Staying fit all year round can prove to be a difficult task—especially in the colder months. However, losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to be an exhausting process.
From increasing your water consumption to cooking with coconut oil, we break down the best ways to change unhealthy lifestyle habits for the better.
1. EAT SEASONALLY
Seasonal foods are picked at the peak of freshness and offer higher nutritional content than out of season unripe fruits and vegetables. Plus, off-season produce means it's been imported from overseas—and the longer the shelf life of produce, the more pesticides that need to be used to keep the goods from perishing.
There's also evidence to suggest that our bodies need more of certain nutrients during certain seasons—and the in-season fruits and vegetables match these needs better than their off-season counterparts. A good way to tell what fruit and veggies you should be eating is to head to an organic store—they only stock what's in season.
2. GET MOVING
One of the easiest ways to make a significant difference to your health is, quite simply, to move more. For many people, their 9-5's involve extended periods of time at their desk, which is not only linked to expanding waistlines and poor posture but also higher morbidity rates.
The solution? For a start, make sure you get up from your desk regularly—15 minutes per hour is ideal, but even a walk to fill up your glass of water makes a difference. Adding incidental exercise into your routine is also an easy way to keep your metabolism going—try walking to work, getting off the train a few stops early or taking the stairs in your building.
3. POP A PILL
A healthy digestive system in a once-a-day pill-format? Sign us up. Susan Blum, a functional medicine specialist and founder of New York's Blue Centre for Health, recommends making a probiotic a permanent part of your diet.
"Current research supports that taking a probiotic is the single most important thing you can do to reduce inflammation, improve digestion and boost your immunity," she told Harper's BAZAAR.
4. UP YOUR VEGGIE INTAKE
Make sure to include vegetables in every meal. In a study at Pennsylvania State, subjects who were given meals that had 25 percent vegetables consumed 350 fewer calories in the day than those who didn't include veggies in their meal.
5. COOK WITH COCONUT
Coconut oil contains a short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat that is metabolised in the liver and immediately coverted into energy—as opposed to being stored as fat.
The high fat levels increase satiety—which helps decrease cravings—and also helps protect the body from insulin resistance. And unlike olive oil, which oxidises at high temperatures and thus creates free radicals, virgin coconut oil has a higher smoking temperature that makes it perfect for pan-frying.
6. GET BLENDING
Not only is a green smoothie an easy way to up your veggie quota, but it's just about the quickest breakfast you can make.
7. KEEP SIPPING
A Virginia Tech study found that adults who drank two cups of water before a meal lost around 2kg more than the group that didn't drink the extra liquid, while those who increased their water consumption while dieting lost more weight than those who kept it below one litre a day.
Keep a litre jug at your desk, and try adding crushed mint leaves or cucumber and lemon slices to make it more palatable.