Winter is well and truly upon us. Along with the cooler temperatures and shorter days is the tendency to gain weight as we indulge in hot chocolate, puddings and pies much more frequently.
So how can you achieve weight loss success this winter without too much effort?
1. GET RID OF THE PASTRY
Whether it is your favourite croissant, sausage roll or warm fruit pie on the weekend, a high fat, high calorie pastry will quickly add on the kilos if you indulge too regularly.
A single serve of puff pastry contains more than 600 calories and 30g of fat, much of which is saturated, which is bad for both the fat in our blood and ultimately our weight.
Often poor dietary choices are made when we are presented with tempting foods without any reference point about whether they are a good choice or not.
Making a blanket rule about avoiding pastry altogether is an easy way to eliminate extra fat from your diet without the need to make the decision each time a tempting pastry treat comes your way.
2. SWAP A MEAL FOR VEGETABLES
Whether you prefer a daily salad, a light meal of vegetables, a breakfast vegetable juice or a nourishing soup, integrating one vegetable-based meal into your daily routine is an easy way to control your calories, while significantly increasing your nutrient intake.
As most vegetables and salads are literally calorie free (with the exception of corn, sweet potato and potato), using them as a meal base slashes your daily calorie intake, minus the feelings of deprivation that can be experienced on a diet that is constantly focused around "eating less" and "cutting back".
3. QUIT THE CALORIES IN DRINKS
You may love a chai latte or a cheeky hot chocolate, but the truth is that liquid calories, especially the sugars found in milk and juices, add up.
We do not eat less because we have consumed them and they result in rapid increases in blood glucose levels, which can drive hunger.
When you consider that a small hot chocolate can contain up to four teaspoons of sugar or six in a chai latte, it is easy to see why skipping these drinks in favour of green tea or black coffee can dramatically reduce your daily calorie intake.
4. CHANGE THE TIMES YOU EAT
Who needs a strict diet, when all you need to do is limit the number of hours each day that you eat?
The simple shift of eating in just 10-12 hours of each day leaves up to 14 hours a day without food which has been shown to have the same benefits when it comes to weight control as formal fasting.
So simply aiming to eat breakfast by 8am, lunch at 12pm and your final meal by 6pm will support weight control, without any real limits on what you are eating at these times.
5. EXERCISE AFTER DINNER
You are likely to skip early morning sessions when it is freezing outside. Instead, commit to a short training session or walk after dinner.
All you need is 30 minutes and exercising at this time will help to burn off the food consumed at dinner. It will also keep you out of the house, so you are less tempted by Tim Tams as you sit on the lounge and watch TV.
And even more powerful is the virtuous feeling you will have when you return, which in turn will help to motivate you to keep focused with your diet and weight loss goals.