As we head towards July, it’s official: holiday season is definitely upon us. If your summer holiday is just around the corner and you’re worrying about getting into your bikini, then the worst thing you can do is start crash dieting. Instead, don’t fear – it’s not too late to shift a couple of pounds the natural way. Here are a few easy changes that you can make to your diet that will flatten your tummy, increase your energy and get you feeling your best before you jet off.
Swap your sandwich for salad
If you try to overhaul your whole diet then you’re just going to end up feeling resentful and will probably ‘give in’ quite quickly. Instead, make one small change per day that could have a big impact. By swapping your usual lunchtime sandwich for a salad or some soup, you could save yourself around 300-400 calories per day, which could help you drop a couple of pounds before your holiday. On top of this, cutting out that daily dose of carb will help to flatten your stomach – just in time for that important bikini unveiling. By only altering your lunchtime meal, you won’t feel to deprived as you’ll know you can enjoy your breakfast and evening meal as usual.
We all know that water is good for our energy levels and skin, but it can also help in your weight loss efforts by boosting your metabolism and ridding your body of toxins. On top of this, it is thought that hunger pangs and food cravings are actually often due to thirst – so before you give into snacking, try drinking a glass of water and you might find your peckishness gone.
Add protein to each meal
You may not think that adding food to your diet will help you drop pounds, but protein helps to keep your body feeling full for longer. Try to ensure, then, that each meal contains protein so that you get the maximum benefit from eating it. Chicken, eggs and nuts are all known for their high protein levels, but check out our list of other high protein foods to add some variety to your diet.
Concentrate on your food
It’s common for many of us to eat while watching TV or at our desks working. However, research has shown that people often eat 40% more food than they actually need if they do this, as they’re concentrating on something other than their hunger levels. If you eat while not distracted then you can pay attention to when you’re full, and not just eat out of boredom or habit.
Learn about your portions
Even if you are eating healthier versions of food such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice, you could still be damaging your efforts by eating too much. Cutting down your portion sizes can be a good way to lose a little excess weight without changing your diet, so learn how much you really need to be satisfied and stick to that. It is advised that when eating pasta or rice, the portion should be around the size of a tennis ball. Bulk up your meal with vegetables or add more protein if you worry you’ll miss the extra food.
Plan your snacks
Cutting out snacks to lose weight is never a good idea, as much research has proven that our metabolism often works it best when we are eating small portions regularly. However, to make sure you’re reaching for the right thing when the snacking craving strikes, be prepared and always have some healthy snacks on you. Bring fruit to work, pre-pack small bags of nuts, or have some crackers to hand. As long as you have something ready then you should be able to resist the urge to head to the vending machine for a quick fix.