Christmastime came and left us in a heartbeat, leaving its warm, festive mark upon each and every one of us – as far as calories go, at least.
We can’t be blamed. It was Christmas after all. But with our New Year’s Resolution now in full force, here are six hacks you could use to get you back on track.
1. Don’t make too many changes at once
The ‘New Year, New Me,’ mantra often sees us go from one extreme to another. It’s a wonderous thing how one can go months of unhealthy eating, but come New Year, shift to CrossFit six-times-a-week whilst eating nothing but salads and the odd fruit here and there.
Often-a-time, our efforts at reclaiming a favourable number on the scale go awry purely because of our desire to get results fast. But frustratingly, the body has its own inherent desire to remain unchanged, no matter what torture you put it through. So much so it may lead one to throw in the towel before results even come.
By eliminating the habits which hold us back, gradually, our progress is governed by the only warden we’ve come to love: comfort. Comfort keeps us happy with the journeys we choose to embark upon. Comfort is cool.
Today it could be substituting sodas for water. Tomorrow it could be going to the gym. Who knows?
2. Make good food available
You’re bound to get hungry at some point, right? Correcting that problem is the least of our problems. By keeping our pantries stocked with the healthy stuff, we have already laid out the foundations for eating our way to a healthy weight.
Beans, fruits, veggies, lean and unprocessed proteins (fish, poultry, lean meats, tofu, tempeh), whole grains, nuts, avocados, and olive oil generally fit the bill for most of us. So just take that sad, gaping hole once occupied by the Christmas pudding and replace it with any or all of those.
3. Coffee and Tea are your friends
You’re sitting at work and get that annoying pang of hunger. Damn.
But is it really hunger? As far as logic goes, considering that we live in Malta in 2022, it probably isn’t. Rather, it’s probably tea time.
Teas and coffees (absent sugar, creamers, caramel and all the fancy stuff) are essentially herbs, or roasted beans in hot water.
Not only are they full of healthy antioxidants which fight off nasty diseases, but they are also absent of any calories that spike your blood sugar and drive your body to store fat.
The heat compliments the strategy, too. This, because it keeps you sipping happily as you continue to engage in social interactions. Something that you would have otherwise done with food.
Creating large gaps between mealtimes keeps your body free from always having to deal with the copious amounts of fuel you give it.
4. Less driving, more walking and more cycling
Being spoilt for choice when it comes to transport may come across as a blessing. In actual fact, it’s a curse that condemned us to sedentary livelihoods.
Consistent movement throughout the day is one of weight gain’s most feared enemies. Firstly, the nature of the movement is one that promotes the burning of fat, because the sugar stored in our muscles (this is the body’s alternate source of fuel) is reserved for more intense bursts of activity.
72 % of the Maltese population is said to be classed as sedentary. That means almost three out of four people in the island do not walk for at least thirty minutes per day, five days per week.
Conversely, researchers at the London School, Harvard and Stanford classified not walking for at least one hour per day as a ‘high-risk behaviour’.
Accumulating steps could be the driving force you need to shave off those excess pounds. This, not in the form of one straight walk, but even gradually throughout your day.
5. Cut down on eating out
Ordering a salad from your favourite eatery may be a better option than cheese-coated truffle fries dipped in soda (people do this). But ultimately, you have no idea of what exactly was used to cook that dish.
How much oil is used? What type of oil? Was sugar used? Where was the meat sourced? What’s in that dressing? You need answers, but bombarding your waiter with questions is a surefire way to get yourself inducted into a restaurant’s hall of infamy. Especially if you’re out with friends.
By cooking more often at home, you’ll lead the charge when it comes to deciding what goes into your body. A regular kitchen Mussolini but with wholegrain linguini.
Cutting down on eating out doesn’t mean NOT eating out. It just means eating home for the most part. You’ll be surprised to find that occasions where you do eat out become all the more special as a result.
Who’d have thought not eating could help you lose weight? I jest. Fasting doesn’t mean ‘not eating’. Rather, it means eating within a specific time window.
Anywhere from 12 hours and beyond, with the 12-hour window is the most manageable. Occasionally skipping an early breakfast on days when you’re not hungry means extending that window.
Fasting is a neat way to increase muscle mass, reduce bodily inflammation and even repair the machinery tasked with processing food.
Lord knows they need a break after having worked overtime last December.
Tag a friend who needs to read this!