Summer is nearly here, and that means itâ€™s time to get in shape for bikini season. What, already? Yes, thatâ€™s right, it takes a long time to get back into proper shape after the indulgence of the festive season, and thereâ€™s no time like the present. Here are six easy ways to improve your diet right now thatâ€™ll have you looking great by summer time.
1. Green Tea
If you havenâ€™t heard about the benefits of green tea already, itâ€™s time you did. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent aging, protects against cancer and speeds up your metabolism. With just 2 or 3 cups a day youâ€™ll begin to see the benefits, but scientists agree that up to 10 cups a day can be beneficial (there is caffeine in green tea, so you shouldnâ€™t have any more than 10 cups).
Some people find the taste of green tea to be a little bitter. If so, try buying some green teabags with pomegranate or lemon added. You could also simply drop a slice of lemon or lime into your tea. Try to avoid adding refined sugar, however, you could always add honey instead (Manuka honey for super health!).
You can also consider trying a supplement containing raspberry ketone.Â Typical doses range from 100 mg to 200 mg per day.
2. Cut Out Carbonated Drinks
Carbonated drinks can really wreak havoc on your body, whether theyâ€™re sugar free or not. Sugary carbonated drinks have a ridiculous amount of sugar in them which will harm your teeth, give you bad breath, and cause your body to produce too much of the hormone insulin.
Too much insulin production can lead to a health problem known as insulin resistance, which can then lead to diabetes. Sugar-free carbonated drinks, however, usually contain many chemical additives and preservatives that can have a number of ill-effects on the body.
Whether sugar-free or not, all carbonated drinks will dehydrate rather than hydrate you. Because they are acidic, they can cause acid erosion of the teeth. Not to mention their ability to leech calcium from your bones! Altogether, theyâ€™re best avoided.
3. Cut Out Bread
Many people find that their overall health improves after giving up bread, especially white bread. White bread is a refined carbohydrate that has basically no nutritional value. Even brown bread contains ingredients such as gluten and yeast, which may well be negatively affecting your health.
Researchers estimate that up to 30 â€“ 40% of people of European descent are gluten-intolerant to some degree. Bread also encourages the growth of yeast infections, so if you have recurring thrush bread may well be the reason. Personally, I find that bread makes me feel bloated and tired and Iâ€™m much better off without it.
4. Eat More Protein
Many people think that only bodybuilders need to think about getting adequate amounts of protein in their diets. This isnâ€™t true at all. Protein is the one aspect of a meal that makes you feel full. Without a little bit of protein, you may well find that youâ€™re still craving more even eating a massive plate of carbohydrates. It does also help to improve muscle repair, which meansÂ youâ€™ll be feeling great rather than run down after an exercise session.
Protein wonâ€™t build muscle on its own, of course, so to really see its toning effects youâ€™ll need to make sure to get an adequate amount of exercise. Fitting exercise into a busy lifestyle can be difficult, so why not consider purchasing some home-gym equipment? Smooth elliptical machines are a great option as they target so many muscle groups at once. I would personally recommendÂ Sole elliptical machines.
5. Make Your Own Meals
I cannot emphasize the benefits of making your own meals enough. This way, youâ€™ll know exactly whatâ€™s going in to your food. There wonâ€™t be any sneaky preservatives or sodium glutamate. You can make sure every ingredient is fresh and maximize the nutrition youâ€™re taking in from everything youâ€™re eating.
Simply going through the process of making your own food also helps you to become more aware of what youâ€™re eating. It also means that you canÂ control your own portion size, rather than automatically eating whatever size your ready-meal comes in.
6. Donâ€™t Get Hungry!
Hunger is the enemy of anyone who wants to lose weight because it makes us crave sugars and carbohydrates. The hungrier we are, the more tempted we are to indulge. Having low blood sugar will also make you feel tired, irritable, depressed and confused, and ultimately more likely to reach for a pick-me-up doughnut.
This is why you should always make sure you have a healthy snack to hand to keep those cravings at bay. Carrot sticks and hummus are great, as are fruits. Beware of relying too much on fruit, however, as it is primarily made of natural sugar, so the energy burst it will give you will be short-lived, leaving you wide open to those cravings once again.
About the Author:
Freelance writer Ashley Munroe is a fitness fanatic. When not chained to her desk, she enjoys hiking and camping with her husband and two young children. She enjoys yoga several times a week, which she says is unbeatable for keeping her supple, and is a champion of writing elliptical reviews 2012 models.