SHAPING UP: Breaking bad habits and getting into shape for the upcoming summer
If you’ve gained weight or picked up bad eating habits over the last 14 months, it’s not too late to get in shape in time for summer!
When the UK went into lockdown in March last year many people started bingeing on unhealthy, feelgood foods or hitting the booze to try to lift their mood and drown out the negative thoughts.
If you found yourself in this situation, I don’t blame you - it’s been a very challenging year!
However, once you’ve developed those habits and you continuously get cravings for junk foods and alcohol it can be hard to break.The good news is, with the tips below, you can break those habits quite quickly and improve your health and fitness in time for summer:
DRINK MORE WATER
Water is the best way of drowning your cravings, especially those telling you that you need “salty snacks”.
Dehydration is a major craving contributor, so by ensuring you are taking on enough water, you’re sure to cut the cravings. Even if you’re well hydrated, we can still misinterpret the need for water with a need for food (in particular the foods we shouldn’t be having!)
SNACK MORE! (BUT AT THE RIGHT TIME)
You can snack more and lose weight. The secret is getting your snacks and the timings of these right. Avocados and nuts are high in healthy fats and make the perfect mid-morning snack. Grapefruit is renowned for its craving curbing powers and makes a great mid-afternoon replacement for that packet of crisps or raid of the biscuit tin.
By providing your body with healthy, nutritious snacks before the cravings hit you’re proactively keeping them at bay. What’s more, you’re actively providing your body with some of the key nutrients it needs to function at its best.
So, get into the habit of healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacking!
AVOID REFINED FOODS
White bread, pasta and sugar have become household essentials, but these refined foods are also some of the worst offenders when it comes to cravings.
One of the best ways to aid any diet is to say goodbye to refined food, but going cold turkey is often hard. One of the best ways to break the cycle is to swap the refined versions for their wholegrain alternatives.
Ignore the people who say exercise makes them hungrier; studies have shown one of the best appetite busters is a cardio workout.
It’s true exercise does cause a ghrelin spike, (the hormone responsible for increased appetite), but this spike then causes a cascade of other hormones which cause your appetite to be reduced.
Countless studies have proved that by doing just 20 minutes of exercise before a meal results in women eating less than they would if they did nothing.
It’s worth remembering that, “one hour a day keeps the cravings away”, or so the studies show.
The secret behind chewing gum is that it fools the brain into thinking you’re eating. Your brain then slows down the production of ghrelin, suppressing your appetite.
BRUSH YOU TEETH
As simple as it might sound, brushing your teeth is one of the most simple and effective ways of keeping cravings at bay because everything tastes bad after cleaning your teeth and more importantly, after you’ve brushed, flossed and then used mouthwash the last thing you will want is to dirty your mouth by snacking on a chocolate bar or fizzy drink.
So, keep a toothbrush and mini-tube of toothpaste close at hand and when you feel those cravings with a really good clean of your teeth!