HC Leeds guide to getting in shape for summer
Summer is just around the corner and, of course, we all want the perfect beach body for our holiday. It’s just that it’s so hard to get motivated to get out of bed early to exercise, and getting a take-away always seems so much easier and tastier than a healthy home-cooked meal. Not to mention you’re so snowed under with coursework and revision that you’re not sure where running and cooking will fit into your day. We’re all in the same boat so here are some tips to get you on track to getting in shape.
1.Plan your meals.
At the weekend take some time off from studying to plan what you’ll eat for each meal for the next week. Then go shopping and buy all of the ingredients you’ll need for a healthy week. If you’ve planned what to eat and have all of the ingredients at home you’ll be much less likely to be tempted by an unhealthy alternative.
2. Buy some healthy snacks.
If you’re anything like me you’ll be snacking constantly when you’re trying to get on with uni work. Buy healthy snacks like nuts or fruit to keep you away from the chocolate and crisps.
3. Take a packed lunch.
If you’re going to be eating lunch at uni or in the library it will be both cheaper and healthier to take a packed lunch. Take a sandwich, salad or pasta along with some healthy snacks to avoid being tempted into buying unhealthy meals. Food that you’ve prepared at home is always much healthier than anything available in shops, cafés or restaurants.
4. Choose your carbohydrates carefully
You shouldn’t cut out carbs completely, but one easy tip to start eating healthier is to switch your usual bread, rice and pasta for brown instead of white, and your usual potatoes for sweet potatoes.
5. Cycle your carbs
Eating too many carbohydrates will lead to gaining weight. However, it is necessary to have some to give you energy throughout the day. The trick is to plan your carbohydrates around what you’ll be doing. If you’re going to be fairly stationary throughout the morning you may opt for a carb- free breakfast. On the other hand, if you’re planning on going to the gym then you’ll need some healthy carbohydrates. Only have carbs when you’ll actually need the energy, and try to only have them with two meals per day.
6. Plan your day.
It may seem as though you don’t have the time to exercise, but if you plan your day with some scheduled breaks between doing work you should be able to find an hour to go for a run or pop to the gym. It doesn’t have to be a long workout- 30 minutes can be enough if you give it your all. You can work out at home too- do squats whilst you’re brushing your teeth, or spare two minutes to do some sit ups first thing in the morning. Even just doing 20 squats and 20 crunches every night is much better than doing nothing.
7. Tea and coffee
If you’re anything like me you’ll be sipping coffee all day to give you the energy to revise. Whether or not coffee is good for weight loss is a somewhat controversial issue, but it suppresses your appetite, burns fat, speeds up your metabolism and gives you energy for working out, so drinking a few cups a day is no bad thing as long as they’re not loaded with sugar. Drinking different types of tea can also assist with weight loss, for example green tea boosts metabolism and peppermint tea aids digestion.
8. Fat-burning foods
Certain foods have fat-burning properties so substituting them into your usual diet is a very simple way to encourage fat loss. Examples of fat-burning foods are: grapefruit, watermelon, hot peppers, Greek yoghurt, eggs and porridge.
9. Treats are ok!
It’s ok to occasionally have a bit of chocolate or a pizza, as long as it’s not too often. Allowing yourself occasional treats will help to keep you on track and you’ll be more likely to stick to a healthy diet and less likely to binge. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you have one unhealthy meal then your healthy day is ruined and you may as well eat more unhealthy food. Instead, make an effort to ensure that the rest of your day is extra healthy to make up for it and that one treat won’t even matter.
10. Eat before you get too hungry
When you start to feel hungry grab a snack or start to prepare a meal straight away. The hungrier you allow yourself to get, the more tempted you’ll be to opt for unhealthy options. At the point where you’re just starting to feel hungry you’ll be happier to choose something healthy.
11. Don’t reward yourself with food.
It can be tempting to treat yourself to a take away or a bag of sweets when you’ve finished an assignment or an exam. But rewarding yourself with food is for dogs. Instead, buy yourself a small present like a new nail varnish or a scented candle.
Hopefully these tips will help you on your quest for a slimmer, more toned summer body. But whether you reach your targets or not, wear your bikini with confidence and you’ll look great.