When it comes to weight loss, many of us want a quick fix. Losing the weight by following a fad diet or taking a pill may get us short-term results, but the weight usually piles back on when we resort back to our old ways. While making sustainable lifestyle changes may be challenging, putting in the effort will definitely pay off in the long-term. That’s why more of us need to adopt the mantra – if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you – and put in the effort to change our health for the better. With Droptober just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to commit to the change.
Most of us know the month of October to be “Ocsober”, where we are encouraged to give up the grog for a month and raise money for Life Education. Now October has a been given a new name, Droptober, which aims at providing the commitment, inspiration, motivation and education to develop healthy eating and exercise habits in order to drop 2kg or more. The month is all about making the simple changes to your lifestyle to become a healthier you. The campaign that raises money for Variety – The Children’s Charity, Kids For Life and Guide Dogs Australia promotes the ease of dropping 2kg by encouraging lifestyle changes in the kitchen and by adding in some weekly exercise. The changes you make could be as simple as changing your drink choices.
Change your drink choices
Have you ever thought about how many kilojoules you consume from your favourite drinks? Many drink choices are high in kilojoules and sugar, and by making simple changes to theses choices can have a big impact on your waistlines.
Check your cafe kilojoules: Making a small change to your coffee choice could save you a couple of kilos on the scales, says new Australian research. According to the research from Griffith University, the average kilojoule purchase from major cafe chain such as Gloria Jeans and Starbucks contains 1485kJ and accounts for 17 per cent of our daily kilojoule intake (8700kJ). Most people surveyed in the study felt that their beverage choice was more of a snack rather than a significant contributor to their overall daily intake. Purchasing drinks with full cream milk, extras such as cream and sugar, and opting for large servings size all contributed to the large kilojoule intake and the researchers concluded these choices may promote positive weight gain. While there’s no need to cut out your morning coffee, you can make a healthier choice by switching to low-fat milk, selecting the smallest size cup, avoiding cream and limiting adding sugar.
Ease up on the booze: It comes as no surprise that Australians love a drink, but these liquid kilojoules are costly to our waistlines. Drinking a schooner of beer will set you back 640kJ, while a glass of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc contains 520kJ. While having one or two standard drinks every now and then is fine, excessive intakes or binge drinking negatively affects your health and your waistline. Not only is alcohol rich in kilojoules, it also affects our food choices by increasing circulating ghrelin levels, making us hungrier and deregulating our reward system activation in response to food causing us to eat more. Assess your alcohol habits and ease up on the booze during the October – why not sign-up for Ocsober and give up alcohol for the whole month?
Switch to vegetable juice: Juice may provide us with valuable nutrients such as vitamin C, but it also comes with large amounts of kilojoules and sugar. In fact, many juices contain similar amounts of kilojoules and sugar as soft drinks. Take the beverages from Boost Juice for example – a original (610ml) Tropical Crush contains 1320kJ and 67g of sugar, while a original (610 ml) Brekkie To Go Go contains a whopping 2620kJ and 76g of sugar. Instead of consuming your fruit in the form of juice, eat it whole and reduce your kilojoule intake and give your fibre intake a boost. Switching from a fruit juice or fruit smoothie to a vegetable-based juice such as carrot, celery, apple and a hint of ginger can boost nutrient intake while limiting the amount of sugar and kilojoules you consume from juice. Remember portion control is also important for vegetable-based juices, so keep your juice to 125ml.
Scrap the energy drinks: With more and more reports of toxicity from caffeine overdose, energy drinks are another drink that comes with too many kilojoules, caffeine and sugar. A 500ml can of V energy drink will give you almost 1000kJ, 155mg of caffeine and 53g of sugar – that’s 60 per cent of our total daily sugar allowance. While too many kilojoules is bad for our waistline, high consumption of sugar can raise levels of harmful blood fats called triglycerides and contribute to atherosclerosis by stiffening arteries, making it damaging for our heart. Replace the energy drinks with mineral water and lime, and if you’re looking for an energy boost make lifestyle changes like including exercise or getting more sleep.
Ditch the soft drink: Just like energy drinks and juices, soft drinks are empty kilojoules. A greater consumption of soft drinks is associated with weight gain and obesity thanks to their high sugar content, low satiety levels and the fact that we don’t compensate for the extra liquid kilojoules we take in when we drink them. Portion control is also and issue with larger cup or bottle sizes encouraging overindulgence and weight gain, which is why the Mayor of New York City Michael R Bloomberg is banning super-sized drinks (bottle or cup of soft drink larger than 500ml). Reduce your kilojoule intake by switching to soda or mineral water, and if you feel like a soft drink every now and then, choose a diet variety.
What lifestyle change will you make?