Posted on 13 Nov 2017 Views 2083 Comments 13
The most common times for starting something ‘new’ or ‘re-evaluating life’ tend to be the New Year, the new financial year in April and the start of the school year in September. It can often be the same with starting a new diet, changing your lifestyle or changing your current diet / lifestyle plan to increase your weight loss. There’s a temptation to get stuck in a rut wait until the next ‘new’ year. I often find that autumn is a strange time of year, sometimes for this reason. The summer is well and truly a distant memory, the kids are all back at school but the next milestone to look forward to is Christmas and the New Year. However, just because the days are getting shorter and colder, and the Christmas season is looming, don’t let this be a reason to wait until the New Year to start your diet. Start it now! Start it today! We thought we’d provide you with some nutrition and lifestyle tips to help you to make that change today and get out of your ‘rut’ - be that stepping up the weight loss, or helping you maintain your weight over the autumn and winter seasons.
There are two ways we generally find ourselves comfort eating. The first is comfort eating in an attempt to feel happier and sooth the emotions we are feeling, which may be around stress, loneliness and anxiety. Emotional comfort eating is often characterised by craving specific foods or flavours. Studies have found that we tend to eat more energy-dense (fatty and sweet) foods during the autumn, and have concluded this is perhaps driven by the desire to cheer ourselves up.
The second is comfort eating to obtain what the Danish call ‘Hygge’ (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’). This is that feeling of comfort and happiness that we get when we think of toasty winter evenings by the fire and duvet days. Food tends to be a big part of this – those extra evening nibbles, marshmallows around the fire, Christmas food, breakfast in bed.
Go easy on the ‘winter warmers’ and try to resist the temptation to order more takeaways and buy more treat food over the autumn and winter months. Instead, stock up your cupboards and freezer with healthy low calorie foods that you can make healthy meals from, e.g. canned beans / pulses, tinned tomatoes, dried wholewheat pasta and brown rice, frozen vegetables and fruit. If you don’t already plan your meals, it’s a really good idea to start a weekly meal plan. Not only will it save you money, but it will help you to eat more healthily too. Autumn and winter are great months to experiment with slow cooked meals, like stews, casseroles and soups. You could get that same ‘Hygge’ feeling from coming home to the glorious smell of a home-cooked casserole.
Just as we need to watch the ‘winter warmer’ food and treats, we also need to watch the drinks that tend to accompany the autumn and winter seasons. Whilst hot drinks help us keep warm, that can be very high in calories (from both sugar and fat), especially when accompanied by syrups and whipped cream. The table below gives the average calorie content of popular hot drinks from high street cafes (medium drinks, made with whole milk). An average mocha latte contains 360 kcal, equivalent to almost a fifth of your total daily calorie requirement. It’s a good idea to stick to regular tea or coffee, or ask for a ‘skinny’ version (which denotes it is made with skimmed milk) and limit the higher calorie ones for a rare treat.
Also, remember to watch your alcohol intake, as alcoholic drinks contain lots of calories. A double Baileys contains 175 kcal (the equivalent to 7 ½ squares of milk chocolate) while a large glass of wine contains 195 kcal (the equivalent to a slice of sponge cake). Check out our ‘Eating over the festive season’ article which contains information on the calorie content of common festive alcoholic drinks.
|Drink||Number of calories (kcal)||Equivalent food|
|Beanies: Christmas Pudding / Mulled Wine / Pumpkin Spice Coffee's||2 kcal|
|Slim & Save Water Flavourings||5 kcal|
|Tea (with milk)||30 kcal|
|Cappuccino||170 kcal||2 chocolate digestives|
|Flat white||175 kcal||7 ½ squares of milk chocolate|
|Latte||200 kcal||Large slice of pizza|
|Chai latte||330 kcal||Chocolate muffin|
|Hot chocolate||350 kcal||Cheese sandwich|
|Mocha latte||360 kcal||4 chocolate hobnobs|
|Hot chocolate with whipped cream & marshmallows||540 kcal||Half a large tube of Pringles|
The colder weather and shorter days make it harder to find the motivation to exercise. The thought of curling up on the sofa after work can be far more appealing than going for a jog or going to the gym. However, it’s important to remember than exercise is just as important as eating healthily – exercise should not be neglected over the autumn and winter. If you’re finding it hard to get motivated, make some changes to your exercise schedule. If you’d rather stay at home, there is a plethora of fun dance or workout programmes you could do (online or DVD). HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts are a great way to exercise if you only have 20-30 minutes to exercise. Evidence suggests a 30-min HIIT workout is as effective as an hour long workout. If you usually go running outside, consider a short-term gym membership to tide you over until the spring, go swimming, try indoor classes (e.g. yoga, pilates, spinning) or enlist a friend and look into options for sport in a leisure centre, such as tennis, badminton or swimming.
As we start to look forward to the Christmas festivities, it can be daunting, especially if you’re planning to have Christmas in ketosis. However ‘knowledge is power’, and we’ve included lots of top tips on surviving Christmas in one of our previous article - ‘Eating over the festive season’. This article includes how to stay on plan over Christmas, what to do if you take a short break over Christmas, and how to make healthier Christmas food swaps. Reading this now will help you feel empowered and help you plan your approach.
Written by Annemarie Aburrow RD BSc (Hons) PGDip, Slim & Save Dietitian.
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