Keep weight at bay with these 4 easy pointers
1. Eat Your Carbs
Yes, you heard right: Carbs are essential to your metabolism. Rather than cutting them out altogether, have them three days a week. You’ll boost your metabolism when you eat them, then burn fat on the low-carb days. When you are having carbs, reach for, healthy ones, like fruits, grains, legumes, and whole-grain cereals, breads, and pastas. Simple carbs like those in crisps, cookies, and many processed foods will never do you any favours – but they’re not out entirely, more on that in a bit. Veggies are the real king though: You should be eating them every day. Just avoid starchy, root varieties like beets and potatoes on your low-carb days, since they so easily converted to loads and loads of sugar. As a rule: If it’s green, you’re good to go!
2. Have 5 Small Plates a Day
It’s like magic for your metabolism. Eat breakfast within a half hour of rising, then have another small meal every three hours after that until roughly 8 p.m. Every meal should include protein; it helps you build muscle and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Choose mostly lean meats like chicken and turkey, as well as seafood, eggs, and Greek yogurt. On high-carb days, pair your protein with a virtuous carb. On low-carb days, team it with a healthy fat like avocado or almond butter. (and don’t forget: Eat heaps of greens with every meal.) Notice that you’re having either starchier carbs or fat on any given day – not both. And the reason for that is because your body releases insulin when you eat carbs; add fat and the hormone will quickly store it away.
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3. Keep Your Portions Wisely Sized
And it was all sounding a little too good to be true. But if you’re careful about how much you eat, you’ll really see results. Having to measure out portions can be off putting, so use your hands as a guide. Proteins should be about the size of your palm, carbs the size of your clenched fist (not just the surface area but the entire fist), and fats the size of your thumb. For those great everyday veggies, pile on at least a couple of fistfuls. Keep your plate full and your belly happy.
4. Cheat (just a little)
Back to those simple carbs (crisps & cookies), telling yourself you can’t have something only makes you want it more, so it’s important to build in rewards. They also boost your metabolism: Restricting yourself for too long can slow your calorie burn and cause a drop in leptin, the hormone that helps you feel full. So have something small, like a snack-size choccy bar or a small serving of chips, on your high-carb days, or save it for the weekend and go all out with a “free” meal at a restaurant, or popcorn and candy at the movies. 1 bit of advice: Don’t treat yourself at night as it can quickly turn into an hours-long snack fest.
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