New season, new you! The arrival of fall is the perfect time to begin a new routine. Welcome autumn with open arms by starting a low-carb diet that helps you lose weight, get fit and become the healthiest, happiest version of you.
If you feel like you eat more in the colder months, you’re not alone. Some researchers say it’s in our DNA—our ancestors stockpiled food for the winter and we’re still compelled to do so. “We are driven by things implanted in our brain a long, long time ago,” Ira Ockene, a cardiologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School told National Public Radio (NPR) in December 2011.
We can’t forget about the plethora of food that also makes itself available in the fall, from Thanksgiving and family gatherings to fall festivals and sports. Between biology and opportunity, it’s easy to overdo it—and that’s probably the reason you’re here. You know you need to make a change this autumn and you just need a little help to get started.
The first step to living a healthier lifestyle is acknowledging you need a change. The second step is doing it.
Check out these six tips to help you go low-carb this autumn season:
1. Establish a Routine
This may be the strangest fall on record when it comes to finding “routine.” But even if you’re not back to work full time, even if the kids are only in school two days a week, it’s the perfect time of year to create a routine. It, too, is ingrained in our DNA. Capitalize on whatever structure you have and make a plan. Set your alarm at 6:30 a.m. every day to fit in an hour of exercise before commuting or working from home. Plan out your meals on Sunday and grocery shop for the fresh veggies, lean proteins and essentials you need to make DIY meals and supplement South Beach Diet meals. Set a designated sleep time and stick to it. If you’re consistent about rising and snoozing at the same time each day, falling asleep and waking up will become easier, says the National Sleep Foundation.
2. Fall Produce
Butternut squash. Eggplant. Cabbage. Cauliflower. Brussels sprouts. We love the autumn harvest! The beautiful thing about fall is that so much fresh produce (specifically low-carb fresh vegetables) is still in season. The growing season ends when frost threatens its approach and for most of us, that doesn’t happen until late October or November. So until then, keep going to farmers’ markets. Keep buying fresh produce. Check out our Seasonal Fall & Winter Produce Guide for a robust list of fall produce you should be eating—including the nutrients these delicious foods provide.
3. Soup Season
Body warming, soul satisfying and surprisingly healthy, soup makes a delicious low-carb meal any time of the year but is particularly satisfying when the weather turns colder. Try our Simple Chicken Soup recipe or save time with our Instant Pot Tuscan Soup. Whip up a basic vegetable soup with a bag of frozen mixed veggies, stew meat and beef broth. Soup is also a terrific make-ahead meal. Cook a batch on Sunday and you’ll have lunch all week long. You can also freeze soup for later as long as they’re broth based. Milk and cream tend to separate after thawing.
4. Spice It Up
Spices are Free Foods on the South Beach Diet, meaning you can eat and season with them freely. Instead of dressing that roasted butternut squash with butter and brown sugar, use a little butter, cinnamon and allspice for an autumn touch. Instead of dumping the sugar bowl into your morning oatmeal, add stevia, vanilla and a tablespoon of heavy cream. You can even enjoy those beloved, spiced desserts as long as you make low-carb substitutions. Try our Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake or Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. As always, decadent, antioxidant and fiber-rich cocoa powder is an approved food. We think you’ll like these Chocolate Brownie Cookies or Chocolate Ricotta Mousse.
5. Have it Hot
Water is the best beverage you can drink to promote overall health and weight loss. But some research suggests that hot water combined with a seasonal spice can do even more for our metabolism. According to Healthline, “One study in 10 overweight men found that when they drank 2 grams of ginger powder dissolved in hot water with breakfast, they experienced increased fullness and decreased hunger compared to days when no ginger tea was consumed.” In addition to less hunger, they also found that the ginger beverage increased the “thermic effect of food” by 43 calories.
Autumn is the perfect time for hot beverages—whether it’s coffee, tea or just hot water with lemon or ginger. Coffee and green tea even have their own weight loss and health benefits! Get in the habit of taking your own drink with you instead of stopping at the coffee shop while you’re out. Use liquid stevia or erythritol powder if you like a sweetened beverage.
6. See the Sights
The days may soon get shorter but you can make the most of the cooler temps and fall splendor around you—and get some fat-burning exercise. Combine your healthy, low-carb diet with some fun fall fitness activities to help you get fit and tone up before the holidays. Visit a state or national park in your area and plan a hike through a colorful forest. The higher you go, the better the view and more calories you’ll burn on the way. Also investigate new activities like zip lining, horseback riding, kayaking or white water rafting. You’ll get the benefit of exercise, the mental stimulation of trying a new activity, enjoy a “vacation” away with those you love, as well as the stress-reducing, therapeutic benefits nature brings to our mental health.
Read more about the benefits of hiking and being in the great outdoors and don’t forget to pack some convenient snacks from the South Beach Diet! Our Sea Salt-Kissed Nuts and Double Chocolate Cookie Bites are perfectly portable and delicious.