Welcome to Play Smart, the game improvement column released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Game Improvement Editor Luke Kerr-Dineen to help raise your golf IQ and play smarter and better golf.
If you’re anything like me, you likely spent the last days of 2021 eating unhealthy foods, drinking a touch more than you should. But that’s fine. It’s a new year now, and we’re ready to start this year on the right track.
Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions — which, in turn, also makes it one of the most commonly missed. But we’re not here because of any of that negativity. Play Smart is here to help you succeed this year with some simple tips that can help you get back to your target weight in 2022.
1. More protein
In the simplest possible terms, losing weight is a matter of calories in, and calories out. Eat fewer calories than you burn each day and you’ll lose weight. In theory, this means you can eat 1,000 calories of crackers, then nothing else the rest of the day and shed pounds, but in reality it never works that way: your body will be burning through that sugar in no time. It will leave you hungry – which means it’s only a matter of time before you grab a snack.
Instead, choose foods that will keep you full: unsaturated fats (like avocado and almonds), and lean proteins (like chicken breast or cold cut turkey). These are the kinds of calories that won’t make you hungry and prepare you for a binge.
2. Weigh your food
Another tip in the calorie spirit, calories out: Invest in an inexpensive kitchen scale, and get into the habit of weighing certain foods, like pasta, rice, and meat. This was a very useful tip for me; Try it for yourself, and you may be shocked by the amount of food you eat more than you think.
3. Budget for sugar and carbs
One of the reasons people struggle to maintain their weight loss is because they follow a highly restrictive diet. As much as I would like to be vegan, I know I can’t live my life without cheese or dairy.
Instead, meet halfway: limit one sugar item and another carb (or less) a day. You’ll taste it more that way, and you’ll find the balance you need for healthy eating.
4. Planning for the future
Much of the above can be achieved by doing one very simple thing: plan ahead. Trying to limit what you eat when you are hungry and busy is the worst time to do so. You don’t need to know exactly what you’ll eat for the day or week, but if you have a rough idea of what you’ll eat for dinner, you’ll be able to balance your other meals accordingly.
5. Periodic fasting
At the more extreme end of the spectrum is the advice Phil Mickelson attributes to ending the yo-yo diet: periodic fasting. Phil says he will fast 36 hours once a week.
“It gives my body a chance to reset,” he said.