Keeping in Shape over Christmas

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On average Australians gain somewhere between 0.8 to 1.5 kilograms over the Christmas period.

One to two kilograms may not sound like much but research shows that this weight gained over the festive period is rarely lost but here to stay.

So why not make this the year that you don’t have to ask for those larger size pants in your Christmas stocking?

With 14 days to Christmas, try these 14 tips (some of them surprising) to stay in shape this silly season.

  1. Use Herbs and Spices to Lose Weight

Certain herbs and spices with science-backed powers can help you maintain a healthy body weight by promoting weight loss.  They can boost your metabolism and help your body burn fat more quickly.

Add the following spices generously to your festive food if you’re trying to shed a few kilos: –

 Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is the spice most praised for its weight-loss properties.  Research shows that half a teaspoon increases metabolism, and a study group of 25 diners burned an extra 10 calories when it was added to their meal. Those who didn’t regularly eat spicy meal slashed an average of 60 calories at their next meal by adding pepper.

 Ginseng

Valued for its ability to boost energy levels and speed metabolism, Ginseng has been linked to weight loss benefits, with one study showing obese, diabetic mice given ginseng extracts not only had improvements in insulin sensitivity, but also lost a significant amount of weight after 12 days.

Cinnamon

This classic holiday spice has been shown to balance blood sugar, helping to curb cravings and keep you feeling full for longer.

Dandelion

Rich in fibre, dandelion can also make you feel full for longer, it helps you to slow your digestion and to maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Go Vegetarian One or Two Days a Week

A vegetarian diet is linked to reduced calorie consumption and lower body weight. Vegetarian meals tend to be lower in calories, but can be just as satisfying as their meaty counterparts.

If you don’t want to become completely vegetarian, you can still reap weight-loss related benefits by going meat-free one or two days per week.

  1. Keep a Food Journal

Keeping a food diary will help you track what you are eating, thus preventing overindulging.

An easy way to do this is by using your phone to take photos of your meals, with a study by the International Journal of Consumer Studies showing that this was even more effective than writing it down.

Research by the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that by looking at photos of their food participants made better food choices, skipping snacks or reducing the portions of their meal.

  1. Drink Green Tea

As well as being an excellent source of antioxidants, the compounds found in green tea work in harmony with its small amount of caffeine to increase the body’s ability to burn fat.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep deprivation not only makes you tired and cranky but also chubby.

Less sleep means more stress and free oxygen radicals in the system, resulting in very hard to lose belly fat.

Lack of sleep can alter appetite and insulin control by increasing the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and decreasing the key weight-loss hormone leptin, that makes you feel full and satisfied.

At least 7 to 8 hours sleep will give you the energy to wake up early, exercise, have breakfast, and go about your day actively.

  1. Eat Breakfast – Every Single Day

Skipping breakfast slows metabolism and may cause you to eat more throughout the day.

The American Journal of Epidemiology found that those skipping breakfast were 4.5 times more likely to be obese.

Your brain controls all bodily functions. If you don’t provide its cells with the food to carry out the biological reactions to create energy, your brain won’t function properly, resulting in hampered cognitive functions, lethargy, slow metabolism and weight gain.

For optimal weight-loss, choose a breakfast with a healthy balance of protein and fibre, like egg, fruit and whole-wheat toast.

  1. Stare at the Colour Blue

Did you know that the colour blue acts as an appetite suppressant?  This is why you’ll rarely find food restaurant interiors painted in the colour.

Recent studies show that people eat 33 percent less in a blue room as the bluish light that results apparently makes food look less appetising.

So, surround yourself with blue!  Use blue plates, a blue tablecloth and dress in blue while you eat.

And avoid red, yellow, and orange in your dining areas as they encourage eating.

  1. Keep Hydrated

Keep yourself well hydrated at all times. Sometimes, your body may confuse thirst with hunger. Simple.

  1. Supplement with Vitamins to Power your Metabolism

Add research-based vitamins to your diet.

Vitamin C – Stress is caused by high levels of cortisol which can mean belly fat storage because of cortisol’s ability to pull lipids from the bloodstream and store them in your body’s fat cells. In addition, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when stress prevents people from sleeping well, they are more likely to make bad food choices, snack late at night, and choose high-carb snacks. Luckily, vitamin C is an antioxidant which has been proven to help people cope with stressful situations, rapidly reducing levels of both cortisol and blood pressure.

Vitamin D – Aside from its well-publicized benefits—such as lowering cancer risk —vitamin D also helps boost immunity and regulates appetite.  A 2012 study found that supplementing with vitamin D was associated with a 7 percent decrease in fat.  Another study from the University of Minnesota found a relationship between higher levels of D and fat loss, particularly in the belly area.

Vitamin B – Vitamin B1 (thiamine) converts carbohydrates into energy and B2 (riboflavin) helps release energy in the Krebs cycle (the process by which our bodies generate energy). The active form of vitamin B6, pyridoxine, helps to regulate which enzymes our body uses to extract energy from food. Finally, vitamin B12 helps to metabolize our two main energy sources: fats and carbohydrates. Two separate studies have found associations between those who are overweight or obese with low vitamin B1 and B12 levels.

Magnesium – This essential mineral aids in body processes including muscle contraction, which improves protein synthesis. That, in turn, boosts fat burning. In a Journal of Nutrition Study, higher magnesium intake was associated with lower levels of fasting glucose and insulin –  factors related to fat storage and weight gain. Magnesium also helps to boost lipolysis, a process in which your body releases fat from where it’s stored.

  1. Light a Vanilla Candle after Dinner

In addition to creating a romantic atmosphere, the aroma of vanilla dampens dessert cravings.

A group of 160 volunteers lost an average of 4.5 pounds each by wearing vanilla scented patches.

Vanilla scents also come in aromatic sprays and essential oils.

Infusing the scent throughout your home or kitchen is a way to keep cravings at bay

  1. Make One Outing a Weekend an Active One

Pass on lunch and the movies and head outdoors for a guided nature or city walk (check your local listings), a tennis match, or a bike ride.  

Not only will you sit less and move more, you will save calories because you won’t eat that bucket of popcorn!

Make movement fun so that you’ll exercise consistently.  Dance, walk the dog, play a sport, practice yoga, swim.

Anything that gets you moving and makes you feel good is a formula for long-term weight loss.

  1. Sniff a Banana, Apple or Peppermint

The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, tested 3,000 volunteers and found that the more frequently people sniffed, the less hungry they were and the more weight they lost – an average of 13.6 kilos each to be exact.

One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you’re actually eating it.

So, you might feel silly, but it works!

  1. Turn the Lights Up and the Tunes Down

Restaurants don’t just dim the lights to create a romantic atmosphere, they do it so you order more food.

Low lighting lowers inhibitions and soft tunes playing in the background encourage leisurely chewing in place of hurried, stress-related, mindless eating patterns.

  1. Drink Herbal Fix SHAPE to Keep in Shape!

Shape is a refreshing blend of organic herbs, vitamins and minerals especially designed for those working towards getting in shape.

Independently researched, the natural ingredients in Shape include Dandelion, Cinnamon, Green Tea, Siberian Ginseng, Creatine, Carnitine, Rosemary Vitamin B3, B6, C and Zinc – all known to provide health benefits including those related to weight loss.

Herbal Fix Shape is scientifically formulated to help you stay in shape this Christmas.

Try Shape today – Order online here or find your nearest stockist here.

REFERENCES/ LINKS

herbalfix.com.au/buy-online-shop/

 Best Calorie Counter Apps: –

 myfitnesspal.com

loseit.com

fatsecret.com

 Relevant Studies and Further Reading:

 Dandelion: umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion

Cinnamon: sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171121095145.htm

Green Tea: mensfitness.com/nutrition/supplements/whens-best-time-take-creatine

Ginseng:  naturalnews.com/024975_ginseng_diabetes_research.html

Vitamin C: livestrong.com/article/534707-high-dose-vitamin-c-weight-loss/

Photographic Food Diaries: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1470-6431.2008.00725.x/abstract

Breakfast and Weight Loss: academic.oup.com/aje/article/158/1/85/174075

Colour Blue Suppresses Appetite: colormatters.com/color-and-the-body/color-and-appetite-matters

Guest Blogger

This piece was written for GCT by a guest blogger.

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