Your long-awaited summer holiday is on the horizon and to get you fully glossed a myriad of tasks have to be ticked-off – hair, nails, waxing, eyelash tint… But when it comes to making sure your tummy looks hot in your swimmies, then you need to work from the inside…
Even with only a couple of weeks to go, it’s not too late to make a difference to those wobbly bits and give yourself a confidence boost. One of the quickest ways to do this is to reduce sugar intake – in all its forms.
For starters, focus on nailing these two areas:
1. Eliminate sugary and sweet treats
Sugar really is up there with top offenders to your waist-line. It spikes your insulin levels which generally leads to rapid fat storage – so, unless you are an athlete, the chances are that much of the sugar you consume will go straight to fat on your tummy. Furthermore, it’s addictive – after the initial energy burst and ‘feel good factor’ quickly wear off, sugar leaves you hungry for more.
Eliminating sugar means avoiding both the obvious sources such as table sugar added to tea, sweets, biscuits, cakes, jams and fizzy drinks – and also being aware of less obvious sources such as low fat products, ready meals and salad dressings – many of which have sugar added to enhance the flavour. Even natural sugars will raise insulin so you will need to keep an eye on how much fruit juice and fruit you have too – with berries, kiwis, plums and peaches being less sugary options than apples, bananas and raisins, for example.
If you consider yourself to be a ‘sugar addict’, you will need to be really tough on yourself for at least five days until you feel your cravings start to subside. If you find yourself struggling, then discuss taking a sugar balancing multi-nutrient supplement with a nutritional therapist.
2. Cut back the carbs
Your body breaks down carbohydrates to sugar for fuel and, as we know, excess sugar can get stored as body fat. However, if you are ramping up your exercise regime, the more fuel your body is likely to need and some carbohydrates are pretty good sources of nutrients – so, I don’t necessarily advocate cutting out carbs completely. But if you are looking to get that stomach leaner quickly, then simply save your carb intake for the three hours immediately after exercising as this is when your body is likely to be most efficient at handling sugar.
And when you do eat carbs, make sure you go for the more nutritious wholegrain or ‘brown’ options – not the white, overly processed options which break down to sugar more quickly.
The trick is to get creative with your food choices and not to fall back on old staples like toast, cereals, sandwiches and pasta with every meal. Instead of grains, focus on making a sizeable portion of lean protein the ‘centre piece’ of each meal – for example, a fillet of fish, lean beef, chicken breast, whole-cut ham, beans and lentils or eggs – and then pack out the rest of your plate with a colourful mix of vegetables or salad.
Hungry for more? Get in touch with Sarah.
Sarah Grant – nutrition coach and owner of Gut Reaction. She is a qualified nutritional therapist, who aims to help people make sense of nutrition and work with people one-on-one to help them find a route to healthy eating that fits in with their lifestyle – and makes them feel great!
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