When the warm weather starts to arrive, many people's thoughts turn to losing weight, toning up and getting ready for the beach! See how you can kick start the whole process.
When Spring is in the air and British Summer Time gives us that extra hour of daylight for many it's time to decide on and start the diet! Right across the country, people see the start of spring as the ideal time to start getting ready for summer.
Well, it makes a lot of sense. After the long winter and short days and long nights, the appearance of more sun makes us want to get back outside and for many, to get a bit more active. The winter comfort foods that have unfortunately helped pack on a few pounds since the autumn are compounded by less appealing exercise conditions thanks to the long nights and cold, wet days.
Starting your dieting plans and increasing exercise happens naturally in the Spring as the days get longer and the impending Summer holiday start to loom. The Summer also means we are more tempted by fresh fruits, salads and summer vegetables.
According to research, most people who begin dieting at this time of year target the second bank holiday weekend in May.
So if you are one of the many people who wants to lose some weight between now and the summer, what is the best way to kick start the process and ensure that by the time the bikini or trunk season rolls around you can appear in public in a swimsuit without frightening small children?
If you are serious about your slimming and want to see long term weight loss, the the only way is to look at a two-pronged approach which is your diet and your exercise.
We put on weight ostensibly because we eat more calories than we burn off. So it makes complete sense that the only way to lose any weight is to reverse the process so that you burn more than you eat. But why, just a few short weeks in, does it become so difficult to carry on and so easy to give in to temptations?
The trouble with most traditional diet plans is that they don't work for most people for more than a few weeks. Typically the pattern is that you lose a few pounds the first week, then lose a bit less the following week and so on until after 4 or 5 weeks your weight loss plateaus and you lose nothing for say 2 weeks - at which point you give up!
Why does this happen? Because most types of diet rely on restricting the amount you eat, when you do that the body reacts by slowing your metabolism. Your metabolism is the rate at which you burn calories, so by the end of the diet you are actually burning fewer calories per day than when you started.
An alternative method is to adopt a sensible diet plan and also combine it with regular exercise. Exercise will help you maintain your metabolic rate even though you are changing your diet, meaning you keep burning those calories whilst keeping your weight loss ticking along.
Exercise actually gets your body working in more than just one way. A walk on a chilly morning or a run on a warm afternoon will get your blood pumping and get some endorphins moving about. According to the AHA (American Heart Association) when you exercise you get more oxygen to your brain and this can result in some improved mental ability and memory. Endorphins are chemicals that can give a beneficial mood increase, which can ease any depression and can also relieve stress.
A sensible diet means you need to eat moderate portions, avoid foods you know are bad for you and ensure the diet plan is right for you.
So things like takeaways, crisps, fizzy drinks, ice cream, sweets, cakes and so on are banned. Instead, base your diet around fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein such as fish, chicken, and beans, and whole grains (brown rice, whole grain pasta and bread).
As the weather improves, you should see a steady loss in weight that will get you ready for whatever summer has to offer.