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Swimming champion Tonia Mahaira advises us on how to lose extra weight

09 January 2010 / 18:01:20  GRReporter
4366 reads

Kremena Koutsoukou

Holidays are over. As usual they were accompanied by more food and drinks than usual. We feel heavier and clumsier. It is time to restore our energy. But how do we do that?

The best thing to do is to help our organism by gradually relieving it from all the unwanted toxins. In order for this initiative to be successful we have to restore our rhythmic eating habits, to consume products that are easy to digest and to consume them in reasonable quantities.

GRREPORTER looked for the advice of nutritionist Tonia Mahaira. The famous Greek swimming champion from the past, today is nutritionist of the soccer team Panathinaikos. She has graduated in the United States of America. Mrs. Mahaira managed to find some time to give us an advice about how we could get rid of the extra kilos put on during the holidays and what program we should follow in order to have a healthy, harmonic body.

GRREPORTER: Mrs. Mahaira, what do we do to our body during the holidays, when we eat more food than usual?

Tonia Mahaira: During the holidays we get out of our usual routine, it is easier to be tempted by the food and as a whole we eat bigger quantities. This is typical especially for the men. Women are usually focusing on sweets. The combination of bigger quantities of food, sweets and alcohol leads more kilograms.

GRREPORTER: How many kilograms do we usually put on during the holidays?

Tonia Mahaira: It is possible to put on even 3 kilograms. 

GRREPORTER: What is your advice regarding the post holiday diet?

Tonia Mahaira: My opinion is that after the holidays are over and after we get back to our normal rhythm of life, we shouldn’t undertake anything extreme. I mean, we shouldn’t say to ourselves “I will stop eating in order to lose the kilograms I put on as fast as possible”. The beginning of the New Year could be a reason for us to promise to ourselves to eat correctly and having this attitude we can lose the additional kilograms. The only thing I suggest is to stop the sweets.

GRREPORTER: Do you mean forever?

Tonia Mahaira: Yes. I believe that the body can get used to not desiring sweets and we can eat something sweet only when we really want it and not just because we saw it or because our body is used to it. For example, once or twice a week we can afford to eat something sweet if we really want it.

GRREPORTER: What is the best thing we could do for our body after the holiday period?

Tonia Mahaira: It would be best if you follow the classic recommendations for correct eating habits. Breakfast is mandatory. It is very good to eat vegetables and proteins with no fat in for breakfast – for example whole grain slice of bread with ground baked sesame-seed and honey or omelet with one egg, two whites and a slice of whole grain bread or a toast with turkey, ham and low fat cheese, again combined with whole grain bread. Several hours later it is good to eat a fruit of a low fat yogurt. For lunch it is good to have cooked meals with vegetables. It is good if at least half of your main course is made out of vegetables – stewed or baked depending on how you like them. I recommend beans. They are very healthy and we should not deprive ourselves from them.

GRREPORTER: Should we put a limit on the quantity of food we eat?

Tonia Mahaira: Of course. You have to watch out the quantity.

After the main lunch and before dinner I recommend a meal in the middle – for example nuts – hazelnuts, walnuts or low fat yogurt. The in-between meals help us keep the insulin level balanced. It is not good if the insulin levels increase or decrease drastically. When it comes to dinner – the quantity should depend on how hungry you are. Usually men eat a whole portion for dinner, while women, if they had a good lunch, can be satisfied only with vegetables, salad with cottage cheese or omelet with whites.

GRREPORTER: Is following these rules for healthy meal enough to get back to our previous shape?

Tonia Mahaira: In order to have good results you have to combine the regime of healthy meals with exercising. One of the two alone, is not enough. Especially with age we have to pay more attention and keep our muscles in good shape. I recommend you should spend 30 minutes every day or at least three times a week for anaerobic exercises. You have to follow a program with dumbbells exercises and another 30 minutes to increase your muscle mass, twice a week.

GRREPORTER: If we eat correctly and we exercise, how much time do we need to lose the 3 kilos we put on during the holidays?

Tonia Mahaira: The kilograms we put on throughout the last days are easy to lose. Losing the extra weight supposes that we lose half or maximum one kilogram per week. This means that under normal circumstances 3 kilograms can be lost within a month. However, because we are talking about weight that we put on during the holidays and it hasn’t stayed in our body for a long time, we can lose it faster.

Tags: diet holidays sport
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