It’s coming to that time of the year again. The impending doom of the ‘Beach Body Season’ looms and increasing numbers of panicked customers are coming to us looking for the ‘quick fix’. While the easy option is of course tempting, it’s neither an enjoyable nor a sustainable option. Life is too short to crash diet and take fake diet pills (that do not work might I add). While we do have some supplements that can definitely assist you on your journey, the best thing is to learn how to change your lifestyle for the better. Instead of grazing on carrot sticks and pounding the pavements for hours on end, let’s make some simple, yet enjoyable changes that will help you get the body and lifestyle you want and can keep long term. So without further ado, here are my lifestyle tips to get you summer ready:
1. Drink Like A Fish
No I don’t mean wine (sorry!) and yes I know fish don’t ‘drink’ water as such…
I cannot emphasise this one enough. Without enough water your body is unable to detox. It will hold onto water giving you a puffier look which can easily be mistaken for weight gain. Your brain will feel foggy and your head heavy, while your entire body will feel fatigued. Try to get at least 8 glasses of water in a day. Tea and coffee (unfortunately) are not substitutes for a glass of water as they have dehydrating effects on the body. Chugging a glass of water will nearly always make you feel better. Feeling the 3pm slump? Chug a glass of water (I literally promise you will feel a difference). Feeling sluggish and blocked up? Chug a glass of water. Craving sugary drinks or smoothies? I guarantee you are thirsty. The body often craves sugary fruit flavoured foods when it is hungry as it associates these foods with hydration. Have a glass of water and I bet those cravings will evaporate (excuse the pun!)
2. Up The Protein Ante
This one isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. Yes, protein bars are a slightly better choice than a Mars Bar but honestly? You can do better. Protein bars will of course help you stay fuller for longer and some even have quite the fibre content. The downside? Some of them are chockablock with artificial colours, sweeteners and flavourings. These unwelcome additions will not only confuse your body and make you retain water, but they will also trick your body into continuing to crave these kinds of foods. Why not make your own protein balls or try one of the natural protein bars which we sell online or instore. Make sure to have a decent sum of protein included in your breakfast lunch and dinner to keep you fuller for longer and keep those cravings at bay. Lean proteins such as fish, chicken, eggs, beans and pulses, tofu and seitan are great sources of the good stuff.
3. Find an Exercise You Love
If you hate all exercise, you simply haven’t been introduced to the one for you yet. Take it from me, a self-confessed computer gamer and compulsive baker growing up; I avoided all forms of sport except sailing which I adored. Unfortunately sailing isn’t a sustainable form of exercise as it can be pretty seasonal. I found as I grew into adulthood that exploring the outdoors was my passion. Grab a friend, or stick in your earphones and find your nearest nature walk. Bring your camera and take some awesome photos to really get into it. If this isn’t for you, why not try an exercise class like spinning or pilates? Fitness Blender on Youtube has tons of workout videos that you can do from the comfort of your own home that suit all fitness levels. Swimming uses every muscle in your body and the endorphins after a good swim are like no other. Make sure that your heart rate is up for at least 30 minutes a day to get in shape and get those happy hormones flowing.
4. Eat Fat
I’ve written a whole blog piece dedicated to this tip alone, and while it may seem dubious, it really does work. First of all, low fat commercial foods are generally of terrible quality. Second of all, fatty acids can help to boost your metabolism. Try to include a healthy fat in each meal. Not only does this balance your hormones but it will also keep you fuller for longer. Healthy fats work by keeping your blood sugars stable, therefore reducing sugar cravings and regulating hunger spikes. Pop in some salmon, avocado, whole eggs, nuts, oils, or seeds into your meals. The possibilities are endless. Please remember that not all fats are created equal. Steer clear of saturated, poor quality fats lest you want to undo all of your hard work.
For more, check out http://www.livestrong.com/article/557726-eat-fat-to-burn-fat/
5. Move More
Make small, conscious changes to move more so that you begin to become more active subconsciously. What I mean by this is, for example, getting into the habit of taking the stairs instead of the lift. Next time you need something, instead of asking whoever is up to get it, be the first person to volunteer to fetch something. Instead of getting the bus, why not set your alarm a little earlier, throw on your trainers and walk in? You will feel a million dollars by the time you reach your destination. This is not only great for the body but it does wonders for the mind too!
6. Get Your Beauty Sleep
The jury is out on this one. Different people need different amounts of sleep to function optimally but try, try, try to get 8 hours a night. Your body will thank you, as will your brain, skin, and waistline. Try to avoid scrolling through social media when lying in bed before going to sleep. Instead, put on some lavender body oil and read a book allowing your body to fully relax. Even if you don’t fall asleep immediately, the relaxed state your body is in will still stand to you the next day.
7. Ditch the Sugar
I don’t reckon this one needs much explanation but sugar is more fattening than fat itself and is actually one of the most addictive substances on the planet. If you need more info and tips on ditching sugar, check out my blog post here. Try to avoid substituting sugar with synthetic sweeteners as these will only make things worse in the long run.
8. Keep Your Nutrient Levels On Point
Many people don’t know this, but a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals can seriously affect your waistline. If you have been yo-yo dieting for a while, cutting certain food groups out of your diet, or eating poor quality foods, you could be suffering from a vitamin deficiency. Vitamin deficiencies can cause our bodies to feel slow and lethargic while our minds can feel fuzzy and unmotivated. If this sounds like you, you may have a B or D vitamin deficiency. Why not pick up a good quality multivitamin to make sure there are no deficiencies stopping you from living a healthy, active lifestyle.