Spring brings a sense of excitement as the weather starts to warm up. But it also brings anxiety as we realise that soon we’ll need to swap our winter layers for more revealing shorts and shirts. Yes, it’s once again time to firm up those winter bodies and prep for the sunny seasons.
Instead of another fad crash diet, which is neither fun nor sustainable, we asked a few of our experts to share their top tips for shedding some kilos in a healthy way. It is always worthwhile to consult a professional who can guide your health journey, and My Health and Fitness has a range of trainers and health consultants to support you.
But let’s not waste any more time – spring waits for no one. Here are a few top tips from three registered dietitians that can help you work off the winter weight.
- Drink more water
“Water is the last thing on our minds when it’s cold and miserable outside,” says Melissa Nel from Daily Dietitian. “However dehydration has been linked to a decrease in fat burning capabilities in the body. Drinking enough water is also important to prevent constipation and kidney stones, and is especially important for a radiant skin.”
- Lower your alcohol intake
“Two glasses of wine a night adds up to an extra 300-350kCal,” explains Elienne Horwitz from My Dietician. “Cut down to half or one glass a night, or try a white wine spritzer.” Elienne also recommends cutting out all fluids with sugar like fruit juice, cold drinks, iced tea, hot chocolate, smoothies, as well as sugar in your coffee or tea.
- Swap out refined carbs
Eating healthily doesn’t have to necessitate a complete 180° from your normal favourites. Simply opting for healthier versions of foods can make a huge difference. “Swap out your refined carbs for their unrefined counterparts,” recommends Abigail Courtenay from Nutritional Solutions. “Choose starches that look the same on the plate as they do on the plant, for instance beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, brown rice, corn, barley or bulgur wheat.”
According to Abigail, you should fill at least half your plate with vegetables or salads, and opt for lean proteins like fish, chicken, eggs and cottage cheese, with plant fats like olive oil, avocado and pesto.
- Brush your teeth after dinner
Late night cravings can have a significant impact on weight gain. “Brushing your teeth after dinner will reduce the chances of late night snacking,” explains Elienne.
- HIIT the gym
“High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to be an effective way to shed some kilos fast as it boosts the metabolism and regulates insulin levels,” says Melissa. “This exercise method is based on short bursts of hard work where you give your maximum for 20-90 seconds. Many websites or personal trainers will be able to assist you with HIIT.”
- Increase your protein
“Protein makes you feel fuller for longer leading to fewer calories being consumed,” explains Melissa. “A higher protein intake together with resistance exercise increases muscle mass, which leads to a faster metabolism and therefore more calories being burnt throughout the day.”
- Sleep more
“Decreased sleep has been linked to increased fat mass, so it’s not called beauty sleep for nothing,” says Melissa. “Try to get in 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Research also suggests that going to bed and waking up at the same time is optimal health and weight loss.”