As summer approaches the media becomes saturated with diet articles promising rapid weight loss. And once you’ve booked a holiday by the sea you might join the thousands of people who follow these crazy diets in a bid to try to crash your way to a ‘beach-worthy body’. But all research about low-calorie diets says the same things:
- You lose more muscle than fat so your BMI is no better
- You become fatigued and less able to concentrate for every day activity
- Your body goes into starvation mode and so it works more efficiently with the calories you give it
- When you return to a normal eating pattern most people return to their original weight and many end up heavier than they started
The problem is the focus is all wrong. Instead of worrying about what we look like on the outside, if we shift our perspective to how we feel on the inside we can create a body we are proud of whatever its size. One we are proud to parade on the beach and one that enables us to enjoy a summer of activities rather than one that is too tired to venture off the beach towel.
In short it’s time to get a ‘Beach Volleyball Body’.
Shift Your Attitude to Shift Your Weight
Long term body confidence comes from how you measure up in your head, not your clothes. So step one is to find a way to learn to love every inch of your body.
Try this simple technique:
- Create a mantra about yourself that celebrates something you really love about yourself and repeat it 10 times every morning
- Create a mantra about yourself that celebrates something you need to learn to love about yourself and repeat it 10 times every evening
You may feel silly at first but chanting out loud to your mirror image, once you get over the embarrassment, is both liberating and motivating. Keep your mantras in your head and repeat them internally during the day when you’re on the bus, on the treadmill or chopping veg.
As you practise the chants other ideas for mantras will come to you so add them in too.
Numerous research has found practices like chanting can genuinely shift attitudes and that people with more positive self-images stick to diet and exercise programmes for longer so it’s definitely worth a try.
Set Realistic Goals
Be honest about how much weight you want to lose, how much weight you should lose and in what timeframe you should aim to lose it.
As a rule of thumb you shouldn’t be aiming to shed more than 2lbs per week and if you have got a lot to lose you’ll find that you will lose weight for a few weeks, then plateau, then start losing weight again.
In addition to diet you should incorporate exercise which will mean the body builds muscle mass and so may weigh more when it measures less.
Most importantly don’t wait one week before you board the plane to start, begin today even if you drop your morning coffee and biscuit every day, you’ll be amazed the difference that makes in a matter of weeks.
Choose a Diet You Like and Exercise You Enjoy
There’s nothing worse than depriving yourself of food you love or making yourself undertake a form of exercise you hate, so take your time to find the regime that works for you.
You don’t have to give up chocolate, just cut down how much you eat. You don’t have to run a marathon, a good walk and talk with a friend might suit you better.
Don’t feel obliged to stick rigidly to any diet, just cut down on the calories and increase how much you move and the weight loss will happen.
Remember sensible eating and manageable exercise is what works for the long term.
Try Heavy Weights
If you are happy to use weights we’d recommend you do some high-level resistance work because it’s a great calorie burner. Kettlebells are a great way to achieve muscle tone and use up energy as many of the exercises are dynamic. Take a look at some of our kettlebell training exercises on this page if you need inspiration and help.
Working with heavy weights is hugely beneficial, so if you struggle at about the 12th rep you’ve got the weights about right. This kind of training – anaerobic training – depletes your chemical energy reserves. So when you’ve finished a heavy weight session even moderate activity will access your stored energy supplies (body fat) to a greater extent than if you haven’t trained with weights.
Try High-Intensity Exercises
Another great calorie burner are the High-Intensity Exercises like burpees, power squats and quick knee lifts. If those exercises don’t appeal you can apply the same principle on an exercise bike by cycling at speed or on a treadmill by sprinting.
The onus here is on working as hard as you can for short spurts with small rests and going again. If you can manage a half-hour programme once a week along with other exercise you’ll feel fitter and better than ever before.
Trade Inactivity for Activity
We all know we’re more sedentary than we should be and less active than we could be. So simple measures like leaving the car and walking, taking the stairs not the lift and standing when on the phone rather than sitting can add up to a high number of calories every day.
Very subtly this not only uses up energy it also gradually builds fitness and endurance which you will notice when you exercise at a higher intensity and so even more calories will be consumed.
Think Beach Volleyball, Not Beach Potato
Just by blending a couple of the above suggestions into your lifestyle you’ll feel better about how you look, look better than you did, and have created an appetite to do more than lounge and pose on the beach.
That’s why we say aim for a beach volleyball body, not a beach potato body this summer. And remember to protect that fantastic physique with sunblock!