Wednesday 21 February 2018

Doctor's Orders: Get slimmer for summer

Follow the Doctor's Orders over the next few week for tips on weight loss. Here are some to get you started

In summer we wear a lot less: And we'd like to feel comfortable while doing that. The characters in 1969 film Last Summer show us the way
In summer we wear a lot less: And we'd like to feel comfortable while doing that. The characters in 1969 film Last Summer show us the way

Ciara Kelly

I really can't think of a better time to start getting in shape for summer than right now. One week on from gorging ourselves on copious amounts of chocolate, and with roughly eight weeks to go 'til you can be reasonably expected to have to gad about in summer clothes, there's no time like the present for getting stuck into making some changes for the better, to our lifestyles.

Two thirds of us are either overweight or obese - but even more of us than that would like to be fitter, slimmer or feel generally better when summer comes around.

In winter, woolly jumpers and general covering-up of our bodies allows us to hide our lumps and bumps, to a certain extent. But summer, with its unforgiving strappy dresses in whites, pastels and luminous colours - (Why? Why do they sell them here? I know they look amazing on Spanish people, Zara, but different strokes, eh?) - is less kind to our pasty complexions and over-stretched waist bands. In summer, we wear a lot less and would like to not feel embarrassed about it. We'd like to have body confidence - something that starting on a healthy diet and exercise regime can do for us.

Over the coming weeks, we're hoping many of you will embark on a new healthy regime - like several of our columnists - and every week for the next eight weeks, I'm going to be talking about ways to motivate yourself to keep going and giving you tips to make weight loss easier, through adopting new healthy habits, that hopefully you'll keep up into the future and long after the summer's over.

First things first though - preparation is key. Here are some key points:

* Monday is always a good day to start any new project - so let's just say tomorrow is D day. It doesn't matter if you're taking on the Operation Transformation plan, Weight Watchers, the 5-2 diet or some plan of your own making.

* The thing to do today is decide what it is you're going to be eating this week and go out today and stock up on the stuff you need. You'll fall at the first fence if you don't have the right food in the cupboards, and one thing you definitely need is plenty of fruit and veg. You'll also need healthy snacks. Snacks are vital in controlling hunger, especially when you're first losing weight and your body is adjusting to eating less. So having an apple and a few nuts in the press means you won't reach for a biscuit or a bun when you're getting peckish mid-morning or late afternoon.

So today, make a plan, do up a shopping list and head for the supermarket. Making a good start is half the battle. Stock up on what you need and get yourself mentally prepared, for kick starting summer tomorrow.

* The other thing you need to do this week is weigh yourself - every day! That way, you can see the differences that small changes make on a daily basis to your weight. It's a great motivator and prevents you from 'pulling an ostrich' on yourself and pretending you didn't notice you weren't losing weight or were putting it on!

Weighing yourself gives you a target too. A reasonable goal is to lose 2lbs a week, although it's easy enough to lose slightly more the first week. So over eight weeks of really applying yourself a weight loss of 16-18 lbs is very achievable - and that's a dress size, if not two!

* Lastly, eat breakfast every day. People who eat a good brekkie, on average, eat 80 kcals less per day than those who don't. Plus they have faster metabolisms, for boring scientific reasons I won't go into!

So good luck and let me know how you're getting on. See you all back here next week.


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