Julia McLean offers some tough-love advice for the summer swimsuit season.
The season for diets is upon us. It is a given — exposing your blubber to public scrutiny in your cozzie (UK English for swimsuit) is a no-no. Your boobs are going to droop and you will be no match for the lithe 20-something athlete who does perfect back flips off the board at the pool on your luxury first-time holiday cruise.
You really don’t want to look like a classic Walmart shopper with rolls of lard leaking from under your braline or your tummy tumbling out over the top of your trews and your bum bursting out of the bottom of your bathers.
So, diet for God’s sake!
Last time, I went on a diet with Weight Watchers and it worked. (They don’t even pay me to say this.) I really went because I knew I was too weak-willed to keep to a diet unless I paid for a course. I did lose the 10 pounds which were excess to my requirements.
Mostly, I found that I eat very healthily, but my two shots of Scotch after work every day counted for too many points on their system! Recently, Weight Watchers in the area where I live has gone online, and I really can’t be doing that. I like the human contact and the “shame on you!” the finger-wagging from the course leader.
This time, the Flat Tummy Club diet sounds like it will suit me fine, and today’s Times had the Flat Tummy Club top ten tips. I have taken the liberty of adding my caveats”
• Instead of obsessing about foods you find hard to do without, find healthy things you like to eat and eat lots of those. Fruit and veg rather than carbs.
• Do exercises that you can do in the time you have without having to go to the gym. I do them while I am applying make-up, curling my hair, or drying myself after a shower.
• If you know you are going to get hungry, take apple with you – it’s easy to carry and can be eaten without mess.
• Keep plenty of healthy snacks in the cupboard for the times you cannot resist – yoghurt, fresh fruit, dates and nuts, carrots.
• Drink lots of water – preferably one you like (San Pelligrino or Perrier with lemon or orange juice). Remember that tea and coffee count as your water ration BUT only drink proper coffee (none of your cafe lattes or powdered coffees – so go for an espresso/express with a bit of milk added, and make sure the coffee is “arabica” (“robusta” is not as good a quality, but more importantly, it has more caffeine and can set your nerves jangling). Drink good-quality tea – use leaves not tea bags, or drink green tea which is a good diuretic.
• If you drink herbal teas, watch the back labels on boxes to make sure you are getting quality tea without added flavours and colorants.
• Eat slowly, savour the food and you will digest more easily.
• Instead of strolling around the shops, try making your shopping trip into brisk walk.
• Replace white sugar with honey, brown sugar or maple syrup.
• Replace the industrial supermarket biscuits with quality Italian or French biscuits because they generally have proper ingredients (check back labels on all the things you buy and see how many preserving chemicals there are and how many “flavour enhancers” are added, powdered eggs/ powdered milk etc).
• My personal favourite is this: don’t take as big a helping as usual and don’t go for seconds.
• Don’t stress out if you get greedy one day, remember that tomorrow is another day but also remember you want to lose weight because you are going on a holiday of a lifetime and you want your old man/partner/new boyfriend/ girlfriends to be jealous. Go for it!
Bikini Myrtel Beach, By ron miguel from North Carolina, USA (the concept of beauty) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons