Summer is just around the corner, and those denim shorts may be a little tighter than you last remembered. You’re feeling as though it’s time to kick start yourself back into healthy living and get yourself feeling your best.
Our team at Retreat Yourself have put together our top 8 healthy habits to help lose that stubborn winter weight. It’s not about a drastic diet, it’s about small changes, every single day.
Our bodies start to retain fat around the middle when our cortisol levels are high. Cortisol breaks down our lean muscle (which is the tissue that burns fat most efficiently), and holds onto fat storage in the tummy. Even stressing about your diet when you're restricting calories can lead to that extra bit of weight around the stomach, and we certainly don't that now, do we?
Everyone has their different ways to de-stress, but here are a couple of ways that work for us:
2. AVOID REFINED SUGAR
Refined sugar is the enemy. When we eat too much sugar (and yes, this can include too much fruit), it causes a spike in blood sugar. The higher the blood sugar, the more insulin the body needs to produce to stabilise it, and insulin is a fat storing demon.
We all know how addictive sugar can be, so try crowding it out with healthy sweets like chia puddings (Check out our awesome coconut mango chia pudding here), avocado mousse, sweet herbal teas, or natural greek yogurt with blueberries.
Mixing protein and sugars also help prevent that spike in blood sugar and keep your energy levels consistent too!
3. GET MORE SLEEP
It is clinically proven that people who get more sleep, weigh less. The more we sleep, the more our bodies revive. The more we revive, the more energy we have to get through our daily tasks. The more energy we have, the better and more refreshed we feel, meaning we make healthier food choices and have a better sense of wellbeing. It’s an ongoing cycle. Even aim to get just 30 minutes extra per night and it will make a difference.
4. REDUCE SALT
Salty foods retain fluid, which adds to that bloated and flabby look. Especially around that time of the month! Have you ever noticed how bloated you feel after eating something salty? Be wary of the sodium levels in packaged foods and try not to add salt to your meals. You'll be surprised at how quickly you'll drop a couple of kg when you cut down the salt in your diet.
This is an obvious one. Not only is exercise great for weight loss, it's a de-stresser and is the best known antidepressant. It gets those muscles working and is just an all round 'feel good'.
6. EAT FAT, TO LOSE FAT
For a long time fat has been given a bad wrap, when we’ve actually recently found out that it’s our friend. This isn't to say go and binge on fish and chips or a big greasy burger. These sorts of foods are high in trans fats (and sodium) which are hardening in our arteries and cause cholesterol problems. The type of fats we should include are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated which are found in foods such as salmon, walnuts, almonds, avocado, chia seeds, and coconut oil. Not only will these help us feel fuller for longer, but they're great for our skin, hair, nails and brain.
Ways to include more good fats in your diet could be to add avocado in your salad or morning green smoothies, sprinkle LSA mix (ground linseed, sunflower and almond) on your oatmeal or stirfrys, or snack on almonds or other nuts. Remember though, it's everything in moderation.
- Too much of a good thing can also become a bad thing -
7. BE MINDFUL
Be mindful to the foods you're putting in your mouth. Bring awareness to how different foods make you FEEL, not just how they make you look. Once you tune into your body and start listening to what it's trying to tell you, you'll notice that aesthetically, things will start to change too. A food diary can help you become more mindful and get in touch with your body. It will help you figure out what's working and what's not. And last but not least...
8. DON'T BE HARD ON YOURSELF
Even the fact that you're reading this post means you've taken one step further than most to trying to be in the best shape for you. No one person is the same as the next. Our bodies react to things differently and take on different shapes and sizes. Learn to embrace your unique qualities and focus on the parts you love about you.
As a result, you will become a healthier and happier you. At the end of the day, that's really what it's all about, hey?
If you're respecting your body, exercising and eating well, you're on the right track.
You go girl!