Got yourself an unexpected paunch for Christmas? Don’t despair; you can tackle it without resorting to professional help or radical regimes.
“It’s really very simple,” says dietitian Cindy Williams. “It’s as simple as ‘energy in, energy out’, when it comes down to it. There’s technical stuff…about timing and this food group and that food group, but generally, if you just cut down a bit, it’s going to help you.”
Cindy is a nutritionist and dietitian who blogs at nutritionchic.com. She’s not a fan of radical detox regimes, crash diets or liver cleanses; partly because she “couldn’t bear” to do them herself, but largely because she prefers to recommend plans that will stick, long term.
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“As far as weight loss goes, and getting yourself back on track, it’s not necessary to do anything like that,” she told Hope 103.2. “The way people generally lose weight and keep it off, is through the small, permanent changes.
“Not fast, dramatic changes where you might quickly lose weight, but you’ve had to really restrict yourself to do it. It’s much easier and much gentler to just make a few small changes that you can maintain.”
Habits take around three weeks to change, and long-term weight loss happens best when you change your food and health habits.
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Small Changes are Better for Long Term Weight Loss
Cindy’s key advice is to pick a few manageable dietary habits that you can change, and focus on them one at a time.
Her own rule of thumb is to avoid eating after dinner. For others, the rules of thumb will be different: perhaps cutting out biscuits and cake with your coffee, reducing the sugars with your morning caffeine break, having black tea instead of white, reducing your serving of rice or bread with dinner, or having dessert only once or twice a week instead of five times.
“The way people generally lose weight and keep it off, is through the small, permanent changes. Not fast, dramatic changes.”
“I look at what people are currently doing and target a couple of areas where they’re doing the ‘naughty’ things,” she said. “It’s more likely to last if you just reduce the amounts a little bit. Make the small change and make that become a habit, and it doesn’t feel like you’re on a horrible four-letter word called ‘diet’.”
Try small changes in your daily physical routine, too. The usual suggestions apply – take the stairs instead of the elevator for the last few floors, take the train instead of driving, take the dog for walks or walk to pick up the kids from school.
“Most of us know that goals, if they’re too dramatic, we soon forget about them,” Cindy says. “They have to be achievable. Small, achievable goals are the key. And it has to fit with what you do.”
Take Care of Your Gut Health
Having good gut health is also important for a healthier, slimmer you. Cindy recommends adding probiotics to your diet – the ‘good bacteria’, from foods like yoghurt and fermented foods.
Then feed those ‘good bugs’, with ‘prebiotics’ – foods that include banana, vegetables such as garlic, onion, leeks and asparagus, and whole grains like rye bread.
“More and more we’re realising the microbugs that are in your gut, can really affect your immune system, your weight, your mood, it affects everything. It’s very new, interesting research,” Cindy says.
Cindy Williams is a nutritionist and dietitian whose life passions are summed up in the three words “Eat, Pray, Write” and who blogs at nutritionchic.com.