Fitness Report: Shaping Up For The Holidays
We spoke to three healthy-living experts to find out how to drop those last few kilos safely and stay fit.
The festive season is soon upon us. In South Africa, that means long, balmy days lounging by the poolside or at the beach in December, which is in just a few short days. It also means it’s time to say goodbye to the last few nasty pounds and adopt habits that will keep you healthy and in shape right into the New Year! That way, your resolutions for 2018 won’t include (yet another) brand-new diet or gym membership, because you will already be on your best behaviour.
Most quick fixes for getting your body into shape aren’t sustainable in the long term. To get an all-around approach to an easy and quick slim-down, we’ve asked three healthy-living experts to give us their best advice
Food for Thought
You don’t have to make dramatic changes to your diet if you want to lose a bit of weight, says Claire Julsing Strydom, a dietician at Nutritional Solutions.
Swap your meat for legumes.
Chickpeas, lentils and various other legumes are a great source of plant-based protein, and are relatively low in kilojoules compared to meat options. The benefit of adding them into your diet is that you can eat a much higher volume, for less energy. Including more plant-based proteins is also a sustainable food choice. Bring on meat-free Mondays!
Eat dinner by 6pm.
Eating a healthy dinner early in the evening and abstaining from food until the next morning is a great way to keep your insulin levels from spiking, boost the growth hormone levels that peak while you sleep and assist with weight loss. Additionally, you get the benefits of intermittent fasting, without actually having to fast.
Keeping hydrated is crucial not only for your overall health, but also for managing your weight. It increases your ability to burn fat – a good rule of thumb is to drink one glass of water for every 10kg you weigh. It also helps to reduce what you may think is hunger, but is actually your body telling you it needs hydrating. So, if you feel hungry, have a glass of water first and see if that helps
Jono Cloete, founder of Urban Fitness Outdoor SA (UFO), has some simple ways to get your motivation in full swing. Burning those extra calories doesn’t have to seem like a chore.
1. Create a fitness vision
One of the most crucial things is to set a goal in your mind that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If you aim at nothing, that’s precisely what you’ll achieve. Make sure the goals you do set for yourself excite you, motivate you and keep you going.
2. Look for opportunities to move.
In your day-to-day routine, there are always opportunities for getting active. Your task is to acknowledge them. Take a flight of stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car at a distance from the mall, instead of choosing the bay right next to the entrance. There are small opportunities every day that will allow you to burn those extra calories.
3. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
Whatever you want to achieve, you’ll have to start somewhere, and taking small steps is alright. Walking around the block once a day will make you better than the person on the couch. Just get going, and remember that every little bit of work you do on your body and lifestyle is taking you forward.
Top tip: to optimise your sleep, keep a routine bedtime in a dark, cool room, and make sure there are no lights from electronic devices.
Your Daily Routine
There are a few extra things you can add into your daily routine to help you burn calories in an easy way. Wellness expert Lisa Raleigh has some useful suggestions:
Focus on getting enough quality sleep.
When it comes to weight management, sleep keeps your hormones in check – especially those that help to regulate hunger. Not getting enough sleep puts stress on the body. This leads to a higher production of your hunger hormone and a decrease in the hormone that tells your body it has enough food.
Reduce your intake of refined foods – particularly carbohydrates.
Swapping refined carbohydrates for healthier complex, wholegrain carbs such as brown rice, potatoes and starchy vegetables is crucial not only for your waistline, but your overall health too. Complex carbs provide a far better nutrient profile and keep us fuller for longer, on less. Refined carbs, on the other hand, give us unhealthy sugar spikes that leave us hungry sooner and promote overeating.
Stay clear of drinks that are jam-packed with sugar.
Summer’s heat may well leave you parched and craving icy cocktails and fizzy drinks. These, however, aren’t going to do anything except spike your energy levels for short periods of time and add to your waistline. Stay hydrated by keeping a bottle of ice water with you wherever you go and choose drinks that contain minimal sugar. Also, summer fruits containing a high percentage of water like watermelon, berries, pineapples, cantaloupes and peaches will keep you refreshed during the heat. Leave them in the fridge overnight and enjoy an ice-cold fruit salad!
Finding an effective, yet trustworthy weight-loss system will always require a holistic approach. The foundation should be the food you eat, the exercise regime you practise and your overall lifestyle. Although the recommendations we’ve provided here are proven to be effective, we cannot guarantee they will be right for you. We recommended that you see your general practitioner before making any dramatic lifestyle changes, to ensure your safety. Let the countdown to the festive season begin!
Like what you read? Read our article on what to pack in your gym bag here.