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22 Aug 2014
Autumn Proof Your Diet
Autumn can be a dangerous time in terms of your diet, we pack away the shorts and bikinis and start thinking about woolly tights, jumpers and rain coats. Which are all much better at hiding our imperfections than summer attire. But before you know it you want to put on your best little black dress for Christmas celebrations, so follow these suggestions to autumn proof your diet:
Eat a rainbow full of colour when it comes to fruit and vegetables, trying new things and eating all different colours will ensure you get a wide range of vitamins and nutrients. If you don’t currently eat your 5 a day – try to do so, if you do already, aim to increase it to 7 or 10 servings. Try to not eat too many servings of starchy vegetables like parsnips, squash, potatoes etc.
Take it Steady:
If you need to lose some weight, then try taking a steady stroll to your target between now and Christmas, far better to lose even half a pound a week, than to overindulge and then have to diet furiously closer to an event. Yo-Yo dieting is very bad for your morale and metabolism.
This sounds obvious, but in the summer we naturally take in more fluids because it is warmer weather, but we need to keep our fluid intake up in the winter and there is nothing better than water to hydrate your body, mind and skin. Low sugar squashes and herbal/fruit teas can help if you need the added flavour.
Healthy eating does not have to be boring – soy sauce, olive oil, fresh herbs, pepper, spices, chillies etc. can all add a kick to your food. There are always loads of cookbooks out at this time of year, try a few new recipes and spice up your old favourites. Variety in a diet is key to feeling satisfied with what you have eaten and flavour is especially helpful if you are cutting down on fat, sugar or just portion size.
As autumn gets in to full swing it is all too easy to become a couch potato and watch TV all evening. The evenings get darker earlier, the weather gets colder and it is harder to motivate yourself to go swimming/jogging/cycling…But exercise is an essential component of your health and wellbeing, it keeps us fit, helps keep our weight in check, boosts mood so we feel happier and helps us sleep better.
Make it official:
If you are the sort of person that has long since forgotten this year’s New Year’s resolutions, then it might be worth getting a diet and/or exercise buddy – someone that will help to motivate you and will push you to stick to your plan. You can do the same for them when they are feeling tired and wintery. Equally many people find healthy eating easier if they have a set plan to follow – so consider going to a class or getting a book on a diet that suits your lifestyle.
Despite not having Mediterranean weather most of the year, we can’t go far wrong with their lifestyle. The Mediterranean diet suggests we should:
Eat mostly plant-based foods – fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Replace butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil. Use herbs and spices to flavour foods. Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month but eat fish and poultry at least twice a week. Drink red wine in moderation. Lastly, keep physically active, and enjoy meals with family and friends.