Losing weight is simple: If you take in more calories than you burn, the excess are stored as fat, which is distributed all over your body, including your belly. It doesn't matter where those extra calories come from –it's simply the excess that piles on the pounds – and this has an impact on your future health.
Skipping meals leads to energy slumps and these make you more likely to reach for an unhealthy quick fix such as biscuits or cake
Plan to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and supper and you'll be more likely to stick with it
Portion sizes are key. Sizes of many packaged foods have grown in the past 20 to 30 years, from bulky ready meals to supersize fizzy drinks. One of the main problems of being constantly faced with larger portions is that it completely distorts our view of what a normal portion should be. On the Bikini Promise + One we are going to be hovering our hand to see what the correct portion size for each of us is. The idea is, your protein and carbohydrate should fit under your hovered hand, and you can fill the rest of your plate up with as much salad and as many vegetables as you like.
If you still struggle with portion sizes think about the size of your plate. Using large plates encourages us to eat more. Numerous studies have shown the more we put on our plates, the more we eat. Indeed, one study found adults ate 34% more pasta when served a large portion than when given a smaller bowlful. This equates to a third more calories.
Nibbling throughout the day makes it harder. So from this point on, your snacks are going to be small egg-cup sized portions of nutritious goodies. Nuts, seeds, fruit and energy bites.
Bikini Promise + One
The main principles of the Bikini Promise + One are:
Be aware of calories but don’t get hung up on counting them constantly
Make sure everything you eat offers your body a healthy benefit
Eat the right sized portions for you
Cut out all processed food and take-away food
Cut out alcohol until you have reached your target weight
Cut out all fizzy drinks, even diet drinks unless it’s fizzy water
Understand the difference between need and greed
Eat more vegetables, fruit, chicken and fish
Drink lots of water
The science is simple
If you eat less and move more you WILL lose weight! Listen to your body. Sadly, it is impossible for me to be looking over your shoulder all the time – I can advise you but I can’t be there to make your decisions for you. Therefore, it’s important that you get your brain in gear and start to listen to your body - here's how!
Tummy hungry or brain hungry?
Start by asking yourself this - are you tummy hungry or brain hungry? If you feel hungry but have had a large meal an hour or so ago, you know you are not tummy hungry; meaning your stomach isn’t empty and asking for food. In this situation, it is your brain telling you to eat because your blood sugar levels have probably dropped. So instead of eating too much food, just eat a small palmful of nuts and raisins. This will be enough to naturally lift your blood sugar levels and keep Bikini Promise + One you going until you are properly tummy hungry.
Need or greed?
It’s also a good idea to ask yourself, is it need or greed when you are about to eat? If you haven’t eaten for 3 or 4 hours and feel hungry, you know this is a need meal; therefore your meal needs to be nutritious to fuel your body. If however, you have had breakfast and then meet friends for coffee and cake one hour later, this isn’t a need meal – it is a greed meal. When you are in the process of getting healthy and losing weight, try not to put yourself in the position of eating a greed meal – or at least wait for a special occasion to enjoy a special and worthwhile treat.
Get prepared to meal match
Meal matching is quite simply matching the food you eat to your activities. For example, if I am sitting at my desk for most of the week, I don’t need lots of spare energy, but I do still need lots of good nutrients to keep my brain sharp. A full 8 hours writing a day is not physically draining but it sure makes my brain hurt! In this case I would go for a light breakfast and lunch, consisting of fish or chicken with a delicious salad (no soggy lettuce leaves in sight I might add!) or some roasted vegetables. This would nourish me but not make me sleepy during the afternoon when I’ve got my editor breathing down my neck wanting finished work.
I would then probably only need another light meal at around 6pm, as sitting all day at a desk doesn’t use many calories. If on the other hand, I am having a busy week, rushing around from one event to another, needing lots more energy to keep me active throughout the day, I would go for a slightly heavier breakfast that would keep me going longer, such as porridge and fruit - I would make sure I had plenty of nuts, raisins and fruit in my bag for on-the-go snacks and I would try and make time for a more substantial lunch. This is especially important if I thought I wouldn’t get a decent evening meal at a decent time.
My rule is to have your last meal of the day 12 hours before you are due to have your breakfast. Your body needs a 12-hour break without food. So, if you have breakfast at 7.30am, don’t eat dinner any later than 7.30pm the night before. This will not only aid your weight loss but you’ll wake up with better skin, clearer eyes and no dry mouth or sore throat. Try it! No excuses! I’ve heard them all. ‘I can’t afford to buy healthy food’. ‘I don’t have time to cook’. ‘I haven’t the time to exercise’. The fact is, being overweight causes health problems that can lead to an early death. By then it will be too late for excuses! Make the changes now so that you can enjoy a full and healthy life. I only survived my three heart attacks at the age of 36 because I was fit and well before. Had I been overweight, I would have died.
Portion control – very important information
We are all different shapes and sizes. It would be foolish for me to give a 6ft rugby player the same diet plan as a 4ft ballerina! This is why you need to gauge your portion size. My rule is that when losing weight, the protein and carbohydrate in any meal needs to be no larger on the plate that the size of your closed palm. Your palm size relates directly to your stomach size. We have all lost sight of what is a normal portion these days – the fact is we are becoming an obese nation because we simply eat too much and move too little. So from now on – YOUR portion size has to be the size of YOUR closed hand. Simply hover your hand over your plate of food and you will quickly get the measure of how much you are over-eating. The only food that is allowed outside of your closed palm is vegetables or fruit.