Tired of never ending diets in a quest to lose weight? Forget them! Here are 10 healthy habits you can build right now to help you lose a few kilos before donning your summer clothes.
1) Drink water before every meal
Did you know? Drinking water before meals makes you feel satiated more quickly by distending your stomach. To lose weight before the summer, get in the habit of drinking 1 or 2 large glasses of water after every meal. Another option is to start your meal with dishes that have a lot of water, such as raw vegetables, soup, etc. Water in food is eliminated more slowly and therefore provides a longer feeling of being satiated.
2) Natural "hunger dampeners"
If hunger strikes during the day or before a fitness workout session, don't give in to the temptation to eat processed/packaged foods. Instead choose a plain milk-based product (plain yoghurt or fromage blanc), preferably with 0% fat. These are great hunger-busters, and can be easily enhanced with some slices of apple or oat bran if desired. Or, if you prefer, grab a handful of almonds (not too many!), which have a nice satiating effect due to their low glycemic index and high protein count. Always remember: do not eat any sugar after 5 pm.
3) Weight-loss accessories
Consider the following fitness accessories that can help you easily lose weight before summer:
Skipping rope: perfect for burning calories, flattening your tummy, and toning the lower body. 15 minutes of skipping is equivalent to 30 minutes of jogging.
Stepper: this small but handy device provides a full workout by not only helping you to lose weight and improve your cardio, but also sculpt your lower limbs (glutes, abductors, adductors, quads, calves, etc.)
4) Personalised coaching
How do you stay motivated to do sports and lose weight before summer? Try a personal coach! If you can manage the time, shoot to have three sessions. Your coach can help you create a programme for getting back in shape before the holidays, and then for the 2 summer months. Top tip: negotiate with your coach to allow another friend or two join you for the same price so you can split the cost between yourselves (choose friends with whom you share the same fitness/sports objectives).
5) Get fit outdoors
Take advantage of the good weather to do fitness workouts outside. Here's a routine that you can easily do to stay in shape before summer: 1 minute of skipping; 15 to 30 lunges; 10 to 30 push-ups, 15 to 30 squats, 15 to 60 seconds of plank, and 10 to 30 sit-ups (crunches and/or reverse crunches). Repeat this routine 3 to 5 times for a total of 15 to 40 minutes of exercise. Don't forget to complement this programme with other fitness activities (cycling, power walking, etc.). Workout a minimum of 2-3 times a week if you want to see results!
6) Track your progress
Obsessed about your weight? Put that scale away! If you're determined to lose a few kilos before the holidays, how about changing the way you measure your results? Using a measuring tape, regularly measure your waist, your hips, your thighs, or better yet, pull out a pair of trousers or a skirt that you can't fit into and make it your ready-for-summer slim-down goal. The difference in centimetres is much more important and interesting than a drop in kilos since it represents the actual fat that you're losing!
7) Sleep to lose weight
Did you know? A lack of sleep increases the level of hunger-inducing hormones (ghrelin) and decreases the production of hormones that make you feel satiated (leptin). This is why, to get or stay in shape and keep from gaining weight, it's in your best interest to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Try, as much as possible, not only to get to sleep early, but also to sleep in your bed. So-called "slow and deep" sleep, which is characterised by low brain activity, occurs mostly before midnight. This type of sleep is the most rejuvenating!
8) Trainers on your feet
To get back into shape before summer, take your fitness shoes with you everywhere you go. Remember to put on your fitness shoes every day while walking or whenever you have a chance (i.e., going out for lunch, picking up the kids from school, walking up and down stairs, etc.). You'll find yourself consistently walking at a faster pace when you have your trainers on. It's a simple step but one that will help remind you of your fitness goals every day!
9) A new sports outfit
Sometimes it's the little things that can give our motivation a big boost. So how about freshening up your fitness wardrobe? Top tip: turn over a new leaf by treating yourself to a new fitness outfit. It's an excellent way to push yourself to exercise!
10) Cardio at least twice a week
To keep your cardio fitness level high and work on your figure before the summer, set aside at least 2 or 3 sessions a week for cardio workouts. Depending on your fitness level and experience, train on a treadmill (or outdoors if weather permits) for 20 to 60 minutes of power walking, jogging or fast running!
As you can see, losing weight quickly and effectively doesn't require a draconian diet. Some simple and effective habits will help you stay focused on your fitness level (and figure!) day in and day out. Never forget that a balanced diet, regular physical exercise, and rejuvenating sleep, are the keys to success. To reach your weight-loss goals before summer hits, add fitness and sports meets to your schedule, and work out with others to stay motivated and go the distance!