Time to get in shape

Spring is around the corner. If, like me, you have been eating far too many winter puddings, stews and lasagnes, and the cold was your perfect excuse to avoid exercise, it's time for action! In a few weeks, you will have to shed those winter clothes and, unless you don't mind revealing your wobbly bits or getting a new bigger-sized wardrobe (hmmm, on second thought, shopping for new clothes sounds rather tempting), you’ll have to get some work done! Let us help you.

Check out our Ultimate Slimming Guide- it contains all you need to know to achieve healthy weight loss. Note the operative word "healthy". Healthy weight loss equals losing around 1 to 1.5kg a week. Though you might be desperate to shed a few kilos quickly, don't go overboard by starving yourself, taking expensive slimming pills that could harm your health, or over-exercising in a short time and injuring yourself.

Rather do it the simple way: eat less and exercise more. Start by making small changes. With the warmer weather approaching, it will be easier to include salads and fruit in your daily menu. While it's still cold, you can also go for vegetable soups and stewed fruit. It's a good idea to include foods with a low GI (glycaemic index) in your diet, as they will help sustain your energy levels, making you far less likely to snack on kilojoule-loaded sweets, biscuits and crisps. Learn more about the Glycaemic Index here.

Regarding exercise: start a good habit for life by going for a brisk 30-minute walk every day. You don't need any special gear and you can do it at any stage of your life. If it's still a bit chilly, just wrap up warmly. Nothing is as energising as a walk in the crisp and clean spring air. If you feel like trying out a new sporting activity, why not visit our fitness zone for some ideas?

Finally, start reading food labels. Most of us are not really aware of all the additives, sodium, preservatives and sugars that are lurking in some of our favourite convenience foods. According to research, people who read food labels end up making healthier food choices, and consequently are less prone to being overweight. "There were significant differences between label readers and non-readers in their intake of total kilojoules total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, dietary fibre and sugars," the researchers said.

Good luck with your new weight loss plan. And remember, if you need any advice regarding diet, nutrition or fitness, simply post your question to DietDoc or FitnessDoc for expert advice.

(Birgit Ottermann, Health24, Nutrition Newsletter, September 2010)

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