Losing and maintaining weight before and during your summer trip doesn’t have to mean crash diets and depriving yourself.
Tom Irving and Zoe Martin, nutritionists at Discount Supplements, gives us the 10 simple tricks you can do before and during your holiday to drop pounds without even realising.
If you’re struggling to shift the pounds or find it hard to stick to a diet, then trying out some quick and easy lifestyle changes ahead of your hols can actually make a big difference.
Eat something sweet for breakfast
Research by the Tel Aviv University found that those who ate something sweet with breakfast lost 37 pounds more over eight months than those on a standard low-calorie diet – a great reason not to skip the most important meal of the day.
We have all day to digest and metabolise the food we eat at breakfast time, giving us the energy we need to get through the day as well as helping to prevent cravings.
Like the TAU we advise a 600-calorie breakfast that includes proteins and carbohydrates and at least one sweet treat like pancakes, chocolate cereal or a nice pastry.
Dish up at the stove
Swapping your plate or bowl for a smaller one can help you lose pounds – but did you know that serving up straight from the stove is even better!
If you dish up at your dining table you could be piling unnecessary calories onto your plate – research at Cornell University suggests that serving your dinner next to the stove can reduce what you consume by 10% for women and 29% for men.
Small swaps make a big difference
If you are carb mad, you don’t have to give it up to enjoy it – by simply switching to healthier alternatives you can still enjoy all your favourite foods.
For example, butter has a high salt content and can be addictive, yet those who cover bread with olive oil eat 23% less bread and 16% fewer calories.
Some people swap butter for almond butter or other nut butters, but unlike olive oil this can lead to overeating. When something is healthy – or perceived as healthy – we tend to eat more of it.
Skip the ads
Besides freeing up our time and giving us more flexibility in our daily lives, being able to record and catch up on TV has another great benefit – preventing temptation.
The University of California found that looking at images of food and drink can stimulate the brain’s appetite control centre and trigger hunger, just like smelling fresh coffee or bread does.
So, do yourself a favour and fast-forward the TV commercials from now on.
Keep a strong mind and body by clenching your fist the next time you get a craving; a study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that tightened muscles appear to help you focus and resist temptation.
So what about when you are on holiday? It’s easy to let things slide and enjoy yourself at the expense of your trousers fitting on the flight home. Here are some great tips for when you are lounging by the pool:
Breakfast like a king
When faced with the hotel buffet, try to avoid having ‘a little bit of everything’ for breakfast throughout your entire stay.
Instead, choose a hearty breakfast based on protein-rich foods such as eggs, smoked salmon and lean bacon, which will help to keep you fuller for longer.
Add mushrooms and tomatoes to boost nutritional value. Fruit, plain yogurt and the nuts and seeds in muesli and granola also make healthier options.
Beware the all-inclusive offering
“Club Tropicana drinks are free…”
So you saved £££ on your holiday – but that doesn’t mean the cocktails are free in calories!
Besides carbs, protein and fat, alcohol is technically the fourth macronutrient delivering seven calories per gram – in fact, a Piña Colada can deliver roughly as many calories as a McDonald’s Big Mac meal!
On all-inclusive packages, it’s easy to knock back the cocktails; however, the sugar and alcohol are a double-whammy, causing a spike in blood sugar (and thus, appetite) as well as taxing your liver.
For every alcoholic beverage you consume, aim to drink a glass of pure water.
Besides keeping you hydrated, you’ll cut calories and alcohol if you leave a longer gap between boozing; you could even try switching to low-sugar drinks like a gin and slim.
Take a dip
In between lounging periods, try to sneak in a quick burst of cardio like taking a swim or going for a walk on the beach.
Walking on sand can help to tone calf muscles, and taking in the sights will help you forget you’re even exercising!
When eating out
From a calorie perspective, limit foods that come with a creamy sauce. Pasta Carbonara, Korma curries, lasagna and other béchamel sauce pasta dishes are examples of high-fat, calorie-dense menu choices.
For lighter, healthier alternatives, keep your eyes peeled for a tomato-based sauce, or even better, dishes that have been seasoned simply rather than cooked in sauces.
For Indian takeaways think fat, and for Chinese takeaways think sugar. Keep in mind that they’re both usually high in salt, so eat sparingly.
Beware of hidden sugars; the British interpretation of Chinese cuisine delivers sugar and MSG-packed classics like Kung Pau chicken and chicken balls smothered in sweet and sour sauce!
To limit the sugar content of your meal consider a Chow Mein or a noodle soup option like hot ‘n’ sour or egg drop.
You could also get stir-fried veg, plain or egg-fried rice and a beef and tomato dish – job done!
Finally, try to resist the temptation to have dessert every night – front load your meal by including a starter so you’ll be less likely to still be hungry by the end of your main.
Instead of a pud, opt for an after-dinner macchiato, or maybe try a soothing peppermint tea, which can help to relieve bloating and digestive discomfort.