Beach prep in March - really?
I was rung by a magazine last week about an annual get-ready-for-the-beach diet article which will come out in July when many of us start flashing our flesh.
It reminded me to start talking strategies for the beach, not in July, but right now in March. Really? You might say.
You see, if we start thinking in July about shaping up for summer, the only diet left open to us is a crash one.
Crash dieting, is not only a bore with hunger pains and social misery, but can upset our metabolism and lead to quick and greater weight gain after the crash.
So start thinking about waistlines now I say, which means eating lots of interesting, delicious food without going hungry, while the weight slips off gradually. Start eating in a style you can keep going for the long term.
The main barriers to weight loss for many people are high alcohol, sugar and white refined carbohydrate consumption.
Yes, that includes red wine. Any health benefits for many people are outstripped by the daily half-bottle, not small one glass quantities being drunk.
Orange juice can be obesogenic too. It may come from real oranges, but the natural fructose in it is still sugar. It's better to eat one whole orange in segments with the pith and fibre, than a half litre each morning containing mainly sugar from eight oranges if you want to watch your waistline. And remember, white pasta also turns to sugar in the body pretty quickly.
So if you'd like to look beach fit this summer the enjoyable way, here's some tips to start implementing today:
- Start the day with a protein-based breakfast such as eggs, a quality protein shake, or slow-burn porridge with seeds and berries.
- Increase your vegetable intake. At lunch and dinner, pile half the plate with vegetables and salads drizzled in good quality oils such as cold-pressed olive oils, flaxseed or walnut oils, to improve absorption of key vitamins for metabolism.
- One quarter of the plate should be brown carbs (eg quinoa, brown rice, red rice or black rice) and the other quarter of the plate lean protein (eg meat, fish, eggs or pulses). Protein, and brown carbs (rather than white) are really filling and digest slowly meaning we are less likely to crave biscuits and cakes later in the day.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. Alcohol is loaded with empty calories. Start drinking less nights per week - eg just at the weekend.
- Chew every mouthful at least 20 times. It takes 20 minutes for the message to reach the brain telling us we are full. So if we've wolfed down dinner in ten minutes, we are most likely ladling extra helpings down our body beyond our needs.
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