We can all fall into the trap that what is causing us to put on weight is the big binges such as meals out or a few too many slices of cake. However, it’s really the small choices we make every day that are affecting our weight management. Luckily, we can all make some easy changes to our routine to help keep the middle aged spread at bay!
1. Sit At The Table and Eat Mindfully
How we eat is just as important as what we eat, and eating mindfully is something we have lost as life gets busier and technology takes over our homes. Often now we eat on the go, grabbing a quick snack while we run to a meeting, or have our dinners in front of the TV. All these things distract us from focusing on what we are eating.
It takes between 15 to 20 minutes for our brains to register the food we have eaten and send the signal to our stomach that we are full. If we are distracted, were more likely to mindlessly keep eating without taking notice. However we are less likely to over eat if we put down our phones, chew thoroughly, pause between mouthfuls, and really appreciate our food. Try resting your fork down while you enjoy eat mouthful. You become more in tune with your brain and your stomach and are less likely to over eat.
2. Focus on Plant Based Food
This doesn’t mean ditching the meat all together and becoming vegetarian or vegan. However, plant based food has been linked to lower rates of obesity and it is important to make sure we get a good balance. At dinner, make sure that half your plate is plant based – whether its vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes, nuts or seeds, with smaller amounts of dairy, fish and meat.
There is no problem with carbs, but increasing the fibre, vitamins and minerals we eat helps you maintain a healthy body weight rather than overloading on too many carbs.
3. Eat Breakfast
How many times have you heard that it’s the most important meal of the day? Well its true! Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism for the day. It gives you energy to get things done, helps you focus and makes you less likely to crave something high in fat and sugar to get some energy. Studies have found that those eating breakfast are generally thinner than those who don’t. Its also important to make sure your breakfast is nutritional with a mix of carbs, protein, healthy fats and fiber.
4. Get A Good Nights Sleep
Before you reach for your all-important brekkie, making sure you have a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining a healthy weight. Poor nights sleep can lead to a deregulated appetite and an increase in consumption of foods to give you energy. We tend to snack more on unhealthy food full of fat when we are craving the energy because we are over tired. One study also found that poor sleep increases the hunger hormone.
So make sure you don’t go to bed too late and ban your phones from the bedroom to ensure you get a good quality sleep
5. Be Aware of Your Cutlery and Crockery
It may sound strange, but being aware of your cutlery and crockery can really help in maintaining a healthy weight. Eating from larger plates and bowls means we tend to eat more. Instead of eating pasta from large pasta bowls, try to eat from cereal bowls instead.
Susanna Reid from Good Morning Britain recently attributed her 1-½ stone weight loss in part to not eating food if it doesn’t require cutlery. It you eat it with your hands, such as a biscuit, it might be wise to avoid. Although this doesn’t apply to all food, it is true that mindless grazing wrecks your blood sugar levels that can lead to hunger and cravings, plus adds extra calories to our days eating so it is a good way to help control snacking.