Summer diet preparations are often based around some sort of drastic crash or highly restrictive diet. You might be familiar with the cycle of eating well before your holiday and then after a few days on the beach eating and drinking whatever you like you’re back to where you began or often in a worse place. Holiday preparations don’t have to be extreme, dramatic or unsustainable. In fact it's the perfect excuse to clean up your unwanted dietary habits.
Below are my top 5 tips for staying healthy in the run up to summer without leading to a period of restriction and despair.
Switch up your snacks: snacking on high sugar foods can stimulate your appetite and contribute to blood sugar roller-coasters. Try opting for snacks high in protein and healthy fats to keep you fuller and prevent you over eating later. Good options include: hummus and crudites, olives, nuts and Greek yoghurt with cinnamon.
Drink plenty of water: often we mistake thirst for hunger leading us to eat unnecessarily. Ensure you’re drinking around 2L a day to prevent this. I recommend keeping a bottle of water with you at all times to prevent you dehydrating.
Load up on vegetables: try creating a meal around vegetables and then adding a source of protein or healthy fats rather than having the vegetables as a side dish. Veggies are low in calories and high in fibre which means it will keep you fuller for longer with less energy.
Load up on the beans and legumes: like vegetables these foods are typically low in energy and high in fibre. Therefore, they will give you volume without adding a ton of extra calories. Get creative by adding these to your salads, stews and soups.
Look after your gut: gut health has been associated with weight management as it plays a role in hormone balance. Try eating foods high in prebiotics and probiotics such as sauerkraut, kefir, natto, yoghurt, kombucha.
Eat mindfully: eating whilst distracted is a large contributor to over eating. When your brain isn’t engaged it’s not processing the food properly meaning you won’t digest it as well and your satiety hormones take longer to kick in.
Don’t over estimate your burn: over-estimating your calorie burn is a key reason why you might be pounding it out in the gym but not losing weight. Try to eat what you usually would rather than thinking that you ‘deserve this because you’ve just finished a class’.
Avoid under eating: you may think that weight loss is a case of the less the better. Although this couldn’t be further from the truth. When you’re not eating enough your body goes into starvation mode and stores fat as a result of not knowing when the next meal is coming. Your metabolism will slow significantly making it much easier to gain weight once you start eating normally again.
Be aware of your alcohol consumption: social summer plans often revolve around drinking. Alcohol contributes to empty calories as well as increasing your appetite and driving your desire for high sugar high fat foods. Ahead of your social arrangement decide how many drinks you’re going to have to prevent you getting carried away and over-consuming. Opt for clear spirits with soda and lime over beers and cocktails to save on the calories. I also recommend making spritzers your best friend to ensure your wine goes a little further.
There you have a few tips to help with sensible weight loss ahead of summer. Remember sensible weight loss is more sustainable and you're less likely to regain it as soon as you hit the beach.