In the cold days we find natural changes happening to our diet and exercise habits. We are not as motivated to get up and exercise in the mornings, we want to eat hot soups, warm stews and curries (a salad just won’t cut it!), we often eat larger portions, and we want to enjoy some sherry or red wine in front of a warm fire! Do you let yourself go in winter months? Learn to use this winter to prepare your body for the summer.
A good starting point is to get your goals organised. These can be anything from losing weight, not gaining weight, getting fitter, to gaining muscle. Write them down and hang them in a visible spot. This will help encourage and motivate you. Track your progress through the months by regular weighing (for information on your progress – don’t do this if you are too emotional about your number), keeping a food/exercise diary or journal, or having a tick-list of some important daily goals you need to do to achieve the ultimate goal.
Make warm, enjoyable meals
It is harder to eat cold food in winter, but warm food does not need to mean unhealthy food. It is also important that you make meals that you will enjoy. Focus on vegetables and lean meats. Complex, high fibre carbohydrates are also good to use, but are often unnecessary and generally make the meal portions too large.
Soups are a wonderful meal – they are a fantastic way to bulk up your veggie intake. Stews and curries are two other winter favourites, and if you have ever made them you’ll know that they don’t have to be unhealthy. Rather add extra veggies to the meal than serve them with rice or other starches. And if salad is what you feel like, remember that there are some delicious, healthy, warm salad recipes. See the Warm Roasted Veg Salad recipe below.
Keep high risk foods out of the house or out of sight!
Don’t make life more difficult for yourself – if you stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods you’ll be more likely to choose well when you are hungry. Have fruit, dried fruit (but be mindful of portions), nuts, biltong, popcorn, high fibre crackers, crudité etc. available. If you do have chocolates, biscuits or chips etc. in the house make sure they are packed away – as far back in the cupboards as possible – to decrease the trigger to making the inappropriate choice.
Drink your 2 litres of water per day
An important point to remember is that when you don’t drink enough water your body is more likely to send out a hunger signal when it needs fluid. If you are struggling to drink your 2 litres of water every day because it’s too cold try a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and some fresh ginger.
Eat if you are hungry
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not eating enough during the day and thereby overeating at night. The longer you don’t eat when your body needs energy the greater your change of overeating later. Make sure that you tune into your body and listen to when you need energy. Eating well during the day helps with portion control at night.
For best results, combine a diet change with an exercise routine. And if you want to see results, you need to realise when you are making excuses. Don’t give into them! Plan ahead and be organised so that you are less likely to give into excuses. Getting into a good habit can only help you get into a healthy routine and have a body you would like to show off as summer starts!