It’s that time of year again when the media bombards us with images of the celebs sporting the ‘perfect bikini body’ and every second magazine article seems to be encouraging us to ‘Spring into Summer’ with the latest workout tips and weight loss plans.
Warm weather and longer days certainly should give all of us the motivation we need to get more exercise and eat healthily. But, unfortunately, for many of us the summer season is fraught with risks which could destabilise the resolve of the most body-conscious amongst us. Read on to discover how to avoid the hidden traps which could lead to weight gain, stress and ill health…..
What could be healthier than some delicious grilled food accompanied by a tasty salad? If only it were that simple. Research from Weight Watchers reveals the average Brit consumes a shocking 3,200 calories at each barbecue they go to, with a third consuming triple their normal amount of food every time they dine outdoors. So, before loading up your plate you might want to consider some BBQ staples that are best avoided or strictly limited. For example, just one tablespoon full of mayonnaise contains a whopping 90 calories and 10 g of total fat, which is 15.4 percent of your daily recommended intake. Salad dressings and ketchup can be similarly calorie laden containing lots of oil and sugar. Burger buns can vary greatly in terms of their calorie content with the worst offenders containing high sugar and fat content.
TIP: Swap mayo and ketchup for toppings such as mustard or salsa. Consider swapping the bun for a wholegrain wrap if available or take your own wrap. Watch your portions and resist the temptation to eat whatever is left on the barbecue when you are already full.
The thought of hitting the beach may prompt many to pursue a celeb style fad eating plan in a bid to lose pounds quickly and achieve that dream body. The reality is that these are often unhealthy, usually unachievable and generally unsustainable in the longer term resulting in further weight gain later.
TIP: The best way to lose weight (and keep it off) is to do so over a sensible period. The key is to make healthier choices, eat a nutritionally balanced diet with appropriately sized portions and be physically active. Remember: focusing on unrealistic goals can damage your self-esteem and lead to stress and even depression.
A cold alfresco beer or chilled prosecco after work may seem like a delightful reward after a long day in the office. But the fact is that once we are outdoors basking in the warmth of the sun many of us lose track of how much we are drinking. Alcohol dehydrates and interferes with your body’s ability to regulate its own temperature. Heat and sun exposure – the hallmarks of summer – amplify these effects and the dehydrating effects of alcohol combined with sweating in the sun can create a serious lack of water in your body.
TIP: Drink plenty of water and keep a track of what else you are drinking. Less is more when it comes to alcohol in warm weather as the effects are more pronounced. Try having a glass of water for every glass of alcohol.
The desire for that Hollywood bronze glow doesn’t appear to ever go out of fashion in Summer. The good news is there are hundreds of products out there designed to help you ‘fake rather than bake’ but the fact is you need to protect yourself from harmful UV ways even when it’s cloudy.
TIP: Wear a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to protect against UVB at least four-star UVA protection. Choose sunglasses with wraparound lenses or wide arms with the CE Mark and European Standard EN 1836:2005
Most of us need around eight hours sleep to function properly and be healthy. But a noisy dawn chorus, new gym routine and early sunrises can cause many of us to wake much earlier than usual in the Summer months. Higher temperatures can cause us to sweat more when we are asleep or even wake up during the night seriously impacting on the amount of shut hour we are getting which can affect our performance at work and overall health.
TIP: If you are rising earlier you need to retire earlier to ensure you are getting your full sleep quota. Prof Kevin Morgan, director of the Clinical Sleep Research Unit at Loughborough University advises having a lukewarm shower before bed and using cotton bedding instead of synthetic. Open a window in the bedroom and consider blackout blinds or a sleep mask and earplugs.
Hopefully these tips will help you achieve a healthy and enjoyable Summer.
British Dietetic Association