This post was prompted by some of the headlines that are starting to appear in the women’s magazines as they bring out their summer editions..Get a Bikini Beach Body in Six Weeks!!!!
In reality to do this successfully you are going to need a lot longer than six weeks.. in some of our cases it might even involve surgery.
The post was also prompted by the fact that in a few weeks I shall be swimming in a public pool again for the first time in years. No longer can I saunter out to the pool wearing a rather decrepit faded costume that tries but fails to contain my lumps and bumps. I need to trim a little of the fat before I show myself to the world, and whilst I embrace my fuller and more mature figure, there is still a smidgen of pride left that prevents me from saying ‘I am what I am.’
I do envy people who can let it all hang out and even remove every stitch of clothing in the process. But, us lesser mortals are probably eyeing up the crash diet shakes and bars in the pharmacy right now and wondering how we can get a stone off rapidly.
Please do not do that.. Many of the meal replacements have unhealthy amounts of chemicals, artificial sweeteners (that the body reacts to in the same way as sugar) and cost an arm and a leg.
Instead I am going to be following my tried and tested method of shedding 10lbs in the next month. If you are interested in losing a few pounds before the summer really gets going or just want to revamp your diet and lifestyle a touch.. then here is Top Tips to getting into that bathing costume (one piece at least – in my case the bikini would definitely take a great deal longer and require surgery!)
It is very important that you do not starve your body into submission or deprive it of all the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Instead take a long hard look at what you are currently eating and with the help of these tips, make some sensible and easy to keep to changes that will help you lose weight and become healthier.
Weigh yourself on some new scales. Most people underestimate how much they weigh by quite a bit. If people weigh 15 stone and have no scales they think they way 12 stone. You need a place to start so that you can set realistic targets. Most people expect to lose too much in the first week or two and are then disappointed when they fail to do so. 2lbs of body fat per week is absolutely healthy and if you lose more than that you are in danger of losing muscle. The body would rather sacrifice muscle because it uses up far more calories to fuel – if you lose this muscle you will find it very difficult to get back. You will lose excess water the first week which might give you a boost, particularly if you have reduced your salt intake or processed food intake but after that aim to lose 2lbs per week. Remember that 1lb per week is still 52lbs lost in a year.
Once you have established how much you weigh, you then need to write a food diary for 14 days of everything you eat and drink. At the end of 14 days you will have a good idea just where you might be overdoing it. Apart from our weight, we also underestimate how much we are eating – usually by 1000 plus calories per day. Most of us know deep down what is unhealthy or healthy in our diet and if you find that more than 25% of your diet is rubbish then you need to alter the balance. Nobody is saying that you should never have a burger or an Indian takeaway but once a week is enough. Also if you know that you are going to be indulging on a particular night then schedule in extra exercise on the day before and afterwards. Do not starve yourself though – you can eat lighter by eating salads and fruit but make sure that you are still eating breakfast and lunch with some healthy snacks otherwise your body will whip the takeaway right into storage.
Reduce your salt intake. You should not have more than a level teaspoon per day or 6 grams. If you eat a lot of processed foods you will be consuming far in excess of this. Sodium is essential for our bodies to keep a correct water balance (so too much can cause water retention and can represent several pounds in extra weight) it is also necessary for nerve impulse transmission and prevents your blood from becoming too acidic or alkaline. However, take in too much and not only will it cause weight gain it can also drive your blood pressure too high. Look at the labels on the food and your mineral water currently in your cupboard and fridge and see how much sodium is in 100gms. Multiply by 2.5 which will give you the salt equivalent. So if a Pizza has 8400 mg of sodium you would times that by 2.5 giving you 21000mg of sodium or 21gm of salt which is 3.5 teaspoons or 3 times the recommended salt intake.
You will be horrified if you do this exercise with both salt and sugar. You will see on most labels that it has carbohydrates of which are sugars in grams. Divide that number by 4gm which is equivalent to a teaspoon and see how much your favourite treat contains. Remember a chocolate bar contains 16 teaspoons of sugar. The recommended daily intake is 10 – and there is going to be more in all the food you eat throughout the day – even in savoury food. 3.5 teaspoons in a serving of chunky pasta sauce.
Think in the terms of one. This applies to the individual – you are responsible for your own health and lifestyle. You would not be happy if someone was popping in and out of your bank account or your home every few minutes and dictating what you spent your money on or what television programme you watch. Yet, we allow food manufacturers to dictate what we eat – we expect the medical profession to pick up the pieces when we become ill with lifestyle related illness and we do not take responsibility for the one asset that is truly ours. If you want to live for 80 or 90 years you have to take back control. The power of one applies to how we eat as well. For example 1 biscuit with your tea. 2 biscuits every day with your afternoon tea (digestives) equates to 15lbs in body fat per year. Having one biscuit instead means a potential loss of 7.5lbs per year.
Habits that need to be broken often come in twos and require you to give up both to be successful. If you automatically reach for the biscuit tin when you have a cup of tea or coffee switch to fruit juice for a week or two and that will help a) because it is sweet and b)it will break the association. The other aspect of this is that addiction loves company. If you are with a group of friends that smoke, drink and has a takeaway after the pub three or four times a week, you are going to find it a challenge to become the one in this familiar group that is not following the group rules.
Misery loves company. Start listening to the language that your family and friends use and then see if you are falling into the same language patterns. Negativity is the worst enemy of change. One word that we use a great deal is ‘should’. I should give up smoking. I should give up eating chocolate. Should is a soggy word. It does not imply any definite action just a possible one. If you use ‘should’ a great deal consciously change it to the word ‘must’ I must give up smoking. I must give up chocolate. But like any good sales pitch you need to give yourself the benefits. I must give up smoking so that I can smell better. I must give up chocolate so that I lose weight.
Just because a toaster has two slots does not mean you need to put two pieces of toast into it. A piece of wholemeal toast on its own is only about 80 calories but add butter, jam, cheese or ham you are taking it up to 200 calories – multiply that by 2 slices and you are looking at a snack of 400 calories. If you currently eat two slices of toast with butter and jam a day for a snack you will potentially lose 20lbs per year. Whatever alcohol you are drinking divide by two to start with and then divide by two again in 4 weeks. For the person who drinks 2 glasses of wine per night this represents 20lbs of body fat per year. Just by drinking one glass per night you will potentially lose 10lbs. A burger with medium fries and a medium fizzy drink can be as high as 1040 calories and 17 spoonfuls of sugar. If you are in the habit of having this once a week in a year this adds up to 15lbs of body fat. Have one a month and you will potentially lose 9lbs.
Do not eat white bread, white pasta or white rice. Change to whole grains and you will be adding fibre into your diet which will potentially help you lose your weight – it is nutritionally much healthier and you will find that your energy levels are much more stable by reducing your sugar cravings.
Stop drinking diet or normal fizzy drinks. Artificial sweeteners in diet drinks are just as addictive as sugar and have the same affect on the body. Use unsweetened fruit juices with sparkling water for a fizzy drink. Do not give your children fizzy drinks. In America they are treating young teenagers for cirrhosis of the liver and they have not had alcoholic drink only fizzy drinks on a daily basis.
Take a look at your exercise level and if you are currently walking every day, try to reduce the time it takes you to complete your normal route. Measure it if you can in the car so that you know the exact distance. After you have speeded up extend the distance until you are walking briskly for at least 45 minutes a day. Over a period of six weeks increase your exercise level so that you are walking four miles per hour.
A few weeks and you will be ready for any beach in the world.
Any questions.. don’t hesitate to ask and if you need a more private answer you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to share.. Sally