So 2019 has arrived and it’s a new year…new you? Honestly how many times have we heard that one?
The truth is the only thing that has changed is the year. You, the person, remains the same, with one slight alteration – hope for the future and a fresh outlook for the year ahead.
Last year I decided that enough was enough. After having a baby four years ago and doing extended breastfeeding I was tired of looking at flabby sections in my mid-section, arms and legs. Motherhood has been a great experience and now that my little one is more independent and off to school there is finally time for me.
Although I wanted to lose weight during 2018, I didn’t do very much to make it happen. I enjoyed eating my brie and crackers, or digging into sour cream and chive Pringles (usually half the container in one sitting), and enjoying a glass of wine in the evenings after work several times a week.
Seeing some unflattering pictures taken of myself on my last birthday gave me the impetus I needed to make some necessary changes to my diet, and I decided that 2019 was going to be the year I took matters into my own hands.
Although for many years I’ve been a Herbal life kind of girl, I’ve recently taken up the Arbonne challenge of 30 days to a new you and I’m on my way. My day job helps as well as Need2Know books have a great collection of health books to learn and draw inspiration from.
Here are my 5 tips to get you started on the road to a new you in 2019:
1. Stay Hydrated
I’m always surprised when I come across people who do not drink water. Water is vitally important as it helps to cleanse the body.
If you drink water before meals, it can actually help you lose weight. It helps you to burn off a few more calories by boosting your metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours.
When compared to those who don’t drink water, one study found that those who drank half a litre around 30 minutes before meals helped them lose 44% more weight and eat fewer calories.
When drinking water, I like to put a bit of lemon in it and use a large water bottle. This helps to moderate my water intake over the course of a day.
2. Be Careful around Carbs
Weight gain (or failure to lose weight) is so often blamed on the tempting nature of the humble carb. This is not entirely untrue, but it has more to do with the over-eatability of many types of carbohydrates (like crisps and bread) than the nature of the carbs themselves.
According to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland, whole-grain carbs like unrefined brown rice, pasta and bread might actually help you lose weight. So let’s not be completely dismissive of the misunderstood c-word.
However, if you are looking to restructure your eating habits I have found that cutting out white potatoes of all kind, minimising pasta and removing white rice to be helpful in busting inches off of my waistline.
In addition, although you may enjoy your snacks be careful what you are snacking on. Instead of Pringles or my beloved cheese, I am enjoying rice crackers, gluten free crisp crackers, and sliced sweet peppers. They are low in calories and will take hunger away.
3. Tracking and Planning
When it comes to introducing a healthier lifestyle, I find a little planning can really make a big difference.
Planning meals and snacks in advance can make it much easier to control what I and those around me (my family) eat. This reduces the temptation of impulse buying and spending more. It also makes it easier to find the motivation to cook family meals, instead of falling back on take-out dishes laden with sugar, sodium and oil.
4. Eat more Fish!
Unless you are going for a meat free Vegan diet which of course could potentially knock off a lot of weight, eating more fish is good for you and is low in calories.
Surprised? According to a study by Johns Hopkins University in the US, eating things like crab, tuna, salmon and oysters – as well as other foods high in copper like Brazil nuts and beef – can improve your fat cells’ ability to regulate metabolic processes and help you lose fat as a result.
The ways in which fat cells process the burning and storage of sugars and fatty acids can be altered by the amount of copper you consume, and those with lower levels of copper ended up storing more fat.
5. Add a Salad to Every Meal
Increasing my intake of salad leaves and other healthy vegetables has been a great way to cut down on the amount of refined, unhealthy carbohydrates I’ve been tempted to eat in the past.
These days I rarely eat rice in a meal and I fill my plate with heaps of salad. Salad certainly doesn’t have to be boring and I love Caesar lettuce, spinach leaves and rocket salad. I load them up with onions, tomatoes and sweet peppers.
Never underestimate the power of a good side salad that can help to complement a serving of fish or low fat meat. If you are vegan use avocado and sweet peppers to complete your meal.
6. Hold Yourself Accountable
If you want to lose weight, you need to be consistent and exercise is necessary. Working out doesn’t have to be taxing and you do not need to become a body builder.
All you need is 10 to 20 minutes a day and this can do wonders for your figure. Using a simple plan such as BX Plans can point you in the right direction.
As I often drive around in the car, walking my daughter to and from school every morning and afternoon helps my quota of daily exercise. I would say from doing this simple activity I am getting 20 minutes of exercise everyday.
Walking your children to school or walking your dog, if you have one, can easily be worked into your routine and will help to get your body moving.
Whatever you do it needs to be consistent (though that doesn’t mean you need to do the exact same exercise routine every morning). Remember that sticking to a fitness routine will never be as easy as starting one, but it’s so worthwhile.
7. Be Wary of Hidden Sugars
Condiments, shop-bought sauces and all manner of other surprising foods can actually be full of added sugars. If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to look for foods that don’t have all that added sugar.
So if you are like me and you enjoy a tipple go easy on the alcohol and choose desserts and snacks that aren’t high in fat and sugars.
Trying to lose weight can be very daunting but I have lost almost 3 inches off of my waist since eating better over the last 2 months. And what I’ve shared is not new to anyone. The hard part is not being tempted by fatty foods and alcohol and slipping into bad habits. Healthy eating should be for life and this is the challenge, but the choice is up to you.