So many of us reach June, see two months of leg revealing, upper arm exposing, potential swimwear requiring months ahead of us and PANIC!
Quick! I need to get into shape NOW!
Now I’m not an advocate of quick fix diets. I don’t believe in stripping out whole food groups for the sake of a few inches and I certainly don’t agree with calorie restricted diets that make you feel guilty and miserable for so much as looking at a square of chocolate or even a slice of bread!
But… that’s not to say that I don’t have a few nutritional tricks and tips up my sleeve for those clients who want or need results fast.
If you want to lose weight for your summer holiday or get in shape for a wedding or special occasion, then there is still time!
I’ve put together a simple weight loss programme to help you drop a few pounds before a big occasion – whether you’ve got four weeks, two weeks or just one week to go! My four week plan is so effective that you could lose a dress size in just 28 days and set yourself on a path to healthy eating for life. It’s a win win!
Just remember, if you are planning to lose weight it’s important to do so in a healthy and nutritious way. If you have any health conditions, it’s advisable to speak to your GP before making any major dietary changes.
And don’t forget, if you would like a tailor-made, month-long eating programme created just for you then you can book in for my one-month nutritional coaching package or sign up to my 30 Day Sugar Detox online course.
Find out more details…
If you’ve got 4 weeks to go to drop a dress size…
This programme is all about keeping your blood sugar levels balanced so that your body doesn’t store fat (especially around your tummy) and so that you don’t feel hungry and unable to resist the wrong foods. Long-term this plan it will also help to keep your metabolic rate as high as possible so that you don’t fall into the trap of yo-yo dieting.
The number one reason why diets fail is due to feeling hungry and the inevitable consequence of bingeing on all the wrong foods. With this programme you will be given the tools to achieve long-term weight loss, allowing you to enjoy food and feel safe in the knowledge that you’re getting all the nutrients you body needs for optimum health. If you’re ready to get into shape for summer, here’s how you could achieve it:
Cut out all sugar and refined carbohydrates: This means any white flour products (white bread, biscuits, cakes), white pasta and white rice. Look out for hidden sugars, such as in baked beans, sauces and fruit yoghurts (even diet ones!). Even yoghurts you might think of as healthy ones may contain up to 8 teaspoons of sugar! It’s important to exclude these ‘fast-releasing’ carbohydrates from your diet because they can imbalance your blood sugar, promote fat storage and leave you craving even more sweet things.
Protein with every meal: Protein helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced and can help you feel fuller for longer. Choose lean protein such as chicken or turkey breast, fish, poached eggs, cottage cheese, a tablespoon of nuts of seeds, chickpeas, lentils and beans.
Get the right balance: Change the way your meals are balanced in terms of carbs, protein and fat. For lunches and dinners, make sure that at least half your plate is made up of non-starchy veg (i.e. NOT potatoes, sweet potatoes or squash) or salad. A quarter of your plate contains a portion of protein the size of a deck of cards. Once you’ve reached your target weight you can also have a palm sized portion of carbohydrates – two to three new potatoes, 2 tablespoons of brown rice, a palmful of wholegrain pasta. Sandwiches are no longer an option – swap to open sandwiches instead made with just one piece of bread.
Never skip breakfast!: Research shows that those who skip breakfast are less likely to lose weight long-term and it’s vital to start your day by balancing your blood sugar and eating within at least an hour of waking up. So make sure breakfast contains some protein and plenty of fibre.
Eat little and often: Reduce the size of your lunches and dinners by a quarter and then add two small snacks into your day – so you’re eating three small meals and 2 snacks in between. This is vital to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and prevent you feeling hungry and craving all the wrong foods.
Chew your food and eat consciously: Most of us tend to eat on the go, which really doesn’t give us time to chew. Chewing is the first part of digestion and allows our body to get as many nutrients from our foods as possible. Also if you’re eating on the go, you’re less likely to notice how much you’re eating or notice whether you’re full or not.
Avoid starchy carbohydrates after 6pm: No rice, potatoes or pasta (not even the brown varieties) after 6pm as these can really cause you to hold fat around your tummy. Once you’ve reached your target weight you can then add a small portion at this meal (a palm sized portion).
Muscle resistance exercise: Start adding some muscle resistance work to your exercise programme. If you build some muscle mass, this can help to boost your metabolic rate so that you’re burning more calories, even when you’re sitting down. Half an hour, two to three times per week, is ideal. Try some pilates, weight training or working with a resistance band are ideal.
- 2 poached/scrambled/boiled eggs on one piece of wholegrain toast. Add chopped tomato, peppers and fresh herbs.
- 50g (cooked) of porridge (do not use instant porridge as it is too refined) made with half water, half milk. Top with one tablespoon of ground seeds and a handful of berries.
- One small pot of live, plain yoghurt with chopped fruit and a handful of chopped nuts and seeds.
- Small bowl of low-GI muesli (try Lizi’s Granola) with skimmed milk
- No sugar baked beans on 1 piece of wholegrain toast
- Grilled chicken breast/piece of fish/smoked mackerel and plenty of fresh salad
- Vegetable soup with 2 tablespoons of beans and lentils and 2 oatcakes
- Chopped chicken breast, chopped tomato, cucumber and raw pepper with 2 tablespoons of cooked brown rice
- Baked salmon/trout with 3 different steamed vegetables (not including potatoes)
- Half a small jacket potato with tin of mashed tuna (mix with 1 tablespoon of natural yoghurt) and two handfuls of mixed green salad
- Mixed bean salad with tomatoes, green beans, onions
- Mashed sardines on 1 piece of rye bread, chopped tomatoes and cucumber
- 2 egg omelette made with green beans, tomatoes and fresh herbs. Serve with fresh salad.
- Salads: mixed leaves, cucumber, tomato, sliced pepper, onion then add one of the following:
Half an avocado and 1 tablespoon of mixed seeds
Baked salmon and sliced pear
Tuna, celery and chopped apple
Grilled chicken breast
Kidney beans and grated carrot
2 tablespoons of cooked brown rice and a sliced boiled egg
- Stir fry vegetables with diced chicken breast/prawns
- Grilled fish with pesto and 3 vegetables (not potatoes)
- Bean chilli with 2 tablespoons of brown rice
- Turkey mince bolognaise with added grated vegetables and half a palm full of wholegrain pasta
- Baked or steamed halibut/salmon/mackerel with mange tout, broccoli, spinach.
- Sliced lean beef with chinese corn, green leafy veg, ginger, chopped walnuts, with 2 tablespoons of cooked quinoa
- Vegetable and fish kebabs served with mixed salad
- Apple with small handful of nuts
- Mug of homemade soup with sprinkle of seeds
- Raw carrot, celery, pepper dipped in low-fat hummus or cottage cheese
- Small pot plain yoghurt with tablespoon of seeds
- 1 oatcake with cottage cheese/small slice of chicken breast
- 1 piece of wholegrain toast with mashed mackerel or sardines
- ½ avocado
If you’ve got just two weeks to go…
If you’ve just got a couple of weeks to go before your big day or you’re going on holiday, then you’ll need to get a little bit stricter with your food. As well as following all the advice above, also make these changes to your diet:
- Cut out all wheat: Wheat is the major source of carbohydrate in the British diet. Unfortunately the wheat we eat nowadays is very refined and puts a lot of pressure on our digestive tract. Many people find that when they cut out wheat the weight falls off effortlessly. So reduce or cut out completely all wheat bread, pasta and wheat based cereals and replace with rye bread, oatcakes, wholegrain rice cakes or brown rice pasta
- Reduce your intake of cows milk: Again for many people, cows dairy is something that features far too heavily in our diet and can cause a number of unwanted symptoms and make it more difficult to shift those last few pounds. Replace with goats milk, goats yoghurt, unsweetened nut milks, rice milk or oat milk. However you can continue to have cottage cheese and live, natural goats yoghurt as many people find these easier to digest as they have been fermented.
- Check your stress levels: Stress has contributed greatly to the ‘muffin-top’ that has become a feature of the British body shape in the last 50 years. Although sugar and refined carbs can make you store extra tummy fat, stress is also a big contributor. Evaluate your stress levels and try to find some relaxation time – whether it’s a massage, a swim, yoga or a gentle walk two or three times per week. If you don’t manage your stress levels you’ll find it very tough to lose that tummy fat.
- Increase your intake of essential fats: Essential fats can help to boost your metabolic rate and can help you lose weight. Good sources are oily fish (salmon, trout, fresh tuna, fresh or tinned sardines or mackerel), nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables. Aim to have oily fish 3 times per week and a tablespoon of chopped nuts or seeds every day.
- Reduce your caffeine (max 2 per day) and alcohol intake – especially beer. And cut out fizzy drinks and dilute fruit juice. All of these drinks can imbalance your blood sugar levels, which can promote fat storage. They also tend to be high in calories and sugar. Replace as much as possible with green tea (which can help with weight loss), herbal teas, hot water and lemon or just plain water.
If you’ve only got one week to go…
Ok, we’re not going to achieve life and body changing results in one week, but there are some simple changes you can make that will help you feel slimmer. If you only have a week to go before your holiday or your big day, please, please, don’t be tempted to go on a crash diet. As soon as you get on holiday you’ll pile the pounds back on when you start eating normally and you may negatively affect your metabolic rate, long-term. What you can do, however, is follow ALL the advice given above. Alongside this, just for one week you can:
- Limit your carbohydrate intake to just one portion of starchy carbohydrates per day: This includes potatoes, grains (including oats, quinoa, brown rice) and bread.
- Completely cut out all alcohol and caffeine: Even decaffeinated coffee or tea and make sure you are drinking plenty of water – 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, every day.
- Cut out sweet fruits such as bananas, grapes and dried fruit: These can imbalance your blood sugar level due to their sweetness and therefore promote fat storage.
- Replace your breakfast with a protein packed breakfast smoothie to help you shift a little extra weight: Use the following recipe:
2 handfuls of berries (fresh or frozen)
150ml of rice, oat or soya milk (unsweetened)
150ml of water
1 heaped tablespoon of ground almonds and seeds
1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil
Put into a blender with a few ice cubes. Whiz up and drink straight away.
So you’ve reached the big day or your summer holiday. Hopefully you’ve achieved your weight loss target and feel more confident baring a bit of extra skin for the summer. And if things haven’t gone to plan, don’t be disheartened. It’s never too late to start a healthy eating regime.
Don’t forget, long-term no one can eat perfectly all the time and if you have a little slip, don’t panic. Just get back on track as soon as you can. Aim for the 80-20 rule of nutrition and eat well 80% of the time – then you won’t feel guilty if you have the odd slip up and you’ll find it easier to get back on track. And most of all, enjoy your summer and your holidays!
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