Summer means blue skies, breezy days, vacations, trips to the beach, and plenty of lighter clothes, so it’s not much of a surprise that many of us start thinking about how to overhaul our bodies ahead of this season. Woolly jumpers, coats, and thick tights have the power to conceal the flaws in our figures and areas that we feel more self-conscious about, but in summer strappy tops, swimwear and shorts mean there’s nowhere to hide. Finding the confidence to begin is often the hardest part. We distract ourselves from our goals by only focusing on what we think the hard parts will be. It’s time to flip that thinking! Focusing on the benefits to your health, mental wellbeing and body is the way forward. Shaping up for summer doesn’t have to be daunting though – these three quick hacks will mean that you can face the new season with confidence, looking and feeling you’re very best.
Hack One: Rewrite Your Diet
All elements of good health, wellbeing, and a beautiful body begin with the fuel we put into them. Yu will already know how you feel when you rely on too much caffeine, sugar and starchy, processed foods – sluggish, irritable, low-energy and with a permanent ‘brain fog’. It’s not a feeling that you are going to enjoy for making the most of your summer months. The cost to your long-term health can also be significant, from a higher risk of diabetes and some cancers to poor sleep and becoming overweight. So there are plenty of compelling reasons to choose a better diet, both aesthetic and otherwise. Sometimes this can feel easier said than done, but there are plenty of simple swaps to be made.
Try starting your day with a glass of water and fresh lemon. This helps to alkalize and detox the body, keeps you hydrated and will stop you overeating during the day. Having a glass first thing will prompt you to keep up your water levels during the rest of the day. You should also find some simple, tasty substitutions for less desirable elements in your diet. Swap out red meat for lean, grilled turkey breast, which is extremely low fat and full of mood-regulating chemicals that trigger the production of serotonin, the happy hormone. Potatoes can be swapped out for nutritious sweet potatoes, and pasta and rice for healthier grains with protein, such as quinoa or vegetable-based alternatives such as courgette, squash noodles or cauliflower rice. In this way, you can still enjoy your favourite meals while upping the nutrients and lowering the calorie count. Try to ‘eat the rainbow’ each day as well – selecting vegetables, fruit and ‘superfoods’ in all different colours. This means your body will get access to many different vitamins and minerals in the course of a day. Making sure a good proportion of each meal is made up of vegetables can also help. So maybe try a Thai Green Curry with steamed spinach rather than starchy white rice. Always make sure that you eat breakfast too – if you don’t like a big meal first thing, then a smoothie is ideal as it provides a hit of nutrients in an easy form. Eating breakfast makes it far easier to reduce those mid-morning sugar cravings and helps to control blood sugar levels, meaning that you are less likely to overeat for the rest of the day. You do need to plan for some ‘treat days’ to help with sustaining motivation as well. Allow yourself a small number of your favorite foods – just not too much and not every day. This can actually help you to stay on track with your diet and keep it going in the long term.
Hack Two: Fat Burning Boosts
Diet is the main influence on your weight – but to get that summer body of your dreams, you will also need to combine cardio and toning exercises for maximum impact. The best time to exercise is first thing in the morning – this fires up the body’s metabolism for the rest of the day and means that you burn more calories over all. Getting up for a run half an hour earlier than usual can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing as well as your health, and is not much of a time sacrifice. Following a Couch to 5k programme is a brilliant way to get started if you haven’t run before. You could also consider getting some exercise equipment to use at home, such as a stationary bike or a folding cross-trainer. If you don’t have space, there are plenty of routines you can follow at home that don’t need any equipment. Playlist some HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) or Pilates workouts to get waistlines trimmed and muscles toned. This will give you the confidence to hit the beach on your travels and feel amazing. Having some comfortable and stylish workout gear can also be a great boost to get you exercising if you don’t feel like it. The athleisure trend has meant that many designers are branching out into sportswear and the upcoming Victoria Beckham collaboration with Reebok, and there’s not a shortage of cute sports clothes in your favourite stores these days. Ensuring that you have the correct footwear can also keep you going – choose the right trainers for your activity, as running will require very different shoes from yoga.
Hack 3: Pay Attention to Posture
It’s such a small detail, but correcting your posture can have a big impact on the way that you look and feel. Try standing up straight with your feet together – imagine a threat running from the top of your head, pulling your head upwards. Tuck in your bottom slightly, draw in your abdominal muscles and slightly squeeze your shoulder blades together. This subtle trick can actually have a big impact and make you look a few pounds lighter without even trying. It also helps to relieve back pain, meaning you’ll feel better instantly.