1. Cut out refined sugars. Not just extra cakes, pastries and chocolate but all those occasional sweeties or sugars in coffee too. Just ditch it. Going cold turkey can feel tough at first but if you can get through the first week you’ll notice the difference, in your waist line as well as your energy levels. If you’re struggling, try out some of my sugar alternative recipes like the date and walnut flapjacks.
2. Eat more greens. Especially watercress, spinach and broccoli, which are loaded full of nutrients and will also help to alkalise your body. You can whizz them up in a greens drink (try whizzing a juiced apple with the juice of a lime, avocado and spinach), add them to a soup or curry or just eat them as a salad. Eat greens with every meal, yes, that means with breakfast too. And whilst we’re on breakfast …
3. … Scrap the cereal. A sure fire way to spend the day hungry and grumpy is to start the day by eating sugary grains, puffed full of air. DO NOT BE SCARED OF PROTEIN AT BREAKFAST TIME. Add an extra egg to your scramble pan instead of toast, or treat yourself to smoked salmon. Protein at breakfast time is THE best way to balance your energy levels and mood for the day, especially in winter, since your brain needs protein to create both wakeful and sleepy hormones.
4. Cut out bread. It’s not the devil but it does no favours to a lady with love handles. Switch refined carbs like bread, rice and pasta to sweet potatoes, quinoa and whole grain basmati. Little changes = big energy changes.
5. Drink. Lots of water. There is no side step on this one. You’ve just gotta’ suck it up and do it. Herbal teas, fizzy water yes yes, all good but the plain old wet stuff is what your body needs to stay tip top. Studies consistently show that water is the secret weapon in fat loss and that modern times may have mucked up our natural thirst/hunger signals, meaning we often eat when we’re actually thirsty. If you want to get rid of fat and toxins, you need to provide the means of transport – WATER. At least two litres.
6. Indulge yourself in fatty acids. From avocados to mackerel do not be afraid of the calories that come from essential fatty acids. Fact: No one ever got obese from an avocado obsession. And if you want the science, well we all have fat cells. What do you want to fill yours with? Nice, brain boosting, easy to process essential fatty acids or artery clogging, toxic lard? Your choice.
7. Eat protein with every meal. Aim for a fist sized portion with every meal for starters. It could be in a soup, in a casserole or griddled, Nigella style but make sure you have it. This will balance your mood and your appetite. Make it good quality protein that’s not pumped with filler. Talk to your local butcher or go for free range in the supermarket. Switch from breast meat to thigh meat if your budget is tight and good quality casserole steak or mince for a cheaper, slow cook option.
8. Find something energetic that you enjoy doing, or that at least makes you feel good. In the winter months it’s vital to exercise. Treat it like medicine. Do it for your sanity. A brisk walk outside in the morning or a twenty minute run in the winter sun can do wonders for your mood and energy levels.
9. Plan your meals. Business, life, children, work and socialising can all wreak havoc with your good intentions, especially if your fridge is empty. Plan your meals for the week and include a couple of freezer options. Then buy it all and stick to it. It just makes life so much easier.
10. And finally … sleep. Sleep deprivation is a friend of fat. You need good quality sleep to create the full hormone leptin. Skip your zzz’s and your appetite will be on your case all day. So turn in, turn off and …. (sorry I must have dropped off).