Bikini season is just around the corner and now is the time to get your diet right so you can look your best on the beach! Here are some tips to get you going:
v Eat small meals throughout the day
Yes, you’ve heard it before, but it cannot be emphasized enough that eating 5 to 6 small meals a day will keep your hunger levels at bay, your energy levels up, your metabolism stoked and your training fuelled. Meals should be spaced between 2.5 and 3 hours apart. Similarly, do not skip any meals, as this will cause your metabolic rate to slow down and your body to be more likely to store fat.
v Drink water
Eight glasses of water per day is truly essential to hydrate the body and get you the results you crave.
v Avoid anything processed or refined
Processed and refined foods (e.g. ready-made meals and pre-packaged foods) are high in artificial colourants, preservatives and flavourants, low in nutritional value and often are higher in saturated and trans fats and/or have a high GI. Instead choose more natural, unprocessed foods (e.g. fresh veggies rather than tinned).
v Don’t eliminate any food group
As tempting as it may be to cut out carbs totally from one’s diet, do bear in mind that carbohydrates are necessary for correct energy levels and removing carbs from one’s diet is likely to affect one’s ability to perform well in training. Similarly, fat is also essential in one’s diet and has many important roles in the body (e.g. anti-inflammatory properties and aids fat-soluble vitamin absorption). It should therefore also not be eliminated from the diet. Rather the right kinds of fats (i.e. unsaturated fats) should be consumed.
v Keep a food diary
Recording what you eat, at what times you eat and even how you feel emotionally at those times can help you keep on track, identify bad food habits (e.g. emotional eating) and will make you think twice before giving in to that unhealthy snack.
v Cheat Meals have a place
Life’s too short to never indulge; however having an entire Cheat Day can make it difficult to get back on track. Rather plan one or two Cheat Meals where you allow yourself to eat some of the foods that you’ve been craving. However, even then don’t go completely overboard and rather still keep it within the realms of healthy eating. For example, if you have a burger for your Cheat Meal, then have it with a side salad rather than chips.
Lila Bruk is a registered dietician, nutritional consultant and freelance health journalist.
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