If you’ve come to the other side of another festive season feeling more rotund than refreshed, you’re not alone.
Despite boozy NYE resolutions saying otherwise, February tends to be the month that lifestyle changes are given full attention.
It makes sense: the festive season has officially ended, with the exception of some plucky Tasmanians who get February 8 off there’s not a public holiday to be had and it’s a short month – should you be the four-week cold turkey health challenge type.
So, you want to lose weight without losing the will to live – but have no idea which superfood to eat.
“Like it or not weight loss comes down to, in very top-line terms, calories in and calories out,” 16-year NRL veteran and Man Shake founder Adam MacDougall told Sporting News.
“If you cannot create a caloric deficit then no matter what diet you’re going to latch onto – low-carb, low-fat, keto – the reality is that you won’t lose weight unless you’re in a calorie deficit.
While calorie tracking has never been easier through a plethora of apps, calorie management through conscious eating is a significant hurdle, with a significant number of the Australian workforce still splitting time between the home and the office.
“A lot of weight gain comes down to boredom,” MacDougall said. “Most of us are emotional eaters, eating through stress or boredom. That’s probably been one of the biggest challengers for people working from home.”
That and the banana bread craze of early COVID. Wasn’t that an innocent, calorie-dense time?
“All of a sudden people are in an environment where they’re a lot more bored because there’s not the distraction of work colleagues. There’s convenience of home where all the snacks are, and it becomes the snowball down the hill situation.”
The snowball analogy; you should recognise it. A handful of chips becomes a packet, a square of chocolate becomes the entire bar.
“Think of it like the innocent intention of a few beers at the pub,” MacDougall said. “Suddenly you’re at the bright lights of a kebab store at 3am. But it was never planned to be that way; it just snowballed.
“The next day, you don’t exercise but you will smash a dirty sausage roll and on it goes.”
As with all lifestyle choices, be alert, not alarmed.
“Calorie management can become all-consuming,” MacDougall said. “As soon as you’re strictly focused on what you’re not having, that’s what you’re really going to want anyway.
“The key for most people is that if they can ensure they’re getting enough protein on their plate, they’ll find they’re a lot less hungry or craving things that are high in calories.”
Information isn’t the problem for most people; we all know what we should or should not eat.
Ultimately, making healthier decisions every day gets you closer to health and fitness goals than one or two days of perfection.
“The most important thing is to change behaviour,” MacDougall said. “Information isn’t the problem for most people; we all know what we should or should not eat. It’s developing habits which trips people up.
“Every action you take on a daily basis is a vote for the person you want to become.”
Adam MacDougall is a former representative rugby league player and is the creator of The Man Shake – a healthy shake that has transformed the lives of hundreds and thousands of Aussie men.