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Looking good on the beach is a lot easier than you think. Just follow these 7 golden rules for a successful summer diet, devised by nutritionist Angela Dowden, to help you reach your weight loss goal.
Golden Rule 1: Make the Calories Count
You’ll only lose weight if you eat fewer Calories than you burn off so aim to eat around 1,500 calories a day to lose a steady pound a week. However, not all calories are created equal – the trick is to get the right balance of nutrition and hunger-curbing potential from the calories you consume. The answer? Focus on natural produce such as fruit, veg and wholegrains rather than processed foods like cakes and takeaways, and you won’t go wrong.
Golden Rule 2: Get your Ratios Right
Draw an imaginary line down the middle of your plate and fill one half with veg. Split the other half into two and fill one quarter with lean protein like fish, turkey or chicken, and the remaining quarter with quality, slow-release carbs such as pulses or wholewheat pasta. Follow this rule at every meal and you can still enjoy ‘normal’ food rather than feeling like you’re on a diet.
Golden Rule 3: Trick Yourself
Professor Brian Wansink, a renowned US food psychologist, says managing our weight could be a question of mind over matter. Here are some of his top tips:
- Use smaller plates – we can easily eat 20% less as long as it doesn’t look obvious
- Use smaller spoons and tall thin glasses to further reduce calories
- Measure out snacks into smaller bowls rather than dipping in and out of a large bag
- Pick plates that contrast strongly with the food you’re serving – people in a study ate less creamy sauce when it was served on red plates, for example
Golden Rule 4: Instagram your Intake
Put aside some time to plan your meals for the week ahead, and never go to the supermarket hungry as you’re much more likely to purchase processed or fatty foods. Keeping a record of everything you eat and drink will also help you lose weight. A study by Wisconsin-Madison University in the United States found that women who took photos of their food – hello Instagram – were more likely to make healthy changes.
Golden Rule 5: Pick Perfect Snacks
Make a list of healthy foods you can nibble on when the 3pm biscuit craving strikes. For just 100 calories you could have:
- 110g of strawberries with 30g half-fat créme fraiche
- 50g sliced apple and 12g (roughly a heaped teaspoon) of peanut or almond butter
- 1 crispbread square with an eighth of an avocado, topped with a tablespoon of fresh tomato salsa and 2 to 3 garlic & herb chicken slices
- A pack of Garbanzo Dry Roasted Chickpeas for a metabolism-stimulating sweet chilli kick
Golden Rule 6: Cut Out Liquid Calories
One of simplest but most effective ways to cut calories is from sugary drinks. Calories in liquid don’t fill you up like calories in food, so they’re ‘empty’ or wasted calories. In place of full-sugar soft drinks, choose water with a squeeze of lime, herbal tea or mint tea. One small glass of fruit juice or a smoothie a day does have health benefits, but eating the whole fruit will help keep your stomach feeling full.
Golden Rule 7: Consider the Right Supplements
There’s no miracle weight loss pill, but certain supplements could help. A study in the International Journal of Obesity found obese women lost more weight when they took a multivitamin, compared with those taking a dummy pill. Other research in the journal found that green tea could boost your metabolism. Magnesium and chromium may also help as they play a role in managing blood sugar levels – fighting cravings – according to Mexican and US studies.
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