Every now and then, we have all found ourselves putting on a few extra kilos. This can be for many reasons including comfort eating, time restraints, injuries, health conditions and more recently, extended lock downs. It can be incredibly frustrating and even lead to feelings of low self-esteem or worthlessness. But, one thing to keep in mind is that in most cases, you can work your way back to your optimal or healthy weight with only a few minimal lifestyle changes.
Read on to learn how to deal with sudden weight gain without having to make radical changes in your life.
The most common cause for weight gain is intaking too many calories while not using enough energy. We understand that it’s not that simple as just “eating less” and there are many reasons why we can find ourselves overindulging in food. One of the simplest ways to reduce your calorie intake without having to diligently count them is by starting with smaller meal portions. Whatever you’re eating now, reduce the serving size by a quarter. You could also identify foods in the diet that contain large amounts of calories such as take away foods and sugary snacks. Rather than cutting them out completely, limit them to only once or twice a week as a treat. Eating foods that are high in fibre such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains can help you to feel fuller for longer and avoid those unwanted food cravings.
Exercise is one the best ways to fight off excess calories that cause unwanted weight. The best part is that you don’t need to run 10 km, you can start with simple incidental exercise by walking or riding to where you need to go instead of driving. Even small increases in daily movement will help you burn calories. Resistance training such as lifting weights is another great way to burn fat. When you lift weights, you build muscle mass which increases your metabolism as muscle requires lots of energy to sustain. Aim for 2 -3 sessions of resistance training a week.
Up your protein
Dietary protein is an essential component in weight loss. Protein helps produce feelings of fullness after a meal and when you don’t eat enough protein, you are more likely to eat excess calories from carbs and fats. How much protein you need all depends on how active you are. For a sedentary person aim for 1g/kg of bodyweight, but if you’re a regular gym goer you should be aiming for around 1.6g/kg of bodyweight. Knowing exactly what foods that contain protein can be difficult for the everyday person. If you’re an omnivore, increase your intake of meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs. If you’re plant-based eater, increase your consumption of nuts, seeds, whole grains, soy products and hemp seeds. Protein-rich food should consist of at least one quarter of your plate.
With holiday festivities coming up, chances are that your alcohol intake will increase. The problem with alcohol is that it contains an abundance of calories, which is a common barrier to weight loss. Ideally, you should be limiting your alcohol intake as much as possible, but we know that social outings can make this challenging. One of the ways to overcome this is to first try your best to limit your intake 1 to 2 drinks, but if you know this isn’t going to be the case, you can slightly reduce your calorie intake in the days leading up to the event to offset the calories from alcohol.
Getting enough sleep is often overlooked as one of the easiest ways to keep the weight off. Sleep helps regulate hormones that are responsible for appetite–ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is known as your “hunger hormone” as it stimulates your appetite with inadequate sleep increasing levels. Leptin on the other hand is your “satiety hormone” which sends signals to your body to let you know you are full that has been found to be decreased with poor sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours a night.
Be kind to yourself
Chances are that you’ve been through extended lockdown periods that have made it harder to maintain a healthy weight. Understanding that it’s completely normal for this to happen can help ease any guilt or shame you may be feeling. Christmas is a time for celebration, so be merry and treat yourself without worry. Even if you do gain a few extra kgs, you can get back to where you were by using these helpful tips.
If you have any questions or need some extra support with your health, feel free to email our head nutritionist Ben at email@example.com and subscribe to our blog for more updates.
This article does not constitute medical advice and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please see your medical professional before implementing the above