Are you one of the many Australians who have piled on the weight over winter? Being less active, not drinking enough water and eating too much carbohydrate and fat laden foods can all contribute to winter weight gain. Now that spring has come it’s time to shed those extra winter kilos.
Eat a low carbohydrate, high protein diet with vegetables at every meal.
An energy restricted diet which consists of low carbohydrate foods and high protein foods is beneficial for weight loss as it increases the loss of body fat, improves our muscles’ ability to use energy, and makes us feel fuller for longer. Protein rich foods include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. Start the day off with a protein rich breakfast such as eggs and avocado. Ensure you have protein with each meal to keep you from feeling hungry and from snacking between meals.
Be sure to include garlic, ginger, chilli and spices in your meals as these foods have been shown to aid in weight loss.
Adequate hydration is essential for weight loss. Our bodies require 35ml of water per kilo of body weight per day. If you weigh 70 kilos, that's 2.5 litres per day. We often confuse thirst for hunger, so before you eat have a drink of water and see if that gets rid of your hunger. Include green tea in your daily routine as green tea speeds up the metabolism and can help reduce body fat. Elderly adults who regularly drink green tea may stay more agile and independent than their peers over time.
Cleanse your colon
When your colon is clogged or sluggish, your body may not properly digest and absorb nutrients or get rid of waste effectively. Poor nutrient absorption and waste build up can contribute to weight gain. Eating high fibre foods such as vegetables, chia seeds, psyllium husks, oatbran, nuts and seeds will help clean out the colon and keep us feeling less hungry. Having a healthy bowel and gut flora will also ensure optimal colon health.
Keeping our liver healthy
Amongst its many duties, the liver also plays a key role in regulating your weight. A healthy liver will metabolise and remove excess dietary fat more efficiently. If your liver is burdened with waste materials then excess fat gets transported to other parts of the body for storage instead of being processed for energy.
Go for a walk every day, 45 minutes or longer if you can. Make the walk enjoyable and exchange some friendly words to people. If you are feeling adventurous go ocean swimming, play tennis, join a yoga, pilates or a dance class. The key is to enjoy the exercise you do and do it regularly and consistently. Exercise also has other proven benefits including helping to elevate your mood and reduce stress.
Get enough sleep
Your body needs around 8 hours sleep per night. Adequate sleep will help with weight loss and helps you look and feel great. Sleep allows the body to repair and heal itself. It also triggers the release of melatonin, which helps maintain good skin and reduces inflammation in the body. If we are well rested we are less likely to compensate for a lack of energy with high calorie foods. Lack of sleep also increases your appetite, in particular for high fat and high carbohydrate foods.
A daily serve of sunshine
Being low in Vitamin D can prevent you from shedding those extra kilos. The greater our vitamin D levels, the greater our weight loss particularly around the abdomen. The optimal vitamin D levels are above 75nmol/L. Our bodies require around 4,000 International Units (IU) or 100 micrograms of vitamin D each day.
The amount of sun exposure required for adequate vitamin D requirements need to be tailored to the individual. Factors that need to be considered include geographical location such as latitude, season, time of day, skin colour, age and clothing. On average, in summer we need up to 10 minutes of direct skin sun exposure and in winter we need up to 50 minutes of direct skin sun exposure (less for the northern states). The body's ability to manufacture vitamin D declines with age, so vitamin D deficiencies are common in older people.
Spring and summer are a great time to rejuvenate our health with an abundance of beautiful fresh produce and glorious sunshine. We are incredibly fortunate to be living in a country with a magnificent landscape and abundance of bushland, lakes, rainforests and ocean. Make the most of it and go outside to enjoy this beautiful country of ours.