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7 steps to feel lighter this spring

1.   Keep a food diary.Belly Fat

Lets start with food – one of the main culprits of weight gain. As with any weight loss plan, the goal is to reduce weight slowly by adopting better food choices that are sustainable. The first step to healthier eating is to be honest with yourself. Start a food diary and write down everything that passes your lips. That includes snacking while cooking, food on the go and especially the food you are munching on when nobody else can see you. Try to include how you felt at the time. Were you relaxed sitting at the table or watching TV? How hungry were you?

2.   Swap for healthier food choices.

Keeping a food diary will help you to track down some unhealthy eating patterns. The trick then is to swap a weight increasing eating habit with a healthier choice. For long-term weight loss, it is best just to focus on small changes at the time. For instance, my snack attack time would strike in the afternoon while cooking dinner for my family. My Swiss inheritance invitably led me to cheese and needless to say several not so small pieces of cheese would pass my lips. Knowing cheese is one of my problem areas, I now make sure I have a big container of cut raw celery, carrot or cucumber slices ready. Even better, the kids help me snacking before dinner and they get extra vegies. Nice win/win situation.

3.   When less is more.

Eating smaller meals more regularly. Hopefully you have moved on from starving yourself all day and only eat once or twice a day. This kind of eating pattern slows the metabolism down and the body shifts itself into starvation mode. As the body is not quite sure whether there will be a regular supply of nutrients, it stashes away as many calories as possible from that well-deserved lunch or dinner in preparation for more starvation. Do yourself a favour and eat regularly about every 4 hours. You wouldn’t drive your car around on empty, so why would you expect your body to do so?

4.   The power of protein.

Eating protein at every meal will not only help you balance blood sugar levels but also make you feel fuller. This makes it less likely for you to overeat and if you don’t overeat, you are less likely to fall into that after lunch or dinner slump where you just want to curl up and go to sleep. Good sources of protein are nuts, seeds, roasted chickpeas, cheese, yoghurt etc.

5.   Exercise will speed up weight loss.

Exercising will do wonders for your wellbeing. Find an exerise you really enjoy and set realistic goals. Start off with shorter sessions of 20 minutes and build up from there. Exercising with a friend or a group makes it more fun. You are more likely to continue with your fitness plan if you have committed to meeting a friend. Next time you are meeting a friend for coffee, why don’t you suggest a walk or bike ride instead. Besides still being able to chat, you get some fresh air and feel great afterwards.

6.   Be prepared.

Planning your exercise ahead. In order to establish a regular exercise routine you will have to plan ahead just like you would when planning for your dinner. Work out what is the best time to fit in some exercise and pencil it into your diary. Being prepared means you will not have to use excuses such as not having your runners with you and conveniently skip exercising for the day. If you are pushed for time, find ways to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule. For example, ride to work at least once a week, park the car further from the office, swim laps while the kids are doing swimming lessons or exercise while in front of the TV.

7.   Be kind to yourself.

Weight loss is not only the result of what you eat and how much you exercise. It is also the result of how you feel about yourself. Louise Hay suggests that our thinking either makes us feel good or it makes us feel bad. What appears to be a weight issue can often be self-hatred. Accepting the way you are and continually building a more supportive relationship with your body can often lead to healthier eating. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and thought: “Wow, look at that gorgeous creature!” Chances are you were either intoxicated or too busy focusing on those less than perfect body parts. Everyday we try to please everybody around us but how many gentle and encouraging words do we have for ourselves. Start seeing yourself more as a dear friend than the chubby person in the mirror. Being kind and gentle with yourself will go a long way.

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