If you’re reading this you’re probably hoping for a body more like a Californian beach body babe than a beached whale…but in reality you know you’ve left it late – again!
According to UK press, last week was the time of year when British women were most likely to start a summer beach body diet. Why do we do it? Why do we overeat and hide our fleshy rolls under winter clothes then suddenly decide to live on a low calorie diet of salad, soup and diet coke in a hopeful bid to transform into an evenly tanned, toned Victoria’s Secret model (when we know it isn’t going to happen!)?
Facebook users shared this amusing alternative to the annual beach diet which tickled my sense of humour. Please excuse the language!
Hopefully, you’re laughing right now, but seriously, there is a little bit of truth in there. Why are we dieting for the beach? Shouldn’t we be losing weight for our long term health, not for a bikini? Who are we really doing it for? Are we doing it for ourselves or for those around us?
While there is nothing wrong in short term plans to achieve goals such as looking better for a wedding or party, or to attract the opposite sex in a bikini, a healthy body should be something we stay aware of all year round. I’m not suggesting an obsessive kind of awareness, but simply to follow consistent healthy eating and regular exercise and staying close to an ideal weight, not fluctuating excessively one way or the other.
- Drink 2 litres of water every day and avoid fizzy drinks, tea and coffee.
- Eat a diet rich in raw vegetables and fruit.
- Add pumpkin, sunflower, hemp or lin-seeds to your diet to increase essential fats (needed for healthy metabolism), or take a supplement such as flaxseed oil, Udos oil or good quality fish oils.
- Avoid foods that cause YOU to bloat. Frequent offenders are wheat, dairy, onions, chocolate, alcohol, some fibrous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
- Don’t drink alcohol every night of the week. Limit to two nights a week and stay well within healthy guidelines. Ideally no more than 3 units at a time. Red wine contains the most nutrients, while clear spirits with slimline tonic/soda are lowest in calories.
- Avoid sugar in all its forms: cakes, biscuits, ‘white’ bread, pies and pastries, fizzy drinks, artificial sweeteners, sweets and chocolate, adding sugar to hot drinks, and sugar-rich fruit drinks. Retrain your palate to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables or a glass of water.
- Eat little and often: 3 small meals and 2 snacks works best for most people.
- Eat good quality protein – organic meat and sustainable caught fish, eggs, nuts & seeds, beans and pulses – at least twice a day. Ensure the correct portion size for your weight and activity level. For petite women around 3oz cooked weight of meat/fish is ideal. For average sized ladies around 9-12 stone go for 4oz and those larger or who exercise strenuously (with weights) should aim for 4-6oz.
- Exercise a little every day. Walk to the shops, take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus a stop earlier than usual, do some gardening, housework or even an energetic love making session will all burn off the calories.
- If you wish to lose weight faster, do a sustained exercise 4-6 days a week, such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, aerobics classes, zumba, line dancing – basically anything that gets your heart rate up for 40-60 minutes. Remember that if you’re currently feeling low, or suffer from anemia, low immune system, frequent colds or similar illness, then over-exercising will have a detrimental effect. In those cases it’s best to start with 10-15 minutes a day and build up gradually – your body will thank you in the end!
- And finally, LOVE YOURSELF! You have to start by respecting and loving your own body, inside and out. Get rid of toxic friendships, people that make you feel bad, including those so-called friends on social media.