With summer right around the corner, it is a good time to start thinking about getting your body ready to show off in that sexy bathing suit.
If you've been a little less than strict about your diet lately and have spent more time on the couch than the treadmill, don't fear - by taking steps now you can ensure you are turning heads wherever you go in about 2 months time. All it's going to take is a little dedication on your part now, some proper planning and some good workout sessions.
Below you will find an 8-week summer diet plan where you will progress through it, slowly becoming stricter with yourself so as to ease into it and prevent the chances you throw in the towel prematurely.
Follow along, giving yourself non-food rewards after each completed week and before you know it you will be enjoying the results of your behaviour change.
Remove all refined carbohydrates from your diet.
The big issue with refined carbohydrates is not only that they add additional carbohydrates and calories, but that they tend to do very bad things to your blood sugar. Each time you put these substances into your body you are literally turning off your 'fat burning furnace'.
When you keep feeding yourself small amounts during the day you may think you are doing a good thing by limiting portion control and thus controlling calories, however in all reality you are still releasing hormones in a response to this substance, which is then what affects your fat loss progress.
With circulating insulin in the blood stream (the hormone released specifically), your body will switch right off of fat burning mode and start burning (and potentially storing) those carbohydrates.
Furthermore, these types of foods also tend to make you crave more so you will end up in an ongoing cycle that is hard to break. You may start with only a small bowl of rice chips but then work your way through half your pantry before the night is over. Avoid this altogether by simply focusing on natural carbohydrates to begin with.
Drink more water.
This week the main focus you are going to have is to start trying to consume more water. You've probably heard it before, as almost everyone in this world has, but if you are dieting it is really very important that you do this.
The first reason being that making sure you are well hydrated will reduce your chances of eating when you aren't really hungry. Mistaking hunger for thirst while trying to reduce your calorie intake is not going to be helpful at all.
Secondly, drinking larger volumes of water will help to ensure that you aren't retaining any excess sodium, which can be a significant contributor to weight gain, particularly among females. This will also help for general health sake as well, aiding in the reduction of blood pressure due to high sodium.
Finally, with disregard for dieting, more water is a very beneficial thing, simply because it helps to keep your skin clear, your immune system working, your concentration levels high and your body clean of toxins.
Eat a small amount of peanuts at every meal.
One of the best possible snacks that you can consume, contrary to what so many people think, is a small amount of nuts. Sure these are one of the most calorie dense foods you can consume, but the fat in them is both the heart healthy type of fat, and will help to control your blood sugar levels, helping you feel satisfied for a longer period of time and reducing the chances that you overeat later in the day.
For example, say you have a choice between eating an apple or a 1/4 cup of nuts. Most people will think the apple would be a better choice because if you've ever measured out a 1/4 cup of nuts, it isn't very much.
Both choices have about 100 calories but the nuts are primarily composted of fat while the apple is composed of carbohydrates in the form of natural sugar and fibre. The apple may make you feel temporarily more satisfied since it is a higher volume of food in your stomach but after digestion takes place, the nuts are going to keep hunger levels controlled for a longer duration.
The trick with this method is having your snack before you get to the point of being ravenous so that you don't need the volume of food to make you feel full. Instead, by the time the food has been released into your system hunger may be starting to become noticeable but will then be taken care of by this snack.
Double up on your vegetables while removing starchy carbohydrates.
When dieting, fiber is a very useful thing for you as it provides bulk in the gut and helps to keep you regular. You will find that as calories get lower and lower, a necessary thing in order to get fat loss moving, you will likely also start dealing with issues of hunger pains.
Adding more fiber rich food to your diet will help to deal with this issue as again, it provides a lot of bulk. Just like the apple we talked about previously only this time, we are dealing with vegetables rather than fruit. Since vegetables don't have near the amount of natural sugar, they are much lower in calories thus won't put any significant dent in your total calorie intake for the day.
Most people, unless you are eating an absolute boatload of vegetables, can eat these without paying much attention to the measurements or calorie value. The one exception is the vegetables of corn, peas and carrots as these are higher in starch and should be treated more as being in the same category as potatoes, breads and pastas.
Tune in to the next edition of this diet where we will take you from the halfway point to the day of baring your hot new, beach-ready body.