losing-pounds-in-winter-5-tipsDear reader,

Winter holidays are behind us, so perhaps this is a good moment to assess the damage done by the festive meals? 🙂

In my case, I gained quite some weight, but I have to add to this, due to an injury, I couldn’t train a lot.

Anyway, the question came up: how to lose these “winter” pounds? In a couple of weeks, I was back on track.

Mainly because I could start running again, but also, I wrote down some remarkable things about nutrition. I’m happy to share a couple of tips: these helped me, a lot ( Successful ) !

  1. Unhealthy snacking?

When I removed the unhealthy snacks from my diet, or when I replaced them by healthy alternatives, that made a big difference! In recent weeks I took up the bad habit to have snacks like a “sports bar”, and other snacks which are sold as healthy, good for runners, etc. Pitfall: the food industry wants to make you believe that their products are “healthy”, good for doing sports, and “light”. Unfortunately, that’s not always true.

Eliminating unhealthy snacks from your diet is quite easy. It just takes five minutes of courage (each time ! :-)), and a pinch of willpower!

But it didn’t make me feel hungry, on the contrary. For me, this made a big difference! Minimum effort, maximum impact, I like that.

  1. Avoid food with high “GI”?

The GI value of food, this means the glycemic index. For e.g. white bread, this is high, it gives you a quick boost – in terms of your sugar level. Unfortunately such peaks dissolve just as fast, and then you feel hungry again. We read the following about this: “More and more people are discovering that obesity is caused by too many carbohydrates with a high GI value. Carbs that exceed the GI = 50 are less appropriate, carbs with GI = less than 50 are better”.

Recently, I noticed that if I replace white bread by substitutes like eg rye bread (GI only 40!), that has a big impact. After eating rye bread, it takes much longer before getting hungry again.

Important:

  • Carbs / sugar are not necessarily bad, for example, an apple has GI = 35, banana has GI = 51, and that’s OK, because it keeps you going quite a while. But corn flakes (GI = 85) are tricky!
  • Fats are not necessarily bad, for example, nuts are scoring quite well in terms of GI: walnuts’ GI = 15, and cashews’ GI = 22!
  • Processed foods typically have a (far!) too high GI! Pure products, and definitely vegetables, score very low: e.g. lentils (32), lettuce (10), tomato (10), eggplant (10).

Probably this is “food for thought” and the use of GI values to adjust your diet is open to debate, but the past few weeks I had a great experience with this.

Perhaps this is an appropriate moment to say “Thank you!”, a very warm thank you to Kathelijne for taking care of delicious and healthy meals! 🙂

  1. What about weekends?

For one reason or another, we tend to see the weekend as something very special. This is true, in the sense that you have time for your family, for hobbies, for a nice dinner, etc. Perhaps the idea “reward” plays a trick on us? “I had a busy week, so now I deserved something!”?

To a certain extent, this is OK, of course. But when you’re trying to lose some weight, it helps to do the check: perhaps the additional food during the weekend is a little bit too much?

I noticed thatt if eat (roughly) the same during the weekend, this makes a big difference!

  1. Gain time! Have a discussion with yourself.

This is about “willpower”. We have a “hot”, limbic brain system that takes impulsive decisions, often based on impulses, scents, colors etc. This system is of vital importance, to us. Unfortunately, it can be hard to overcome such reflexes, at times.

Luckily, we also have a cortex system that can figure out what is best for us, taking into account long term consequences. This cortex system is strong too, so we can use it well, when it comes to healthy eating.

However, our cortex brain system needs time!  So, from time to time, when you’re in trouble, you need to have a discussion with yourself. When feeling tempted, it’s a good moment to ask yourself questions, and to gain time. Time is on your side.

Sometimes, when we have too much food, or unhealthy food, this “just” happens. After a stressful day, or because you do not feel well, etc. Then it’s time for a great conversation with yourself: what do you really want, in the long run?

  1. Sports & training sessions?

For years in a row, this was my biggest mistake. Athletes tend to overestimate the number of calories burnt in a training session, and as such, they overestimate how much additional food they can have. This leads to wishful thinking ! 🙂 A small snack after a heavy workout is of course a good thing, so as to speed up recovery.

But with a Bruegel binge session, you undo all the hard work of the training session. Perhaps such reward is OK from time to time. But when you’re trying to lose some weight, you could be more careful about the additional food you have after a training session?

So. These were my 5 tips! There are of course more things to say about healthy food!

These 5 tips are not a “method”, it’s just five things that worked for me!

So, now it’s up to you: what are your tips & tricks to recover from the winter holydays?

Kind regards,

Peter

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