There are many things that can impact our health or weight and some are less obvious than others. Sometimes we ignore these and go on with our life until a health problem arises but why not start working on them gradually so you improve your health and don’t need to make too many changes later.
-Eating most of your food at the end of the day rather balancing this out throughout the day.
Are you someone that skips breakfast and doesn’t eat till lunch? Fo some this is due to a busy morning, others are not hungry in the morning and others still, think they will lose more weight by doing this. But often this leads to consuming more calories later in the day when starving and less active which can really impact weight and health long-term.
-Drinking a couple of glasses of wine or schooners of beer each night or saving this and drinking too much on the weekend.
While a little alcohol is ok, if you are having several glasses a night or many more on the weekend, this can really start impacting the waist line. Try and limit alcoholic beverages to 1-2 standard drinks each day with a few days of. Note: 1 gram of alcohol does contain 29 kilojoules / 7 calories so when you compare this to 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein which has 17 kilojoules or 4 calories – this is almost double and not far of the kilojoules / calories of a gram of fat (37kJ/ 9 cal). Mixers can add more kilojoules / calories too.
-Going to bed late each night or getting less than about 7-8 hours of sleep.
Sleep is the time that your body repairs and replenishes itself. In fact getting insufficient sleep each night help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk of some chronic health problems e.g. heart disease, blood pressure, kidney disease and diabetes. Sleep deprivation also affects hormones such as those that control hunger levels and insulin which controls your blood glucose levels. As a result, lack of sleep has been shown to impact weight over time.
-Sitting for most of the day.
Most people hate hearing the ‘e’ word. So I won’t say it aloud but studies are showing that those who don’t move much in their day even if they do a little ‘e’ have higher risks of chronic health conditions. So if you can’t stand the thought of scheduled ‘e’ then why not work on getting more active during your day. Try wearing a pedometer and increasing your steps, walking rather than driving to some places, taking the stairs instead of the lift, have a walking or standing meeting, walking during your lunch break or walking while talking on your mobile – anything to get more active.
-Drinking beverages that contain kilojoules / calories
It’s important to stay hydrated during the day but if you’re staying hydrated by drinking most of your fluids from beverages other than water, you may be getting additional unwanted kilojoules from your drinks. Soft drinks, cordial, fruit juice, iced teas, hot chocolate, flavoured milk, smoothies, sport drinks, milky coffees e.g lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, mochas, frappes, milkshakes, icy etc all contain kilojoules and sugars and if most of your fluid needs are coming from these, you may find that this makes a difference to your waistline over time. Try gradually swapping some of these out for water instead. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to it or make a flavoured or herb tea with tea bags or tea leaves.
-Large portions sizes
While this one is a bit obvious – it’s often still the culprit when it comes to weight or health. If your portion size of salad or low kilojoule vegetables is big – that really is ok but more often than not it’s not the vegetables that make up most of our plate is the rice, pasta or potatoes. A small portion of these foods is fine but too much especially if you’re having them a few times a day or you’re not very active, can really impact your waistline. Try reducing the quantity on your plate to 1 cup cooked and filling up your plate with salad or low kilojoule vegetables instead e.g. zucchini, broccoli, spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, tomatoes etc.
-Late night or after dinner snacking
Clients often say to me that after dinner is the worse time for them when it comes to food. They can be good all day but after dinner is the time that they start looking for little snacks. If this is you, then this can really make a difference to your weight and health and you should look for ways to reduce the late night snacking. First think about why it may be happening:
-is it because you are staying up too late? Try going to bed earlier or brushing your teeth after dinner so you’re less tempted
-is it because you didn’t eat much during the day leaving you starving by the time night falls? Try and eat small regular meals during the day so that you are not as hungry come the evening.
-is it because your dinner wasn’t filling? Include protein with your main meal, if having carbohydrates choose higher fibre ones e.g. brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal pasta, fill up your plate with lots of salad or low kilojoule vegetables to help fill you up.
-are you bored? Again go to bed earlier, pull out a board game to play with the family, call a friend, join a sports team or gym or take up a new hobby.
It could be for any of these reasons or for others. But if you find that you just can’t seem to get a hold of this habit, try not having tempting foods in the house. Keep a supply of low kilojoule options to snack on instead e.g. low kilojoule vegetables like carrot and cucumber sticks or a pun net of cherry tomatoes, diet jelly or simply have a cup of tea.
-Eating out too often
We all have been guilty of this one! While this doesn’t mean you need to withdraw from society and no longer go out, rather look at how often you are eating out and the food choices you are making when you do eat out. If you eat out several times a week and are making unhealthy food choices or having large portion sizes of healthy-ish food this could be impacting your health or weight. If eating out this often can’t be helped, then try and make healthier food choices and reduce your portion sizes. Order a side of salad or vegetables to bulk up meals. If you’re someone that buys lunch everyday at work, try making a healthy lunch and taking this to work – you’ll save money and often kilojoules too. It doesn’t have to be complicated and time consuming either. It could be steamed vegetables from dinner with a nice dress and a tin of tuna or chickpeas. Or a simple salad using those pre packed salad leaves with some cherry tomatoes, cucumber and carrots & balsamic vinegar and some grilled chicken or tofu. Healthy dinner left overs are always a good option.
While this isn’t an exclusive list, these are 8 common things that most can work on. Why not try picking one or two and working towards making some changes over the next few months?
Need some help making healthy changes? Book a consultation to see a dietitian who can help you make permanent healthy changes. Enquire here.