Ok, so we've all done it right? Taken a slutty 'Standing-in-the-Mirror-in-my-Bikini-to-see-how-I-Look-so-I-don't-Inflict-my-Bodily-Hideous-ness-to-the-Poor-Unsuspecting-Public' photo... right? Oh, just me then? I think not, but I'm not going to labor the matter.
So despite the fact that my mom went mad when I uploaded this to facebook as she automatically assumed I'd be signing up for some double-page spread in Zoo magazine within the hour (they never called (!)) I actually felt great about my body for the first time in ages. Sure, there's a bit of a curve to my waist, my arms could do with some work and I can often attract crickets with the sound of my thighs chafing together... what was my point again??? Oh, yeah, I love my body :D
You know, my first tip to 'Getting Healthy' (which many a woman use as a euphemism for 'Getting Thin') is to have a healthy relationship with food. So many people eat when they are sad, or bored, or even horny (post-coital kebab anyone?) But it shouldn't be that way. Similarly, it's not natural for a human to wait for meal times. You think that cavewomen hollered at their offspring, '*grunt groan moan* dinner. 6.30pm. *grunt groan moan.*' No. No, they didn't. This is not to say that we should allow ourselves to go hungry either, because that just leads to accidental bingeing, indigestion, and more importantly, excess fat.
So what am I saying? I'm saying that grazing throughout the day worked the best for me. Each food group is part of a balanced diet, which means that we really shouldn't be depriving ourselves of anything. If you go three days on a diet without a bite of chocolate or bread or something else which you might love eating but isn't technically known as 'Good for You', your body will crave it, again, making it more likely that you will over-eat on it and get that horrible guilty sickness which gurgles in the pit of your stomach forcing you to starve yourself for the next three days... again, ridiculously unhealthy. So my third tip, after having a healthy relationship with food and grazing throughout the day, is that moderation is key. Treat yourself to a bite-sized Kit Kat, or a slice of brown bread with fresh jam. It's not going to kill you and in the long-run will teach you how not to go overboard with the more calorific food items.
What's next? Well, tip number four is simple, make sure you eat at least five portions
of fruit and veg a day. Duh. It sounds like a cliche, but it really works in terms of giving you enough sugar to keep you going for the day, enough sweetness to fight off those Starburst cravings. It genuinely makes you feel more energetic, have nicer skin and just generally be a happier person. What's not to love? I always said during my pre-summer diet, 'You can have a treat when you've had all your portions of fruit and veg for the day and if your body still wants it at that stage.' Worked for me! And it doesn't matter whether the fruit is fresh, dry or tinned, but if it is tinned, go for the 'In juice' variety rather than 'In syrup' as those ones can be so much worse for you than you'd originally anticipated.
Tip 5: H2O. Our body is made up of at least 70% water, so it's not exactly an outrageous idea that if we don't drink enough then our bodies will suffer. They say that we should have about 8 glasses of water a day, but I tried not to think of it like that as everyone is different, plus it's not really healthy to get to 1am and realize you only had five glasses so you need to down another three before bed. This can actually lead to drowning. The way I did it was to have a bottle at my side at all times and take frequent sips throughout the day, filling up whenever necessary. I had way less headaches than usual, my skin massively improved and I pretty much never felt hungry. Result!
As for tip number six, it really is a case of understanding food and not fearing it. Atkins hype has convinced us to believe that carbs are the enemy. And yet carbohydrates are one of the biggest sources of energy in food, allowing us to push our bodies to the limits during exercise, without them we don't get a good workout and most of the time we do spend exercising is wasted. One of my rules is to try and avoid carbs after 4pm (I'm likely to have eaten them and already exercised them off by then, so I don't end up sleeping on a belly full of carbs) and the other is to stick to wholewheat, wholegrain or just anything 'brown' if I can help it. These are especially good for us.
Tip number seven is kind of a personal one for me... Don't eat too much cheese. Actually, I guess it could work for dairy in general really apart from live yogurt and low-fat milk... but I think it's for the best that these are taken in moderation and usually further towards the beginning off the day. Cheese is my favorite food ever, but I couldn't quite resist having a small chunk every day. But then as my Mom would say, everything is fine in moderation!
Avoiding sauces was a difficult one for number eight. Have you any idea how much sugar is in a spoonful of ketchup? Lots. That's how much. Salad dressings are the same and some stir-fry and pasta sauces have hidden calories too.
Now, everyone is going to hate number nine... yes, it's that dirty 'e' word... EXERCISE.
It's grim and I hate it. It makes me sweaty and out of breath and have a stitch. And yet, there is no
way on God's earth that someone who is looking to get into shape can do so, without committing themselves to this absolute torture. Some ways of doing it are easier than others. For example, I was putting my iTunes of with a half hour playlist of upbeat songs, then dancing my butt off really energetically to it. Even if you can't dance, just jump up and down or run about the room like a loon for half an hour. This is cardio, and it works. Trust me. As for toning up, it's simple. Just get in 20 press-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges, and about 20 breaths of plank and you'll be fit in no time :)
Honestly, I know it sounds dull and I would never have believed it myself but it's true; a balanced diet and frequent exercise ACTUALLY works. Outrageous, I know...
Now I just need to follow my own advice and get on a post-Orlando diet... mmm... I'll start next week. NOT.
Thanks for reading