Healthy body overhaul
Getting back on track with a healthy diet after going off-piste is always difficult, but never fear, we’ve got some simple tips to help you turn things around.
Don’t stop eating!
Make sure you that you are eating enough, especially if you are battling cravings. Suddenly reducing your calories may lead to overeating or succumbing to a desire for unhealthy food because you are consuming too little for your needs. Whilst it is helpful to be mindful of your portion sizes, you don’t want to feel constantly hungry. Eating a good breakfast, lunch and dinner and having a few healthy snacks on hand will help stabilise your blood sugar and energy levels. This will help regulate your appetite and prevent you from reaching for the biscuits.
Curb the cravings
You can avoid post-lunch energy dips by including a source of protein at every meal, for example from lean meats, lentils, tofu or beans. Protein keeps you feeling full and may prevent overeating. If you feel hungry between meals, snack on fruit and don’t forget some healthy fats - adding a handful of raw nuts can also help stave off cravings and reduce the risk of reaching for sweet treats. For extra support, try chromium combined with B vitamins and zinc, which may also help reduce cravings and regulate blood glucose.
Choose foods that are warming and nourishing during the colder months. Soups and stews will keep you satisfied whilst also being a great opportunity to incorporate lots of seasonal vegetables into your meals. Vegetables are also a great source of fibre, helping to keep you fuller for longer and balance blood sugar.
Spice it up
Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland. Adding herbs and spices to your meal can have more benefits than just flavour. Studies have shown that adding cinnamon to a meal may help to regulate blood sugar, so why not add it to your breakfast porridge? Apple cider vinegar may also help reduce sugar cravings and has the added benefit of supporting digestion. Add a small amount to a glass of water and drink before a meal or use it as a base for dressings.
If you feel sluggish, incorporate lots of green vegetables into your diet as they help support the body’s natural detoxification process. Feel like you need some extra help? You might like to try milk thistle, a traditional herb that helps to relieve toxins after periods of indulgence.
It may seem obvious…
…but of course, exercise should always play a role in your health goals. Amongst the many health benefits, studies have shown it may help minimise cravings and actually increase energy levels. Find something you enjoy and it won’t feel like a chore.
Catch those Zs
Finally, don’t forget the importance of sleep. Lack of adequate rest affects the hunger hormones that help regulate our appetite. You may end up relying on sugar and caffeine to get you through the day, causing a rollercoaster of blood sugar highs and lows. Schedule a few early nights and it will be much easier to make healthier choices the next day.
Cinnamon: Cinnamyl Isobutyrate Decreases Plasma Glucose Levels and Total Energy Intake from a Standardized Breakfast: A Randomized, Crossover Intervention: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30133134
Sleep: Sleep-obesity relation: underlying mechanisms and consequences for treatment: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28164452
Exercise may reduce appetite: High-intensity intermittent exercise attenuates ad-libitum energy intake https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23835594
Exercise may increase energy: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effect of Aerobic Exercise Training on Feelings of Energy and Fatigue in Sedentary Young Adults with Persistent Fatigue https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/116610