Although the heat is still blazing here in Dubai, the summer is over for the most of us. After what was hopefully a fun and relaxing time off, you are now back in Dubai more motivated than ever ready to exercise everyday and refrain from sugar for all eternity. You wake up in the middle of the night to get your workout in, chug a green juice for breakfast and eat a delicious home made salad with extra protein that you prepared the evening before for lunch. You are so freaking healthy these days that you almost feel sorry for the people around you that do not live up to these standards. Then all of a sudden you find yourself on the couch for the sixth night in a row eating take away pizza and Haagen-Dazs ice cream wondering what went wrong.
My guess is you set the bar too high. While an “extreme-makeover” might be tempting with its quick results to shed the extra “holiday kilos”, the fact is that such a drastic approach is difficult to follow in the long run. So before you swear off pasta for the rest of your life, apply the following guidelines to your daily life and improve your nutrition in a much more sustainable manner.
Eat the right kind of food
Make sure your daily diet consists of high quality, unprocessed foods that gives your body the nutrients it needs. Focus on what you should eat, instead of what you should not eat. If you make sure to eat your protein and veggies, there’s simply less room for the naughty ice-cream and chocolate.
Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full
Learn to know the difference between actually being hungry and eating just because the clock says that it is lunch- or dinnertime, because you are bored, or simply because there is still more food left on your plate.
To snack or not to snack?
Meal frequency is a highly individual matter. Some thrive best with eating several small meals per day, while others manage well with one or two big meals. The one is not more correct than the other as long as you manage to control the total intake. Having said that, most people find it easier to refrain from overeating if they eat more regularly.
Get rid of temptations
Do yourself a huge favor and simply don’t bring food that you know you shouldn’t eat into the house. As long as it’s in the house you, or someone you care about, will eat it.
You cannot out-train a bad diet, but that doesn’t mean that exercising isn’t an important factor for obtaining and maintaining a healthy body composition. However, you don’t have to suffer through hours of long, grueling workouts. Think quality rather than quantity, which means that maybe 10 minutes of sprints is a better alternative than 30 minutes half-hearted walk with the dog. On the other hand the 30 minutes of walking the dog is still much better than 30 minutes on the sofa! Even small things like taking the stairs instead of the escalator or doing 5 pushups while you wait for your Nespresso machine to finish your coffee helps in the long run.
Go to bed!
Sleep is important for hormone balance and recovery, which in return play a major role in the way your body responds to nutrients, exercise and stress. Although you might think you get along just fine with only 6 hours of sleep each night, your body wants and needs more. Make an effort to get into bed early and prepare your body for sleep by turning off the TV, computer and cell phone 1-2 hours prior to bedtime.
Forget the “all or nothing” way of thinking
So you decide to focus on nutrient rich, unprocessed food, eating until satisfaction only and getting into bed at 10pm. Does that mean you never get to stay up until midnight and have a chocolate cake ever again? Of course not. Remember that it is what you do every day that counts, not what you do once in a while.