By Jenna Hope
Often around this time of year people realize that summer is quickly creeping upon us. The thought of a swimsuit sends many of us into a frenzy causing people to jump on board of some ridiculous, incredibly unhealthy, and potentially dangerous crash diets. Wrong on so many levels, these diets promote unhealthy relationships with food, often encouraging a restricting and binging cycle. This leaves your body in a state of exhaustion and at high risk of nutrient deficiencies. More importantly they are not sustainable, they promote unhealthy weight loss, meaning you are likely (almost certain) to put the weight back on once you return to your typical eating behaviors. Finally, these crash diets wreak havoc on your metabolism, potentially causing more future weight related problems.
So having established what is advised not to do pre-holiday, let me explain what is advised. It really isn’t that complicated.
1. Fruit and Vegetables: It may sound incredibly simple, but filling your plate with more vegetables will help you feel fuller (due to the fibre) and provide you with more nutrients. Ensure that every meal is about 50% vegetables.
2. Water: It is amazing how your body confuses thirst for hunger. Often when you are not sufficiently hydrated, you are fooled into thinking you are hungry which leads you to consume more food than you require. Consequently, this won’t help you to feel your best for the summer.
3. Protein: Ensuring you have enough protein at each meal will promote satiety and should stop you getting as hungry as your blood sugar levels will be more stable. Make sure you have a good quality protein source at every meal. For example, for breakfast skip the sweeter options and opt for eggs, yoghurt or nut butter. Pick higher protein snacks, great options include: nuts and seeds, hummus and crudites, and Greek yoghurt.
4. Drop your sugar intake: I’m not only referring to the chocolate bars and sweets. I’m also referring to the raw cheesecakes, date bars and the maple syrup drizzled over the gluten, dairy and refined sugar free pancakes. Whilst these sugars may be slightly healthier options, they still increase blood glucose levels, causing an insulin spike. Be mindful and aware when picking your foods, I’m not suggesting you never have a treat, but understand where they sit within your diet and that they won’t be doing you any favours.
5. Exercise: In general, exercising will always help you feel better, look better and be more confident. Mix up your exercise routine regularly and make sure you are fueling them sensibly to gain the best results. Over exercising and under eating can cause you just as many problems as those crash diets. Make sure you’re refueling with adequate protein. A MissFits sachet with some water/milk/ dairy free alternative is always an easy go to.
These are my top tips to help you feel the best you can for summer. Remember nutrition is about supporting your body in order to allow it to carry out the necessary daily functions. Eating too little or crash dieting will only leave you feeling malnourished and weak. So treat food as fuel and eat properly!