With summer right on our doorstep, it’s time to get bikini-ready and hit the beach. Here are five lesser-known nutrition tips from a dietitian to help you get fit without sacrificing on health.
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1. The type of diet you go on isn’t important
Research comparing low-carbohydrate diets (Zone), low-fat diets (Ornish) , very low-carbohydrate (Atkins) diets and typical calorie-restricted (Weight Watchers) diets have found them all to have a similar impact, concluding that compliance and caloric deficits are the keys to successful weight loss. So the type of diet you go on doesn’t matter as much as sticking to a particular eating plan.
2. You can have too much of a good thing
You’ve probably heard that there are certain “healthy fats” that are good for your body. These are mostly monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, such as fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. However, you can still have too much of a good thing. There are nine calories in every gram of fat, and consuming high levels of calories—no matter what the source is—can lead to weight gain, so you still need to control your portions.
3. Divide your plate into four parts
During mealtimes, divide your plate into four equal parts: one part for lean protein (such as meat, fish, poultry, seafood, egg, tofu or beans); one part for carbohydrates (pasta, rice, noodles, potato, corn or bread); and two parts for non-starchy vegetables (e.g. leafy greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions).
Try to pick whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa or whole wheat pasta, as your carb—they provide more dietary fibre, which makes you feel fuller for longer.
4. You can drink—just not too much
We know it’s hard to completely cut off alcohol, so we won’t ask you to try. Instead, moderate your consumption to no more than two units of alcohol a day—this would translate to one standard glass of wine. A unit is equal to 10ml of pure alcohol, so the units in a drink depends on its size as well as alcohol strength. It can be hard to do all these calculations while you’re half tipsy, so download an app like Drinkaware to help.
See also: 5 Ways To Become A Morning Person
5. Be in touch with your feelings
Are you hungry, or is it just a craving? Be aware of how your emotions affect what you want to eat. For example, do you eat more when you’re feeling angry, upset, lonely or bored? Use distractions to help control cravings. Go for a walk, phone a friend, take a bath or apply a face mask—anything but stuff yourself when your body isn’t actually asking for food.
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