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Nutrition: Getting back on track
What to do if you have strayed off track over the Christmas/New Year Period? Nutritionalist Sarah Burkhart shares her tips to getting back on top of your nutrition.
It's the notorious time of year when all your good habits tend to go off track – the Christmas and New Year break . If you have strayed off track there is good news – it's not that hard to get back on track.
1. Portion size
Firstly. take a portion size audit. Are your portion sizes the same as what they were before Christmas?
Over the break it can be easy to let your portion size increase with so many great tasting foods available, but it's also easy to let them stay larger (and that's when it starts to impact on your weight).
Be honest with yourself – do you need to work towards decreasing them back to where you were before?
2. Balanced meals
Next, ask yourself are your meals still balanced? Do they still contain around half fruit and vegetables, ¼ protein, and ¼ wholegrain breads and cereals? Start to focus on all of your main meals being balanced.
3. Snacks & treats
Think about snacks. Have you changed routine over the break? Have you added in or left out snacks? If you have added them in have you thought about the consequences on your energy balance? Do you really need them or is it a habit?
Out of Sight, Out of Mind - Now is a great time to get rid of all the extra temptations. Even as a nutritionist I get given loads of chocolates and sweets over Christmas and I know that unless they get put out if sight they are likely to be eaten.
If you think that just hiding them at the back of the pantry isn't enough, get them out of the house so you aren't at all tempted.
4. Fluid intake
Take a look at your fluid intake (and I don't just mean water!). Has your alcohol intake increased over the break?
Have you taken measures to get it back to a healthy intake (which is considered by ALAC to be no more than 21 standard drinks a week for men, and no more than 14 standard drinks a week for women (a standard drink is considered to have 10g of alcohol which equates to 100ml wine, 330ml can of beer or 30ml nip of spirits). You should also be having at least 3 (if not 4) alcohol free days a week.
Another holiday issue can also be an increased consumption of soft drinks – a can of regular soft drink will give you an extra 657kJ and give you no nutrients – cut these down.
Also check is your water intake high enough or do you need to increase it?
Make sure that you continue with (or get back into) your exercise routine. Over the break it can be easy to let a few training sessions slide but if you can get back into these it will improve your energy levels and make weight management easier.
The quicker you get back on track with a healthy diet – the better you feel and the easier it is to manage your weight and training needs.
About Sarah Burkhart....
Sarah is a Sports Nutritionist who is known for her practical and realistic approach to improving performance and getting results with athletes from recreational to elite international level. She has a BSc majoring in Human Nutrition and Physiology, and has just completed a MSc in Human Nutrition.
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