Imagine if you were able to drop a few kilos minus the extra tough workouts and strict diet in 2019.
When it comes to weight loss it is well documented that extreme diets rarely keep the kilos at bay long-term. So if your New Year's goal is to do something about your weight, it might be worth approaching things from a fresh perspective.
Here are some general approaches to your diet and nutrition which may support weight loss, without you having to work too hard.
Time it right
Research shows that when we limit our eating to just eight to 10 hours each day, or not eating for 14 to 16 hours of each day, it is a strategy that appears to support weight control minus any specific calorie counting or dietary rules.
Committing to longer periods of time minus any calories appears to help reset some of the hormones that regulate fat metabolism in the body. In real terms this translates into having an early dinner, or having your first meal later in the day to support a longer overnight fast.
Here the only things you need to pay attention to is what time you are eating each day, as limiting the number of total hours we eat naturally controls calorie intake.
It has been shown that consuming wholefoods — such as a steak as opposed to mincemeat, or wholegrain bread rather than white — results in a higher calorie burn than the more processed food alternatives.
This means that the more natural the state of the food you eat, the better it is for metabolism.
Enjoy vegetables and fruit whole, with the skin intact; fillets of fish, meat and chicken and wholefood snacks such as nuts, fruit and yoghurt rather than processed biscuits, bars and cakes.
Choosing wholefoods also tends to reduce calorie intake overall and we reduce our intake of processed foods that tend to have added sugars and fats.
Focus on vegies
Diets are often focused around what we should not be eating.
Focusing on what we should not be doing can often work in reverse, resulting in an increased focus on the tempting, high-calorie foods we ideally need to cut back on to control calorie intake.
Instead, if we focus on boosting our overall vegetable intake, the focus is on eating more, not less and the more salad and vegetables we eat, the lower our overall calorie intake tends to be, supporting weight control.
Try adding a vegetable side or a juice to your breakfast, salads and soups for lunches, and at least two to three cups of mixed salad and vegetables with your evening meal to significantly boost your vegetable intake.
Include foods you like
Diets often fail because we are lured by our favourite sweet treat, glass of wine or fail to factor in eating out as part of our regular dietary regimen. When you factor these foods into your regular meal plan, in controlled volumes, you are less likely to experience the feelings of deprivation that can be associated with stricter diets.
You're then more likely able to stick to your healthy eating plan the rest of the time.
This translates into enjoying a meal out regularly, factoring in a portion controlled sweet treat after dinner, or giving yourself permission to enjoy a glass or two of wine a couple of nights each week, depending on your preferred style of indulgence.
Take your food
Whenever we buy a meal away from home — a cafe lunch, food court sandwich or a home-delivered meal — it is likely you will be consuming at least one-third more calories and fat than the equivalent meal you would prepare for yourself at home.
Cooking your own meals means you are in control of your calorie intake.
So eat breakfast at home, take more packed lunches, and skip the takeaways for dinner. Cafes or bought meals should be an occasional indulgence instead.
Susie Burrell is one of Australia's leading dietitians, known for her practical, easy to understand approach to diet, nutrition and wellbeing.