Sunshine, swimsuits, and bare legs – oh my! The warm months are finally upon us. And that means one thing: you gotta get your body in tip-top shape. Around this time of year, most people start to think seriously about getting into shape ready for the summer. Part of getting ready for summer is being in the mental space for it. The days are longer, the pressure to be active becomes more intense and that self-consciousness some of us feel when wearing summer clothes starts to kick in (myself included).
Before you keep reading; please promise me you will (learn) to accept your body – as it is. And then make a plan for what you want to improve. I have come to a accept that I am not the ‘6-pack’ kinda woman, and I will never be skinny. I am Petite (and proud to be), slim’ish but with curves. Like most women, I wouldn’t mind losing some weight, but I am happy with a toned and tanned body. So here it goes…
Monitor what you eat
While watching your calories is an important part of weight loss, you’ll stand a much better chance of slimming down if you keep an eye on exactly what you’re consuming. That means keeping a record of the protein, fat, carbohydrates and sugar you eat in a day and cutting down anything you’re eating too much of, in accordance with the recommended daily guidelines.
Drink water before meals
Drinking a pint of water before a meal will make you feel full up, so you won’t need so much food. This is a good trick if you’re not used to the smaller portions you’re consuming as part of a diet.
Burn more calories
The key to losing weight fast is to achieve a calorie deficit. In simple terms, this means burning off more calories than you consume each day. You can work out how many calories you should be aiming at using an online calculator.
Reduce your carbs
Carbs can be included as part of a healthy diet, but it’s vital to eat the right ones – brown rice, brown pasta, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans are all fine. Stodgy white bread and white rice should be avoided.
Cut out the sugar
Your body turns sugar into fat very quickly, so you should try to limit the amount you consume as much as possible. Some of the worst culprits are fizzy drinks, which can contain up to 6 tablespoons of sugar per can.
Eat more vegetables
Vegetables are a staple diet food for good reason. They’re packed full of nutrients and vitamins, they have a whole host of health benefits, and you can eat as many types as much as you like and still lose weight. Just limit the amount of starchy, carb-heavy vegetables you eat – like potatoes and root veg.
Fibrous foods like peas, potatoes, sprouts, parsnips and spinach are vital for a healthy digestive system and have the added benefit of making you feel full up, so you eat less.
Going hard at the gym is pivotal in toning up and banishing fat. Your best bet for losing weight is High-intensity interval training (HIIT) which uses fast and slow intervals to burn more fat than you would do at a constant pace.
No meals before training
Eating a meal before you train is counterproductive because your body will use up the energy from the food rather than burning up your fat deposits for energy. If you need a pick-me-up before training, opt for a piece of fruit.
Not all fat is bad
Some fats are vital for your body’s health. Good fats are found in avocados, oily fish and lean cuts of meat, so you should try to consume these in moderation. Bad fats are saturated and found in foods like fried chicken, full-fat cheese and many ready-meals.
Hit the weights
While cardio is king, weight training is also a great way to lose fat. Using weights will help prevent muscle loss as your body mass decreases, as well as tone you up. What’s more, after a weights session, your body has to slowly recover throughout the day – which burns even more calories.
Record your fat levels
Most gyms will be able to record your body fat percentage. Get yours checked every week and keep a record of how much you’re losing – it’s a more reliable gauge than relying purely on what it says on the scales.
Cut the sauce
Sauces like ketchup and brown sauce are generally full of salt, preservatives, e-numbers and calories. You can make far tastier food using herbs, and at a fraction of the calorie count too.
Question low fat
Many products that are marketed as low-fat are not actually that healthy for you. This is because to compensate for the taste, the producers fill them with sugar and flavourings. Always read the label to make sure.
Avoid processed food
Ready meals, frozen pizzas and processed meats are often packed with saturated fat, sugars and salt. Cook your own meals instead, using fresh food – it’s healthier and cheaper.
Green tea is the unsung hero of dieting. It can help lower your cholesterol, boost your metabolism, give you more energy and increase alertness. Drink four cups a day for the best results.
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