We are firmly in the run-up to the summer holidays and that usually means only one thing, it’s time to get into shape. As usual, for this time of year, we are not quite where we want to be with our summer bodies (I myself haven’t started yet), yet there always seems to be a running loop once we start hitting the gym. Shedding the fat, gaining it back 2 months later…if you feel this way, then you are not alone. Many people struggle with the in’s and out’s of a diet whether it’s due to the restrictiveness or the anti-social regimes they acquire.
In a fresh approach to dieting, we are not going to cover which diet will give you those killer abs or flippant fat to muscle ratios, but rather give you some suggestions on ways to keep strong throughout your chosen diet. Diets are never hard to begin but always difficult to maintain and herein lies the problems.
1. Stay away from the extreme
Now I know extreme diets can produce shockingly fast results but they are never going to be maintained as a life change. Large changes to the body’s intake can have detrimental effects on your physical ability and mental health. When deciding which diet to follow try to find one that is not too drastically different from what you currently consume, instead just substitute one thing at a time and slowly remove the delicious treats that are giving you that belly.
What could keep you more motivated than a small juicer staring you right in the face every time you go into the kitchen? Having healthy, easy to make snacks and smoothies are a great way to stay on top of a diet.
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3. Allow for some minimal cheating
Unless you are a robot, you are going to succumb to cravings and habit spikes. This is completely normal as it is your bodies way of try to deal with the shock of a new dietary system. There are two ways to deal with a craving, either by ignoring it or giving in to it. Both can work if implemented properly and won’t have any real negative effect on your diet. By choosing to ignore it, you will soon come to realise that the initial craving urge was merely triggered in that instance and that actually waiting 15 to 20 minutes will usually dissolve most of the craving. This is because your brain has had the opportunity to assess the cravings and not acted impulsively.
There is also the opposite situation in allowing your body to ‘cheat’ and give in to what it needs. Just remember that this satisfaction is an extremely short-term benefit and can have particularly negative effects if not done in moderation. Ideally, you never want to break a diet more than once in any given week. Think of a couple of slabs of chocolate or one packet of crisps, not a whole pizza and ice cream sundae for dessert.
4. Competition time
Are you known to be competitive? Well, it’s time to bring your A-game because some friendly competition can easily drive you to greater success when dieting. It is always easier to do something when you have motivation/ competition, and so has birthed the phenomena of peer to peer dieting – think about the weight watchers community, they have the determination of a bull. At the same time, your friends are challenged to get to their health goals, perhaps even syncing up together with health apps to view each other’s progress. By seeing how much or how little you are doing relative to someone else can really help you to achieve those goals.
It is also important to get on board with a diet at the same time as your significant other. Sometimes all it takes is a whiff of what your partner is eating to put you back on your old path. This suggestion also eliminates those dark temptations your other half will no doubt tempt you with ‘by accident’!
A diet done correctly should not leave you hungry. Of course, depending on your reasons for dieting you may find yourself taking on fewer calories than your body is used to. This can have detrimental effects on your mind and your goals. Drinking more water is such a key strategy when keeping off those hunger pangs. By keeping your body hydrated, you will not only perform much better but also give your body fuel for your diet.
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6. Keep your metabolic rate racing
For those who suffer from a poor metabolism, it can be a constant struggle to fight off fat storage. We all know someone who can eat as much as they like and never seem to put on a single pound of what they consume. So what can we do to improve our metabolic rate?
Try adding some caffeine to your diet. The benefit of caffeine far surpass just metabolic rate increase but as with anything moderation is key. You should avoid sugar and milk meaning, only take caffeine in the form of plain tea or coffee. Also, this trick is particularly effective for workouts, so timing your drinking habits can be highly crucial to seeing results.
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Don’t forget that your diet is only half the battle for a better body and exercise is also important for creating a balance. You should always consult a physician before putting your body through any rigorous training program or dieting plans.