As we head into summer, many of us will be thinking about losing a few of the 'COVID kilos' we put on during lockdown.
But losing weight is never as easy as putting it on, and dieting can be a miserable experience.
So how can we change up our eating habits, without going hungry?
Australian nutritionist Lyndi Cohen says the key is not to reach for a sad salad or carb-free dinner, as that can lead to overeating later.
Cohen, also known as 'The Nude Nutritionist' on social media, says making just three small changes will help.
- The hat trick: Cohen says the best way to work out if you're full after a meal is to follow the "hat trick" technique. "Every single plate you serve up should have a serving of healthy fat like avocado, some slow-burning carbs like sweet potatoes and some lean protein," she advises. That will allow your body to get the nutrients it needs, leading to fewer cravings and staying fuller for longer, she says
- Eat 'interesting' foods: Do you eat the same thing every day, and always crave dessert? The two go hand-in-hand. "There's something called sensory-specific satiety - and it may have something to do with why you always have room for dessert," says Cohen. She said if you always eat the same things then your body won't recognise any difference when you eat and will get bored easily. Variety is the spice of life - even a mouthful of a new flavour could be enough to satisfy your pallet and keep hunger at bay. A good reason to pick up a few unknown spice mixes or a new fruit or vegetable at the market
- Don't deprive yourself: If you ever gave up chocolate for Lent as a child or did Dry July, you'll know as soon as you deprive yourself of one kind of treat, it's exactly what you crave. "If at the back of your mind, you feel like you're not allowed to eat a certain food - like pasta or peanut butter straight from the jar - it will always seem 'interesting' to you," says Cohen. Following something like the 'three-bite rule' when it comes to dessert and treats means you'll get all the enjoyment, and won't succumb to a massive binge later.
Cohen also says we shouldn't ignore our natural hunger - some days you're going to be a bit hungrier, maybe because of your menstrual cycle or because you worked out that day.
Embrace eating fresh, seasonal foods and savouring every mouthful, and you'll be on your way to a more balanced summer diet in no time.