Many of us may put on a kilo or two over the winter months due to less activity, and the natural gravitation towards warming comforting foods… namely CARBS! It is important to keep a check on this, and be mindful of our dietary and lifestyle practice before it gets out of control. A few extra kilos can easily turn in to 5 or 6 kilos, and before you know it there is a problem.
Interestingly, new fat cells only develop when existing fat cells are too full to stretch larger. Ideally, we should never put on more weight than what we may have done previously, because the more fat cells there are, the harder it will be to lose weight in the future. This is because the matrix of an exisiting fat cell has already been constructed, meaning that it is easy to fill, as opposed to having to develop from scratch.
Here are some practical tips to for you to use as guide to keep the extra kilos off:
Tip 1 : Choose the right foods for cellular health
Choose a broad range of nutrient dense foods that contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, rather than foods which just ‘shut up the hunger’… namely carbohydrates! Fuelling our cells with optimal nutrients will satisfy us rather than starving our cells to feed our fat stores.
If you regularly crave chocolate, it may mean that your body requires more magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral for insulin sensitivity. It helps the insulin to do its job by putting the energy you obtain from your food into cells. Magnesium is prevalent in leafy green vegetables, nuts (almonds), seeds and raw cocoa… hence the chocolate craving. In fact, if you include more magnesium rich foods into your diet, it may help to curb your chocolate cravings.
Here are some examples of foods that feed our cells, and help to keep unhealthy weight off:
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as: spinach and silver beet, which are great for blood sugar regulation, cell regulation and energy production.
- Cruciferous vegetables such as: broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, radish, brussel sprouts, cabbage (red, green, and Chinese) and kale, which helps assist the liver with detoxification, and is great fibre for optimal bowel function.
- Bitter vegetables such as: rocket, endive, sorrel, dandelion leaves, which helps with digestive enzyme function.
- Other rainbow coloured foods such as: red, yellow and green capsicum, celery, alfalfa, bean sprouts, artichokes, celeriac, red onions, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, beans, peas, broad beans, yellow squash, sweet potato (limit), pumpkins (limit), Chinese vegetables, aubergine, mushrooms, and more (non-starchy) vegetables. These are packed with vitamins for cellular renewal and repair, and phytochemicals which quench free radicals, and therefore protect against cancer cell lines.
Tip 2: Choose the right foods for blood sugar regulation
Giving in to cravings with a ‘quick fix’ of highly processed or starchy carbohydrates (such as hot chips), will only worsen blood sugar irregularities, and will cause weight gain. The best way to regulate your blood sugar from meal to meal is to have a diet containing good quality proteins and fats, with salads and vegetables. Protein provides our cells with the minerals and amino acids needed for cellular repair and growth (or re-building). Good fats such as omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acids provide the infrastructure that our cellular membranes need to absorb nutrients, and detoxify our cells efficiently. Here are some examples of foods which nourish our cells and help to regulate blood sugar:
- Sustainably caught fish for omega 3
- Seeds such as: pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy, which contain omega 6
- Avocados, which contain monounsaturated fats, and plenty of vitamins
- Coconut oil, which contains medium-chain fatty acids, and is suitable for cooking
- Unsalted nuts such as: cashew, macadamia, almonds
- Lean cuts of meat such as: beef, lamb, pork, chicken, kangaroo
- Gluten free grains (limit) such as: buckwheat, corn meal, rice (basmati, brown, wild), millet, quinoa.
Tip 3: Getting your meal portions and proportions right
Here are some guidelines to follow:
1. Include a palm sized (not hand sized) piece of protein with every meal such as:
- 2 eggs
- Lean meat
- Vegetarian protein – tofu, Tempe, lentils, beans
- 2 Tbsps. of natural pot-set yoghurt with nuts and seeds
2. Include something fresh (raw) with every meal, such as:
- Fresh leafy greens and chopped tomatoes, parsley, and radishes or capsicum with eggs, or a rocket salad before the evening meal
- Chopped herbs (parsley, coriander, spring onions, or chives) and lemon squeezed on steamed vegetables
- Vegetable sticks as a snack with hummus, or a nut dip
- Fresh berries with pot-set yoghurt on a small serving of warm porridge for breakfast
3. Incorporate healthy ratios of animal protein and fats:
- fish = 3-5 times per week
- lean meats = 1-2 times per week
- non-dairy, vegetarian proteins = 2-3 times per week (check out our recipes tab to find some great vegetarian dishes!)
- add nuts and seeds to salads, vegetables, yoghurt, or oats for extra protein and healthy fats
4. Incorporate 5-6 cups of vegetables and salads into your diet every day:
- Steam vegetables every night, and enjoy with a little drizzle of olive oil, or a squeeze of lemon juice
- Include vegetable sticks such as: celery, carrot, cauliflower florets, radish, and capsicum, as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.
- Pre-make vegetable and lentil soups (check out my Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Soup recipe!)
5. Exclude ALL processed and packaged foods (except some grain staples), added sugars (watch out for condiments), soft drinks and juice with strict limitations on alcohol and caffeine.
Sign up for the 2-week sugar challenge! We identify all of the hidden sugars that you are eating and support you through the challenge. See below for more information.
6. Drink at least 2 litres of purified water each day
- Add a squeeze of lemon
- Include herbal teas several times a day. Choose your favourite and reap the benefits of herbal properties. Chamomile calms anxiety; liquorice sustains energy; dandelion assists digestion; and peppermint assists with bloating.
Tip 4: Keep moving!
Just because it is winter, doesn’t mean you should take time off from exercise.
Keep moving throughout the winter months doing the exercise you love.
Additional to these tips on how to keep those kilos off through winter, we are running a 2-week sugar challenge in September. It’s great for that extra motivation, so sign up now!We identify all the hidden sugars that you are eating. You’ll receive a comprehensive resource pack which will be emailed to you once you sign up, and you’ll be added to our closed Facebook group so you have somewhere to find support.
The challenge is for two weeks, starting September 4th, 2017, so why not make that commitment and sign up now!
But if you can’t want to wait to then, check out the videos from my last sugar talk here!
Please note: This is only a guide and does not consider individual intolerances or allergies, nor does it consider functional foods that may be better suited to your individual dietary requirements and health goals. Please feel free to contact me if you require further assistance.