts your metabolism, decreases your appetite and keeps you fuller for longer.
Snacks have a bad reputation, but they are in fact an important part of the weight loss process. They decrease your hunger, keep you from overeating at meal time and help get you through an afternoon energy slump. The trick is to ensure that you are snacking wisely. This can be particularly tough during the holidays when you are surrounded by Quality Streets and mince pies! Prepare for the moments when you will be tempted to cheat by ensuring that you always have healthy snacks like fresh fruits, unsalted nuts, popcorn, seeds, biltong and yoghurt on standby. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to give into your impulse of eating foods that are high in sugar and fat, and low in nutritional value.
Watch your portions
Watching your portions can be difficult over the holiday season, but it’s not impossible! Use the plate model, which suggests filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of your plate with protein and the other quarter with starchy foods. If you feel the need to reach for a second helping, rather drink a glass of water as this will make you feel fuller.
Water is crucial for digestion, hydration and can help you feel full. Many studies have also found a correlation between drinking water and weight loss. If you are struggling to get your full two litres in, you can set an alarm for every two hours or simply drink water before and after every meal. Also, avoid fruit juice, flavoured water, ice tea, and any other sugar-sweetened drinks. Lastly, if you enjoy hot beverages like tea or coffee, do not drink more than 3 cups per day, and do not add sugar as this is not ideal for weight loss.
“There is no need to wait for the new year kick-start your weight loss journey. And, the plus side is that if you are successful over the festive season, imagine how much easier it will be when you get back into your work routine,” Angela concludes.
Try this 3-day eating plan to get your weight-loss journey off to a good start:
*Important note: You will need to follow this eating plan for a couple of weeks to see good results. Don’t expect to lose 3kg in 3 days.
Breakfast: 50g FUTURELIFE®HIGH PROTEIN Smart food™ blended with ½ cup Low fat milk, ½ cup unsweetened yogurt and fresh fruit of your choice.
Snack: ½ cup or 100g low-fat yoghurt with 1 small banana
Lunch: Steak Wrap made with 1 whole grain wrap, 90g grilled steak strips, 1 cup raw grated carrots, tomato, onion, lettuce, beetroot and 1 teaspoon lite mayonnaise.
Snack: 1 cup cubed Paw-Paw or a FUTURELIFE®High Protein LITE SmartBar
Dinner: Grilled Hake, Sweet Potato and Salad: 120g grilled Hake, 1 cup mashed sweet potato, sprinkled with cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 cup green salad with ¼ avocado pear.
Breakfast: 50g FUTURELIFE®HIGH PROTEIN Smart food™ with ½ cup Low fat milk and 4 Strawberries, sliced.
Snack: 4 Provitas with 1 tablespoon peanut butter (unsweetened)
Lunch: Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potato and Salad: 1 chicken thigh and 1 chicken drumstick, skinless, ½ cup mashed potato, ½ sweet corn on the cob, 1 cup green salad.
Snack: 1 medium peach
Dinner: Egg and Mayo Sandwich: 2 slices FUTURELIFE®Smart Bread™, 2 eggs boiled or scrambled, 1 tablespoon Lite mayonnaise, 1 cup carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and cherry tomatoes.
Breakfast: 50g FUTURELIFE®HIGH PROTEIN Smart food™ blended with 1 cup Low fat milk, 1 cup ice, 1 banana, 1 tablespoon sugar-free peanut butter, 1 teaspoon honey.
Snack: ½ cup mango with ½ cup plain yogurt.
Lunch: Mozzarella and Smoked Chicken Open Sandwich with Green Salad: 2 slices FUTURELIFE®Smart Bread™, 40g grated mozzarella cheese, 2 slices smoked chicken (cold meat), 1 cup green salad.
Snack: 10 almonds
Dinner: Beef stir-fry with rice and salad: 1 cup brown rice, 90g beef strips, stroganoff style, 1 cup onion, mushroom and garlic, sautéed, 1 cup mixed vegetables (starchy and non-starchy, fresh or frozen) peas, sweet corn, carrots, beans, 1 cup green salad.
More about the expert:
Eastern Cape based Angela Leach is the Head Dietician for FUTURELIFE and heads the team of dietitians across the country. She completed her BSc Dietetics at the University of the Free State with all the “tools” required to go out into the world as a registered dietitian.She is also a sports nutrition enthusiast and as an avid mid to long distance runner herself, understands the complexities of tweaking the diet to best reach individual requirements for optimal performance outcomes. Learn more about Angela Leach here.
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