Almost two out of three Australians are overweight according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare—but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Keeping the kilos off and getting closer to your ideal weight isn’t something you have to do with a brutal regimen of exercise and a strict diet. Following these five tips will help you keep the kilos off.
Don’t skip breakfast
Making time for a healthy breakfast pays off in more ways than one.
For starters, breakfast is your best opportunity to set the agenda for what you’ll eat for the rest of the day. By eating healthy foods in the morning, you’re less likely to snack on less nutritious, higher-sugar and fatty options leading up to lunchtime. According to BetterHealth, skipping breakfast may also diminish mental performance.
As the first meal of the day, breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and gets your body going again by restoring your glucose levels—which is how we get energy.
A consistent breakfast every day means that we get the nutrients our bodies need—especially from healthy foods like yoghurt, fruit, avocado, eggs, wholegrain bread and porridge (among other healthy options).
Know your fats
Fats are in almost everything that we eat. It’s a good thing too—fat is extremely important for our bodies; providing energy, maintaining body temperature, absorbing nutrients, promoting healthy cell function and ensuring healthy skin and hair.
Margaret Hays, Accredited Practising Dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, says that fats give us nutrients.
“They give us fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K. We make hormones from those things, fats make food taste good, they make us feel full, they give us a good mouth feel. So there’s lots of reasons to include some fats in our diets,” she says.
“Then you’ve got your saturated fats that tend to put our cholesterol levels up and that’s your meat fats and dairy fats if you’re having a lot of them. Coconut is very popular at the moment and it’s still a saturated fat, so is palm oil.”
Hays recommends limiting the intake of these.
Consider using healthier oils when you’re cooking at home—the Australian Heart Foundation recommends olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower, sunflower, avocado or sesame oil for salads and cooking. As they say, everything in moderation.
Move it regularly
Modern Australians spend a lot of time sitting down—whether it be in the car, on the train, in front of a screen at work or watching television. Consequently, we’re moving a lot less.
Exercise is how we can stay fit, healthy and strong, and exercising regularly doesn’t have to include daily visits to the gym (though that’s great too).
Hays says that, “exercise operates on many, many levels. It uses up calories, also builds up muscle mass, decreases stress levels, and makes you feel good. So exercise is really important.”
Exercising could be as simple as taking the stairs rather than the elevator, walking further when you’re on your lunch break, or riding your bike to the shops instead of driving. Even if you haven’t done these things for a while, little changes you gradually incorporate into your daily routine will still make a difference to your body and help you keep the kilos off.
When you kick off a more active routine, start to plan your exercise and try to stick to that plan by setting short and long-term goals.
Limit screen time
It’s almost impossible for most of us to cut screens out of our lives, but it is possible to reduce our dependence on them.
If you’re an office worker: take your breaks away from screens to get your body moving, shortening the blocks of time you spend sitting down looking at a screen. Keep television viewing to just your favourite shows and use ad breaks to get a cup of tea from the kitchen. Any time spent moving is good for our bodies, and good for keeping our weight down.
Instead of watching TV, maybe try listening to podcasts while you go for a walk—that way you can enjoy some entertainment, while also getting in some exercise.
Screen time can also rob us of precious sleep time. Hays says that we’re learning more and more about the importance of sleep, and how this can affect weight. Getting adequate, good quality, sleep is paramount for managing your overall health.
Find the right balance
Staying healthy and keeping off the kilos is a lifestyle choice, so it shouldn’t be draining if you find the right balance. Make it work for you.
Kate Di Prima, another Accredited Practising Dietitian, says that “rigidity breeds failure” when it comes to diets, so allowing yourself a little treat every now and then can be a great way to ensure you don’t dread the same meals over and over.
After all, if you cut back on fats, and increase how far you walk each day, you will begin to feel healthier. You don’t need to live on lettuce or hike up Mount Kosciuszko to make it happen.