The ‘Oh No, I Forgot to Diet!’ Diet
By Maria Garland
You’d been planning to diet all summer. You vowed to fight the flab as you squeezed into your bikini and again wriggling into a sundress but somehow, you never got round to actually doing it, right? Well, it doesn’t matter.
Here we bring you your seven-day guide to a better body. So whether you want to shape up for a big event, or you’re just trying to lose that summer holiday bulge, your countdown starts here…
Swap your morning cuppa…
…for something different. OK, at 29 calories a time, a cup of normal tea with one sugar won’t do too much harm to your waist (if you take two sugars, you can add another 16 calories).
But if you want to get in shape fast, ditch your regular cuppa and go for a fatburning one instead. Studies show that green tea revs up your metabolism, so aim for several cups a day.
Try Tick Tock Rooibos Green Tea (pounds 1.89 for 40 bags, from supermarkets). It’s calorie and caffeine-free, organic, and has the added benefit of naturally suppressing your appetite.
Or try Dr Stuart’s Slim Plus Tea – it’s full of fennel, which reduces your appetite and boosts digestion (pounds 1.89 for 25 teabags, in supermarkets).
Or Birt & Tang Organic Osmanthus Tea. Available in supermarkets and Holland & Barrett, it speeds up metabolism (pounds 1.99 for 20 teabags).
Take a supplement
Fish oil supplements are a great way to shed pounds. A recent study from the University of South Australia found that volunteers who took them lost, on average, 4.5lbs over three months without changing their diet or exercise habits. “Fish oils are great for helping your body burn fat more efficiently,” says celebrity trainer James Duigan, who oversees Elle Macpherson’s regime.
We like Solgar Omega-3 700 (pounds 23.95 for 60 capsules). To help increase your fish oil intake even more, serve up salmon, mackerel and sardines at least three times a week.
Grill salmon steaks and eat with boiled new potatoes and veg, have mackerel in salads and go for sardines on wholemeal toast for breakfast.
Pass on the salt
Ditch the white grains if you want to look good. That’s the advice of weight loss experts: “When I get clients to cut salt from their diet, they instantly look slimmer and less bloated,” says trainer Patrick Murphy, who works with Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria.
Too much salt makes your body retain water, which makes you puffy around your face and stomach. Go for low-salt breakfast options such as porridge, Bitesize Shredded Wheat and low-salt muesli.
Don’t add table salt to your food or cooking, avoid salty snacks such as crisps and go easy on processed sauces which are often packed with salt.
As a guide, avoid foods that contain more than 0.5g of sodium per 100g on the label (sodium is just another way of describing the salt content). The fresher your food, the less salt it’s likely to contain. And be very careful about takeaways – Chinese food, in particular, is loaded with salt because of the sauces.
Like salt, sugar is a diet baddie. Even though sugary foods – such as boiled sweets and mousses – are often labelled “low-fat”, they’re incredibly high in calories.
And if you don’t work off the calories by exercising, that sugar gets stored as fat – usually around your stomach and waist.
Sugar also increases your hunger. So ditch the sugar in your tea, your daily can of fizzy drink and your nightly handful of Haribos.
“Eat low-sugar snacks instead such as chopped veg or oatcakes with hummus,” says nutritionist Carina Norris.
“They’re much higher in fibre, so they’ll keep you fuller for longer and will aid your digestion, which helps to reduce bloating.”
Alcohol is practically pure sugar, so give that a miss, too.
“If you regularly drink – even a small glass of wine a night – you’ll notice the difference after giving it up for a week,” says Carina.
“At 100 calories a glass, it’s the equivalent of giving up a biscuit.”
Push the bloat out!
Hollywood stars getting ready for the red carpet eat lots of asparagus for its anti-bloating qualities.
Bake or grill a handful and have them on the side of your dinner instead of potatoes – they’re low in calories, so they help your diet, too.
Melon and celery are also good for de-bloating so tuck into melon after your evening meal (add some probiotic yoghurt, which will help keep your stomach flat) and snack on sticks of celery.
It’s also worth remembering that smoking can cause bloating – it causes you to swallow air – so cutting down is a good idea.
Two days before your big event is the ideal time to slap on the fake tan.
Applying it is the easiest way to look slimmer without cutting calories, as a bronzed glow automatically makes you look as though you’ve lost weight when you haven’t – genius!
Try St Tropez Auto Bronzant lotion (pounds 17.50), which will give you a tan a few shades darker than your natural skin colour (it adapts to each person, rather than one colour fits all).
If you’re wary about full-on colour, try one of the gradual tanners – you apply them every day as normal body lotion, and get slightly more tanned each day.
Fake Bake does a Gradual Self-Tanner (pounds 22) or try Johnson’s Holiday Skin Body Lotion (pounds 6.99). (Fake Bake is available at Debenhams, John Lewis and House of Fraser. St Tropez stockists: 0115 983 6363).
It’s day seven and you can relax – and still lose weight! “Stress really does make you fat,” says James Duigan. “It causes hormones to be released into your body that encourage fat deposits around your waist and stomach.”
Scientists at the University of California in the US looked at a group of women and found that those with the biggest waist measurements (though not necessarily the heaviest) had the highest stress levels.
Dr Pamela Peeke, who led the study, says: “The hormones secreted during times of stress are instrumental in causing more fat to be stored, particularly around the abdomen.”
So calm down, take it slow and take a few deep breaths if you start to feel wound up – and hey presto, you’ll lose weight and look great!
Now get out there and dazzle.
Your 7-day diet plan
Pick one breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Pick one snack to have two hours after breakfast and one to have two hours after lunch. Drink two litres of still water a day, which can include the teas we mentioned. Breakfasts:
Two soft boiled eggs and a slice of wholemeal toast (no butter)
A bowl of muesli with skimmed milk and a handful of blueberries
A slice of wholemeal toast with peanut butter, and two apricots
A bowl of porridge made with skimmed milk, topped with a sliced banana and a small handful of almonds
A wholemeal pitta filled with prawns, rocket and a tablespoon of hummus
A bowl of tomato soup (check the ingredients list and avoid any containing cream), with a small wholemeal roll
A small baked potato topped with tuna and kidney beans, with a side salad
A bowl of leftover pasta from the night before – made with wholemeal penne pasta, tuna, chickpeas, chopped peppers and a tomato pasta stir-in sauce
A grilled tuna steak served with two or three boiled new potatoes and a side salad
Two small baked sweet potatoes served with hummus and a side salad
A grilled salmon steak, served with two heaped tablespoons of packet hummus and grilled vegetables (try courgettes and sliced red onions)
Tuna salad, made with salad leaves, chopped cucumber and peppers, kidney beans, canned tuna and a small wholemeal roll on the side
A large handful of sugarsnap peas dipped in low-fat hummus
Two kiwi fruits
Two oatcakes and peanut butter
A low-fat yoghurt
A small handful of mixed nuts and seeds
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