With the New Year comes the time of punishing diets or “detox” to make up for the indulgences of the holiday season.
While the idea of starting fresh and ridding your system and your life of what did not work the previous year, when it comes to food, too much restriction may become counterproductive especially if you are an emotional eater.
Too much restriction can create “mental hunger”, the urge to binge or to start that vicious circle between diet and indulgence, which, let’s face it, is exhausting and wreaks havoc on your metabolism and weight.
1. Prioritize proteins and veggies
Proteins and veggies help you feel fuller for longer and balance your blood sugar levels, to help avoid those pesky sugar cravings!
Prioritizing proteins and veggies does not mean cutting out complex carbs, but simply making sure that you add some proteins and veggies to every main meal.
Try eating a salad as a meal starter, or simply take a few bites of your veggies or proteins before your carbs. It can make a big difference.
2. Eat regular meals
The temptation to skip a meal after days of indulgence is high, but in reality, this messes with your blood sugar levels and nutrient intake.
When you skip a meal or have insufficient food intake, you are more prone to have cravings and that urge to hit ready-made high palatable foods like a bag of chips or a chocolate bar. These foods are rich in calories but poor in nutrients. In the long term, this adds pounds to your waistline that are difficult to shift.
A thin sourdough slice of bread with a bit of smashed avocado and a small chicken fillet can be a very filling and tasty small lunch option for example, one that keeps those hunger pangs at bay.
3. Have a 12 hour overnight fast
Give your digestive system a rest with at least 12 hours of overnight fasting. This will help blood sugar levels, aids digestion and reduce bloating.
Aim at leaving at 3 hours between your last meal and your bedtime. This will give the body the chance to properly digest dinner before you go to bed.
4. Avoid sugary drinks
Don’t drink your sugar! Fizzy drinks, energy drinks, ready-made fruit drinks, and juices, all contain lots of sugar. In particular flavored “lattes” can easily contain up to 38 grams of sugar. Be mindful of those.
Likewise, alcohol is metabolized as sugar, bringing empty calories and quite a bit of extra work for your liver. If you looking to lose a few pounds then, cutting down on alcohol is a good strategy.
5. Drink plenty of water
Keep yourself hydrated. Many people confuse being thirsty with hunger, so make sure you drink enough water. If you’re one of those that find water too “bland”, try drinking an herbal tea instead, or try infusing your water with fresh fruits to add a little razzle-dazzle.