It’s that time of the year again. Summer is around the corner and in about six to eight weeks, most of us will be going on a well-deserved holiday. Whether it’s lazing around the pool, soaking up the sunshine on the beach or enjoying cocktails in slinky little dresses, we’ll be stripping down to the bare minimum…and revealing all the extra kilos that have crept up on us during winter!
Before you become completely despondent and choose to turn into a hermit this summer instead, listen up. There’s no need to panic. Six to eight weeks is more than enough time to perform a mini-miracle and reveal a slimmer, more toned body in time for the holidays. Even better news is that you don’t have to starve yourself or resort to dangerous quick-fix diet solutions.
If you are a healthy person and you make a few changes to your lifestyle, you should be able to lose between 0.5kg and 1kg per week. That's between 4 to 8kg over eight weeks.
- Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Combine some good protein with unrefined carbs (such as scrambled egg and wholewheat toast or low-fat milk and high-fibre cereal) and round off your meal with some fruit. A good breakfast will sustain your energy levels and stave off cravings for fatty and sugary foods. You will also eat less at lunch and dinner.
- Stock up on summer fruits, veggies and salads. These are rich in fibre and nutrients and low in kilojoules. Add lean protein and wholegrains for a complete meal. Steer clear of processed foods and snacks that are high in fat, sugar and salt. Here are examples of healthy diets.
- Watch your portion sizes. We all tend to eat portions that are far too big. Familiarise yourself with healthy portion sizes by checking out our portion eating plan. You can also cut your food intake by serving it on a side plate instead of a main plate.
- Limit your alcohol intake, or avoid it altogether. Alcohol is very high in kilojoules.
- Drink lots of water. We often misintepret thirst for hunger. Next time you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first. Water also helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite and improves your skin.
- Do 40 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three times a week and add 20 minutes of weight training two times a week. This will help you to burn fat while toning your body. (Take note: if you haven't exercised for a while, consult your doctor first).
- Finally, get enough sleep. Getting too little sleep prevents dieters from losing as much body fat as they otherwise would have, studies have found. People who sleep five hours or less are also far more likely to experience weight gain than those who sleep seven hours a night.
- (Birgit Ottermann, Eat Well newsletter, October 2012)