After the Holidays less is more: 7 tips to start 2018 in the best way!
Ok, so the most caloric season of the year is over, and now we’ve entered the period of New Year resolutions. Among the usual gym memberships and vows to be more organized and get along better with our coworkers, there is surely a resolution or two involving our diet.
So let’s begin the new year with a simple mantra: “less is more”. Which is to say, bring smaller portions to the table, fill the pantry with quality foods, eliminating all industrial products, and don’t give in to the post-holiday bargains on Christmas sweets.
Let’s go in order: how can we best start off the coming month?
1 – Don’t limit your diet too drastically
Don’t fall for magazine diets: eating only soup, or grapefruit or smoothies is not going to help. Nor is counting every last calorie or upping the frequency of your Zumba sessions. What you need are basic guidelines for a proper diet: consult a serious professional, and avoid self-styled diet gurus.
2 – Don’t skip meals
It’s counterproductive and totally useless to skip meals, especially breakfast. Given that sweets continue to abound even after the holidays, opt for a different sort of breakfast: a cup of green tea, a cup of plain yogurt with muesli or a warm porridge with fresh fruit.
3 – Don’t cut out carbs completely
Carbs are often the first to go because they’re believed to be the cause of thickening thighs and swelling bellies. Wrong! To shed those extra pounds, don’t say goodbye to your beloved pasta. Compose your meals intelligently, always including a source of carbohydrates (rice or other cereals, rye or whole wheat bread) combined with a protein source (legumes or fish are best, organic eggs and lean meat are fine as well), along with lots of vegetables.
4 – Bring fruit and vegetables to the table
You should be eating vegetables with every meal, and fruit as your primary snack food. Try to eat a generous portion of vegetables before the main dish, so you’re less likely to go overboard in terms of portions. Fruit is also really important: a couple of 150-gram portions per day, between meals.
5 – Continue using extra virgin olive oil
Some fats are good for you, others are bad: the fats contained in extra virgin olive oil, dried fruit and fish are among the former, and they should never be lacking in your diet. Use olive oil instead of butter, which was certainly abundantly present during the holidays.
6 – Drink water and cut back on salt
After the excesses of the holidays, water retention can become an issue. To reduce the swelling, be careful with the amount of salt you use when cooking and at the table, and make sure it’s always unrefined sea salt. Prioritize raw vegetables, which prevent further retention, and avoid products already loaded with salt like cured meats, bouillon cubes and aged cheeses. Don’t forget to drink at least 1.5 liters of water per day, which you can supplement with diuretic herbal teas (dandelion, centella, birch, couch grass, fennel, red vine leaf).
7 – Exercise
Keep active even during the holidays, without breaking your regular exercise routine. An hour a day of brisk walking is enough, whether alone or in company after a nice family meal. Use your own legs to get around, rather than escalators or elevators, and increase your normal workout (walking, cycling, swimming, etc.).
Start off the new year with a smile!
Dott.ssa Francesca Oggionni Dietista