So your much-anticipated summer holiday is around the corner and the diet you had every intention of starting didn’t quite go according to plan. Sound familiar?
Don’t fret, as with seven days to go there are still simple changes you can make that will have you looking and feeling beach-ready before you jet off…
1. Monitor portion sizes
As portion sizes have grown, so have waistlines; and by making a few changes, you might just overhaul your diet and body.
“Take a look at how much you are eating – is your portion size a little too large?” asks nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire. “Simply reducing this by putting what you intend to eat on a slight smaller plate can help cut back on excess calories.”
2. Don’t skip breakfast
Indulging in a healthy, balanced breakfast is key to looking and feeling your best – and with a seven-day deadline, three balanced meals a day is a must.
Dr Derbyshire explains: “Breakfast is the best meal of the day. I remember reading ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and the evening meal like a pauper’, which rings true. Logically, if you eat most of your calories in the morning you will expend these throughout the day. Fortified cereals, fruit and a yoghurt, and egg on toast are all great breakfasts.”
3. Avoid drastic changes
With just a week to go, you may be tempted to drastically alter your diet; but sudden changes can do your body more harm than good. Cutting back on sugar and avoiding salt is a good start, however.
“Don't suddenly go on a health kick, eating loads of fruit and veg or fibre rich foods in the run up to your holiday,” warns Dr Derbyshire. “If your body is not used to these they may cause uncomfortable bloating. [Instead], ease them into your diet gradually.”
4. Opt for water
Drinking two litres of water a day will not only help to keep your weight stable, it will stave off tiredness caused by dehydration and the all-too-common tummy bloat too.
But the H20 benefits don’t end there: “Water is calorie and sugar-free so swapping other drinks for water in the run up to a holiday is a great way to keep calorie intakes in check,” advises Dr Derbyshire. “It is also a good habit to take away with you, particularly if it's going to be hot, to avoid headaches and dehydration setting in.”
5. Move your body
Just as you shouldn’t make sweeping changes to your diet, it’s important to know your limits when it comes to upping the exercise too – especially if you usually don’t indulge.
“Start off with walking to increase core body temperature and increase blood circulation (5-10mins minimum),” advises fitness consultant, Laurel Alper.
“Walk briskly and build up to light perspiration or, if time-limited, warm up with jogging on the spot or jumping jacks etc. Follow this with a series of bodyweight exercises, starting with lunges (or squats) together with bicep curls; shoulder press and circles; press-up’s; tricep dips; donkey kicks; side leg swipes (inner and outer thighs); tummy curls; back extensions and cool down with gentle stretches.
“[Most importantly], always listen to how your body feels, start off gently and increase reps/sets incrementally. Try and add repetitions and/or sets each day.”
What do you do to get summer-ready? Share your tips in the Comments section below.