With the weather heating up, many of us are turning our attention to the extra pounds we gained during lockdown.
It’s completely understandable that the stress of the past year has contributed to bad habits around comfort eating. In a recent Ipsos MORI study, around 45% of respondents said they had put on weight during lockdown, with the same percentage reporting feeling more anxious or depressed than usual.
But with summer upon us, now is a great time to take advantage of the warmer weather to get outdoors, increase your activity and enjoy some healthy changes to your diet, all of which could help you shed that unwanted weight.
As the mercury hits the high numbers, you may be feeling that it’s already too late. But it’s important not to think in the short term. Getting healthy should be about building a lifestyle, not just aiming for a date in the diary.
So, let’s look at some tips to help keep you focussed on your goals.
Surround yourself with positive encouragement
While social media can be a great source of inspiration, at times it can also be demotivating. Much of what we see simply isn’t a true representation of real life. Edited photos, filters, and clever captions can all make us feel that we just don’t measure up. Combine that with a wealth of weight loss supplements and products and you have a recipe for major frustration.
Don’t let your feed fill you with doubt. Follow accounts that promote healthy, sustainable changes, realistic goals, stories from real people and helpful information and resources.
When we feel a burst of motivation to make a change, we often throw ourselves 100% into a new plan. But we can quickly burn out and lose momentum by trying to make too many changes all at once.
Setting SMART goals is a great way to keep yourself on track. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. By setting smaller, clear goals with deadlines, you are more likely to see them through and feel a rewarding sense of achievement.
Everything in moderation
When we’re trying to lose a few pounds, we often think that we have to banish certain foods, replacing them with diet alternatives. But this can do more harm than good.
Fat-free diet versions of your favourite foods are often more processed and are lacking in the ingredients that trigger satiety. This means that after eating them, you feel less satisfied and end up craving, and sometimes eating, more than if you’d just allowed yourself a little of what you really wanted.
When we tell ourselves we ‘can’t’ have something, it’s guaranteed that we’ll want it more than ever. So, allow yourself the things you love, but in moderation and keep a track of your treats to make sure you’re not undoing your good work.
Build in rewards
While your ultimate goal will be the big reward in itself, that target can often feel a long way away. Build in smaller rewards along the journey to help you celebrate the smaller milestones and close the gap to the finish line.
This could be a new item of clothing or a pampering treatment – whatever makes you feel good about hitting your mini goals and helps you celebrate that achievement.
Once you reach that main goal, stay on track by continuing to build in little maintenance milestones that keep you on track.
Check your intolerances
When it comes to food, even the most healthy and balanced diet can cause problems.
Food intolerances, which can occur when your body’s immune system mistakes a food protein as a threat, releasing antibodies to fight it, can cause a host of inflammation. Headaches, brain fog, skin complaints like eczema or acne and joint pain are all reactions that can result from a food intolerance. IBS and bloating are particularly common complaints that
It’s estimated that around 45% of the UK population has some kind of food intolerance. Often, they go undetected for years, causing mild, but persistent and frustrating problems that stop you from feeling your best.
As you consider making changes to your diet, keep an eye on how your body reacts. If you notice some of those common complaints, it may be that a new type of food you’ve introduced, or an increase of a particular ingredient, is the cause.
Take control of your diet
Getting to the bottom of a food intolerance can be frustrating. A common recommendation is the elimination diet, where you remove one food at a time for a few weeks to see how you feel. But this process can take a long time. And, although many of us commonly react to a few different ingredients, the elimination diet is often abandoned when the first trigger food is found, leaving an incomplete picture of what’s causing the problem.
Get answers faster with Smartblood
When it comes to food intolerance testing, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable laboratory testing company.
At Smartblood, we offer a comprehensive test to help you take control of your diet quickly and discover your own trigger foods.
Our home-to-laboratory service gives you fast, accurate results that pinpoint exactly which foods you are reacting to. Tests are completed in our accredited laboratory by trained experts, with clear, easy to understand results sent to you via email within three days.
Dedicated nutritional support
Importantly, our tests include a telephone consultation with our BANT registered Nutritional Therapist. This additional support is there to help you understand your results and put a plan together to make safe, sustainable changes to optimise your diet.