Experts from Slimming World have shared their best tips for losing weight ahead of the summer – here are five easy hacks for people to follow
Image: Getty Images)
Summer is around the corner, and with the sun comes those feelings of wanting to look and feel our best.
There are several kinds of different diets and workout routines around to try, which can be very overwhelming.
We’d also like to point out that we know you will look great no matter what size you are, but slimming down is good for our health and these tips may be useful for that too.
Spring clean your habits
Future Publishing via Getty Images)
We’re all creatures of habit and having a routine can be a lifesaver when you’re busy – you’re more likely to exercise regularly if you do it at the same time every week, while having a set day for batch cooking can really help you plan for the week ahead.
However, research from the University of Hertfordshire has found that when routines get overly rigid, they can act like webs, making it hard to change a habit even if we know it’s not helpful.
Having a spring clean of your habits can help you go after your weight loss goals with renewed focus.
Carolyn Pallister, nutrition and health policy manager at Slimming World, says: “At Slimming World we’ve got a deep understanding of the psychology behind successful weight loss, and our groups are all about getting support to build healthy new habits around food and activity. It’s so much easier to achieve when you have the support of a group of like-minded people who care about your success.”
Cut out the booze
There’s nothing nicer than sitting outdoors on a sunny spring afternoon enjoying a drink with friends, yet alcohol can be a real obstacle if you’re trying to lose weight.
As well as the calories in alcohol, which are often higher than we realise (one large glass of wine has as many calories as a jam doughnut!), Slimming World’s research into the impact of alcohol on weight revealed that having just slightly too much to drink and reaching our ‘tipping point’ can lead us into drinking and eating far more than we intended, and as a result can impact hugely on our weight.
The good news is that by making small changes to your drinking habits, you can still enjoy alcohol in moderation and manage your ‘tipping point’ and your weight loss.
Carolyn pointed out: “Interspersing alcoholic drinks with soft drinks, adding soda water to wine to make a spritzer, switching to slimline mixers, or choosing a low-calorie lager, can all make a big difference.”
Set yourself a goal
Research shows that if you set yourself a goal you’re more likely to achieve it – and the more ambitious the better.
A study of 24,000 slimmers by Slimming World found that slimmers who set an ambitious dream target weight lost almost twice as much weight as those who aimed for a more modest amount.
“Setting an ambitious target can help you visualise what you’re capable of,” says Slimming World’s head of research and scientific affairs Dr Jacquie Lavin.
She also recommends setting ‘mini targets’ which Slimming World members are encouraged to do each week, whether it’s to lose a couple of pounds, go for a lunchtime walk or cook with new ingredients.
“Your big goal is your destination, mini targets are milestones along the way. Every time you achieve one it will give you a sense of achievement and motivate you on to the next step.”
Change up what you eat in the kitchen
Discover your inner Jamie Oliver and cook meals from scratch with healthy seasonal ingredients like asparagus, spring greens and new potatoes, or dig out the barbecue and get grilling lean meat, fish and veg.
And remember, losing weight doesn’t have to mean going hungry. A study by the University of Leeds found that eating a diet based around low energy dense foods – foods that contain fewer calories per gram such as fresh fruit and veg, lean meat and poultry, pasta, rice and grains – is more effective for weight loss than traditional calorie counting.
In fact, a group of women who followed Slimming World’s low energy dense eating plan for 14 weeks lost over 12lb compared to just over 7lb in a group using a calorie-counting diet plan. You can find deliciously filling recipe ideas based on foods low in energy density at slimmingworld.co.uk.
Get fresh air
Richard Baker/Getty Images)
Make the most of longer days and warmer weather and head out for some fresh-air fitness.
A study from the University of Exeter shows that compared with indoor workouts, exercising in a natural environment is associated with greater feelings of happiness and well-being, as well as increased energy levels.
Outdoor exercisers also report greater enjoyment and satisfaction from their workouts and feel more inclined to keep it up, plus you’ll be boosting your immune system and topping up your vitamin D levels.
Whether you’re a complete exercise beginner or already a keep fit fan, there are a whole range of activities you can enjoy outdoors this spring from walking the dog to family bike rides and Park Runs.