“I’m on the alcohol diet” said no one ever.
It seems to me that there is huge paradox happening our image-obsessed worlds. We all spend months talking about getting a ‘Summer Body’, literally boring ourselves with our constant chat of how we are going to diet, what exercise we are going to do, and how desperate we are to look our best for the bikini season. Then, something happens: the sun starts to shine. What do we do? We practically RUN to the pub, spend hours drinking rose over long lazy lunches and over indulge in every way possible as we savour every minute of good weather; everyone is in high spirits, we feel sociable and excited and we treat every day like a holiday. On one hand I love this – life is WAY too short to be on diets, and our sunny days are too erratic and infrequent not to make the most of them, but on the other hand it means that when the time comes to get on that flight we’ve been looking forward to for so long, we feel hungover, bloated and fat and that can be a real Debbie Downer on the start of a holiday.
So, how do we combat this to make sure we are feeling fabulous while still being able to enjoy ourselves to the max? It’s about making small changes so that you don’t feel like your making drastic decisions that are hard to stick to. Here are some of my top tips:
This seems so obvious but you would be surprised how many people don’t do this: drinking plenty of water is KEY for good skin, well-being and weight loss. Firstly, we often mistake hunger for thirst, so by drinking more throughout the day you will notice that your hunger cravings will lessen dramatically. Secondly, drinking water is the only thing that will stop you getting WATER RETENTION – a problem every woman I know complains about and the main reason for that puffy face after a night of drinking. What happens is that if your body becomes dehydrated then you start holding on to all the water in your body so your cells swell as they are pumped up with water and hence leave you looking bigger. So, if you are going to enjoy some drinks then make sure you sip plenty of water – I like to try and have one glass of water for every alcoholic drink I have. NB: Try to have water gradually throughout the day rather than necking a litre just before bed – it doesn’t have the same effect!
2) Don’t Press The F*CK It Button
We’ve all done this! We start the day well and full of good intentions, then our colleague comes in with Red Velvet cupcakes and our willpower diminishes within seconds. We give into our craving and immediately say to ourselves, ‘oh f*ck it, seeing as we’ve ruined it we might as well continue on our bad path until tomorrow’. I do this all the time and it is so damaging not just to our bodies but to our metal headspace. We just ended up feel guilty and heavy. The key here is: don’t be so hard on yourself. There is NOTHING wrong with indulging every now and then or with enjoying treats. I love that quote “everything in moderation, including moderation“and this is so true for everything in life but it applies perfectly to this: have a blow out every now and then and please don’t waste your time with feeling bad about it after. If you punish yourself mentally, you inevitably lower your self esteem and (if you’re anything like me) you’ll start to comfort eat which creates this awful downward spiral.
If you have a big lunch, just try and have a healthy dinner, or if you know you’re going to a big meal in the evening, try and make sure you eat clean during the day and fit in an exercise class before work if you can.
3) Prepare Your Hangovers
I think it’s fair to say that the most common time to over-eat is when we are hungover. Our blood sugar levels are all over the place, our decision making is well below par and our craving for pasta, ice cream and pizza is through the roof. The best way to reduce the catastrophic effects of a hangover binge are to fill your fridge the night before with healthy snacks. Swap ice cream for coconut frozen yogurt (Coconut Collaborative have the best flavours), swap toast for oat cakes and humous or raw nut butters, and heat up some pre-prepared home-cooked food instead of getting take out.
I also love to fill my fridge with green juices the day before so that when I wake up I can get some much needed vitamins in my system to help my headache and speed up my recovery process. Coconut water is great too because its filled with electrolytes for re-hydration and I also just find water pretty gross when I’m hungover so this is a great alternative.
4) Get Active
This is pretty simple really but when the sun is shining make the most of the weather by being more active. Walking is the best exercise in my eyes, its therapeutic and does wonders for your ass. Get off the tube a stop or two early and walk an extra 15 minutes to work, go to the park for a jog, get out your old badminton or volleyball set and get some friendly competition going with your friends, or go find an outdoor workout class near you (they are so fun!). The vitamin D will help boost your mood and the extra steps will help burn off yesterday’s Pimms.
5) Choose Carefully
When I’m hungry I always order the most carby, sugary, cheese-packed dish on the menu so now I’ve started to look at menus of restaurants I’m going to before I get there and choose a healthier dish to order. I have truly seen such a difference in my body and weight over the last couple of months by making small changes to the way I eat. I think now about how sluggish I feel after certain meals – I love a burger and chips but I can’t remember ever not feeling tired and a bit sick straight after. Now, I choose salads, or meat dishes with sides of vegetables instead and avoid the bread and butter at the start of the meal by telling the waiter to remove it from my sight before I eat the entire thing. Being healthy doesn’t mean your losing out on anything, the meals are just as delicious and you feel so much more energetic after, which is key for a good night out. If you find this thought daunting, just start with switching just one meal a day and see how great you feel!
Happy Summer, Love Roxie xx