We’ve all been there… You go to slip into your slinky party dress only to find it’s mysteriously shrunk. What do you do? Wear magic knickers and breathe in? Swap it for something you don’t like? Go panic-shopping for a new dress?
Scrap that. The sensible option is to opt for a fat-busting eating routine. It doesn’t have to be radical – no starving yourself, no weird shakes and no 10K runs before breakfast. Instead, we’re talking focused, healthy eating and exercise for instant body confidence.
Follow these rules for the best results!
Long gaps between meals messes with your blood sugar which can lead to sugar cravings and stress eating. It can also mean that when you do eat, you’re so hungry you stuff yourself! Large meals can lead to food fermentation, creating gas and expanding your waistline. Aim for the ‘little and often’ approach.
Wheat foods tend to be high in calories (pizza, bread, biscuit, cakes…) so avoiding it can really save your butt! It’s also a common source of intolerance reactions which can cause bloating, so removing it may help you look and feel slimmer quickly, as well as reduce skin redness and breakouts. On this plan you should avoid these foods:
- Bread (except 100% rye)
- Cakes, pastries and biscuits
- Couscous and bulgar
- Breakfast cereals (except porridge and puffed brown rice)
Say no to beans
Beans and lentils are brilliant, healthy foods, but they have a major downside – they tend to create a lot of gas! So, if you want to look and feel slimmer, you should completely avoid these foods:
- Chickpeas or houmous
- Kidney, cannellini, butter or flageolet beans
Vary your dairy
Most dairy foods are made from cow’s milk, a known intolerance trigger in many people. Cow dairy foods can also be high in fat, and therefore calories. The more often you eat something, the more likely you are to become intolerant to it, so it pays to vary your dairy. Switch to goat’s or sheep’s dairy, or soya or nut milks.
Salad with everything
Vegetables and salad are low in calories, so this is where you can bulk up your meals. However, eating too much can create bloating, so watch your portion size. Aim for a fist-size serve of salad or veggies with every meal. Steer clear of white potatoes, turnip, swede, parsnip or beetroot.
Focus on lean protein
Lean protein helps you feel full so it should be the cornerstone of any weight-loss plan. A low-protein diet is also the most common cause of poor-quality hair, as hair is made from the protein keratin. Eating more protein can help you lose weight and get your hair in great shape for the party season – win-win! You should aim to eat protein with every meal if you can. Here are some examples of lean protein that may take your liking:
- 100g Greek 0% fat yoghurt
- 100ml skimmed milk
- 2 organic eggs
- 1 skinless chicken/turkey breast or 100g turkey mince
- 100g lean pork fillet
- 3 rashers unsmoked back bacon
- 100g white fish, such as cod, haddock or pollock
- 100g oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel
- 100g tofu or Quorn
Eat some grains
When you’re exercising this week, it’s important that you have some fuel in the tank. A small amount of slow-release carbs from non-wheat sources will give you the get-up-and-go you need for the gym.
Here are some ways to add grains to your diet:
- 1 slice rye bread or 2 rye crispbreads (Ryvita)
- 1 teacup cooked porridge oats or 3 oatcakes
- 1 teacup cooked brown rice or quinoa
Alcohol is fattening and bad for your skin, so give it a miss during the week if you’re trying to slim down. Instead, drink lots of water, herbal teas or green tea.
Eat good fats
Boosting essential fats is a fast way to moisturise skin from the inside out. Just a few days of adding extra omega-3 and 6 to your diet will really show in your skin. Plus, you need some fat to burn fat! The easiest way to add good fats to your daily menu is to drizzle oils over salad, eat oily fish or snack on nuts and seeds. Aim for one serving a day from the following list:
- 1tbsp olive, linseed, walnut or rapeseed oil
- ½ avocado
- 50g oily fish
- 2tbsp pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- 6 almonds, 6 walnut halves or 3 Brazil nuts
Go easy on fruit
Fruit is nutritious and the high antioxidant content makes it great for skin. However, it’s also high in sugar, which can stall weight loss. Choose low-sugar fruits and don’t eat them after a meal when they can sit and ferment in your stomach, creating gas. Fruit should be eaten as a snack or at breakfast, but not as a pudding. Eat up to two of these per day:
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 1 orange
- ½ grapefruit
- 2tbsp berries
- 1 slice melon