Gaining weight during the winter season is nothing new, and with the seemingly endless stream of storms that have battered Ireland in recent months, it is inevitable that many of us will be spending far more time than usual parked in front of our screens.
Although we did lay out guidelines on how to avoid gaining weight during the holiday season, we know that some of you may not have adhered to them religiously. So today we’re going to look at some simple but effective ways to shift those stubborn pounds.
As important as it is to exercise, either to lose weight or simply stay fit, the reality is that altering your diet is the most effective way to lose weight. First off is of course, breakfast. Although we have been told all our lives that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, a full, hearty breakfast is one of the main reasons that we gain weight. A small, low-sugar breakfast is a much smarter choice. Something like Wheatabix or two slices of brown-bread toast is more than enough to tide you over until lunchtime.
Coffee and tea help not only to wake you up, but also give you energy and help “fill” you. It may come as a shock, but our bodies can actually mix up feelings of hunger and thirst, so you may be surprised at how satisfying a tea or coffee alone can be. Ideally you should try and weed out any sugar or full-fat milk that you take with your hot drinks, although honey is proving to be a popular healthy alternative to sugar for many coffee drinkers.
Lunch is actually a far more important meal than breakfast, but don’t get too excited. Having a small breakfast doesn’t mean you can go all-out at lunch. The most important thing to remember when it comes to any meal is portion control, and lunch is no exception. You should have a filling meal that will give you the energy you need for the rest of the day, but eating until you’re full just causes your stomach to expand over time. Likewise, reducing your portions will gradually cause it to shrink, and you’ll soon find that you really don’t need large amounts of food. Smoothies are a great way to get a wide range of your daily requirements and satisfy your hunger without going overboard, and with the recent rise in popularity of appliances like the Nutribullet, there has never been a better time to take up this healthy habit.
When it comes to meals, dinner is your best friend. You should feel free to enjoy your choice of meat, pasta, potatoes, and so on. Just remember that in the fight against weight, portion control is the best weapon. You should also have dinner before 8PM, and avoid eating anything substantial after 9PM, as your body doesn’t digest food as well in its sleep, and you’ll have a worse night’s sleep because of the extra effort required.
At the other end of the spectrum, snacks are something to be avoided. Of course you can snack, but don’t make a habit of it, as it is hard to keep track of how much you are really eating, which is why snacking is one of the leading causes of weight gain. Once again, portion control is a handy tool for tackling this problem, but what you snack on is also extremely important. Rather than buying yourself a pile of sweets for a night in, spend the money on something less substantial, but more delicious. You don’t need chocolate, gummies, crisps, and popcorn to enjoy a night in. Things like no-bake cheesecakes or dark-chocolate may seem expensive, but many people will end up spending more on a full spread of cheaper sweets. Not only are these usually higher in sugar and fat, but we also tend to eat much more of them. By switching the type of snacks you consume, you’ll not only be eating healthier, but you’ll be eating less, and as we have said already, that’s the real key to weight loss.