The number of people in my weekly pilates class has suddenly doubled in the last two weeks. Not only that, but the instructor is using "think of your bikini bodies on the beach, ladies" as motivation, several times during every class. Quite effective motivation, I must admit.
The sun is shining, nature is becoming more colourful, days are getting longer and we want to whip our winter butts in shape - at an alarming speed. We're all thinking of summer holiday, sun drenched beaches, tanned bodies and cocktails in the sun.
I also noticed more and more weight loss articles on blogs and some newspapers. Fad diets are popping up again and even TV adverts for slimming aids and programmes are on the increase.
It seems to become a cycle. Exercising and dieting like possessed beings during Spring. Sort of maintaining it during summer, but once we set our clocks back for winter time, it all comes to a screeching halt. Until next Spring.
In case the news hasn't reached you yet - FAD DIETS DO NOT WORK! They haven't worked in the past, they won't work now and they'll won't work in the future. Research has shown, over and over, that you're more likely to regain the weight (and then some) once you stop with the fad diet than keeping it off. The 5 year success rate of any diet is only 3%. That's right, only 3% of dieters are able to lose weight and keep it off for 5 years or longer.
Not exactly inspiring, is it? So what gives?
First, we need to let go of the diet mentality and stop starving ourselves with these fad diets. Your body can't function optimally if you're starving. In fact, science has confirmed that your body is more likely to hold onto it's fat stores when it thinks it's being starved. Instead, fuel and nourish your body with nutritious, healthy food that will make your body and all it's 'systems' function optimally (including your metabolism).
Secondly, having a healthy, balanced meal containing healthy carbohydrates (vegetables, quinoa, nuts, brown rice etc.), healthy fats (salmon, avocados, nuts and seeds etc.) and lean protein (chicken, beans, meat, eggs etc.) will increase your satiety - making you feel fuller for longer. Feeling fuller for longer, is likely to make you eat or snack less overall, thus reducing your calorie intake without starving yourself. Throw some extra exercise in the mix and you're well on your way to your goal weight. Keep that up during Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn and you've got yourself a healthy lifestyle, not a fad diet!
Last, but certainly not least, follow the golden rule: Eat only when you're hungry and eat until you're satisfied. Don't eat because it's lunch time and everyone else is eating. Ask yourself if you're hungry, if you're not, then wait until you are. Don't eat until you have to lie down, eat until you feel satisfied. Then give it 20 minutes and if you're still hungry, have a piece of fruit or a small handful of nuts. I takes time for food to reach your stomach, your stomach to process and tell your brain that it's had enough. That 20 minute break is important.
Oh, and allow yourself a treat once in a while. Don't eat an entire slab of chocolate in one sitting, instead have a small block or two every other day - and savour every bite of it. Have one glass of wine once or twice a week - and savour every sip. It's all about balance and moderation. When it comes to exercise, it's about consistency - at least 150 mintes a week. That's 30 minutes, 5 days a week. We all spend way more than 30 minutes a day on Facebook.... so if you've got time for Facebook, you've got time to exercise.
Remember, you didn't pick up that extra weight in one week, so don't expect to lose it in one week. It'll take as much time to lose the weight as it took to gain it.