Shape up for Summer!

Slimming down for that bikini body.

Slimming down for that bikini body.

The summer holidays are creeping ever closer and you are running out of time to shift those unwanted pounds to get that ‘bikini body’.

So the question is: what can you do about it?

Shape Up for Life 2016

Shape Up for Life 2016

Firstly, don’t panic. There is still time to get in shape.

We are still only in the first week of June so if you are going away next month or August, you’ve still got a few weeks to make a change.

But you need to kick start your action plan now!

First things first – drink water and plenty of it.

Skipping breakfast does not cut your daily calorie intake.

Skipping breakfast does not cut your daily calorie intake.

Ideally, you should be drinking around eight to ten glasses of water – and only water – a day.

Cut out sugary soft drinks and fill up on mother nature’s juice instead.

As well as saving money, you’ll cut a large amount of sugar from your diet and you’ll end up eating less too – because water fills you up.

So before you tuck into your long-awaited lunch, make sure you drink a full glass of water first.

Ensure you eat five times a day – small and steady beats bingeing hands down.

Space out your recommended calories with three normal meals and two snacks.

Have breakfast within an hour of waking or after a morning workout, then lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner and an evening snack.

This will speed up your metabolism and prevent your body from going into starvation mode, which causes the body to store even more fat.

The first meal of the day should always be breakfast.

Skipping breakfast does not cut your daily calorie intake.

Studies actually show that those who eat breakfast actually weigh less than those who skip it.

A Meal Matter nutrition spokeswoman said: “When you skip breakfast, your metabolic rate slows down and your blood sugar drops.

“As a result, you become hungry and have less energy. This sets you up to impulsively snack in the morning – often on high-fat sweets – or to eat bigger portions at lunch or dinner.

“When you eat breakfast, your body feels nourished and satisfied, making you less likely to overeat the rest of the day.”

At the gym, don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to spend hours trying to get into shape.

Some of the best results are achieved by switching to interval training.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, more calories are burned in short, high intensity exercises.

Other studies have also shown that interval training increases your metabolism, burns calories from fat and carbohydrates and keeps the calories burning long after you finish exercising.

So if you like to run for your cardio workout, try mixing it up by jogging and sprinting in two-minute increments.

If you are not a fan of interval training it is important to do some form of exercise, preferably three to five times a week for 30 minutes or more.

The best and cheapest forms of exercise are walking, running, dancing and swimming.

Whatever you choose to do, try to exercise as soon as you wake up – before you head to the refrigerator for breakfast.

According to experts, this is the optimal time to burn fat instead of carbohydrates because your body has been fasting throughout the night.

This creates a depletion of glycogen (stored carbohydrate) and lower blood sugar.

And if you exercise in the morning, you not only burn fat during your workout, but at an accelerated rate for hours after.

In terms of choosing what to eat, it is better to opt for wheat instead of white.

It’s no secret that whole grain/wheat is healthier than white bread but it can also help you lose weight.

Whole grain and whole wheat carbs contain much more fibre than white carbs.

This ingredient suppresses your appetite, increases your rate of digestion and improves intestinal health.

And for the caffeine junkies out there, while it is better to cut it out, if you can’t there are options which are less harmful.

Steer away from the all-new, creative coffee of the week, with syrup and shots galore.

If you’re not a fan of plain coffee or simple green tea, choose a Skinny Latte instead – it only has 90 calories, zero grams of fat and uses sugar-free syrup.

And try to eat “good fats”(monounsaturated fats) which can be found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil.

They help to control your insulin levels, slow down carbohydrates rate of entry into the blood stream and send signals to your brain to stop eating – just what we all need!

Lastly, it is important to rest, relax and sleep.

These three factors are often overlooked when it comes to achieving weight loss.

But if your body doesn’t have some time to relax, it will breakdown.

For best results, make sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep per night, take naps when you’re tired and treat yourself to a massage – you deserve it for all your effort, after all!

Dump the Junk this summer

World Cancer Research Fund is encouraging people to ‘Dump the Junk’ this month to see the health benefits as well as raising funds for cancer prevention.

It is challenging people to give up one of their most unhealthy vices for June, such as drinking sugary drinks, alcohol, ordering takeaways or eating sweets.

Many underestimate the effect of alcohol on weight loss with few realising that a pint of lager has the same number of calories as three chocolate biscuits.

Two 175ml glasses of wine is around 266 calories – the same as eating four and a half chocolate biscuits!

It would take approximately one hour and five minutes of walking to burn off all those calories.

And drinking two pints of cider is the equivalent to eating eight and a half chocolate biscuits! Sarah Toule, head of health information at World Cancer Research Fund, said: “The calories found in junk food and in alcoholic drinks account for a significant proportion of people’s calorie consumption while both provide little, if any, nutritional benefit.

“Cutting down on junk food and alcohol can have a big effect on weight loss, as well as the cancer risk.”

For more information, visit: www.dumpthejunk.org.uk.