Everybody is “beach body ready”.
But that doesn’t mean that now’s not a great time to get as fit and healthy as possible.
Six weeks is ample time to whip your body into shape and mind into shape.
You won’t be able to shed loads of body fat (if you’re interested in healthy, sustainable fat loss) but six weeks is long enough to form and sustain healthy habits that will make you feel more confident.
But how much is a realistic amount to lose?
Dietitian Helen Bond suggests: “A sensible weight loss is 0.5-1kg a week.
“To lose 0.5kg of fat, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories, and it’s easy to shift 1lb in a week simply by reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories a day.”
But fat loss is highly individualistic and dependent on a number of factors, so it’s hard to predict exactly how much someone might lose or not.
So, here’s how to slim down in the six weeks:
1. Ask yourself “why” you want to lose weight
Despite what diet culture may tell you, there’s no impetus to lose weight.
You’ve got to ask yourself why you’re looking for a six-week fix – whether that’s to feel more confident on holiday, to feel healthier for summer or to improve a health issue.
Once you’ve got that in mind, fix that “why” to a physical reminder like a photo or phrase that you can stick on your computer, your phone, your mirror.
That way, your motivation is always in front of you. Forget the scales and focus on that real-life goal.
2. Ditch the diet
Yes, we’re talking about a six week period but the ideal situation would be to make changes that you can keep up in the future.
“Ditch the ‘diet’ mentality,” Helen says.
“By definition, ‘Going on a diet’ infers there’s a start and stop date, meaning you only change what you eat during these times.
“The result: when you ‘finish your diet’ you return to the same eating habits that piled on the pounds in the first place and will make the weight come back on again!
“Instead, plan to change your eating habits for good and focus on the huge number of other benefits that eating well for life will have besides losing weight, such as more energy, better concentration, stronger immunity, a healthier heart, etc.”
3. Use your phone to track your meals
The saying goes: “If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing”.
Do you really know how many calories are in your lunch or that 5pm glass of wine? The vast majority of us underestimate our calorie intake.
So if you do want to shed fat, then tracking what you eat for a few weeks may help to give you a better idea of what’s in your food.
Try using something like MyFitnessPal or the Healthspan health and wellbeing app, both of which will set you targets.
4. Snack more
If you tend to graze throughout the day, you’re probably not going to be able to sustain an eating plan that sees you eat just three times a day.
The hungrier you get, the more likely you are to go rogue and choose something unhealthy to eat anyway.
So, keep your snacks in there to keep hunger at bay.
You want to make sure that you’re filling up on healthy snacks in small portions, which have a good mix of filling protein.
5. Don’t cut out food groups
Think you’ve got to cut out carbs to lose weight? Think again.
Weight loss, as we’ve said, is all about creating that small calorie deficit. You can do that with or without carbs.
Remember, carbs are actually good for you and can speed up your weight loss.
And because we’re going after sustainable weight loss, don’t try to totally get rid of all your favourite foods.
Give yourself the odd cheat meal – or cheat day – where you have more calories.
That way, you’ll have something in the shorter term to look forward to and you’ll satisfy any cravings without “ruining” your plan.
6. Try a new workout
You can lose weight without exercising – that’s a fact.
When it comes to weight loss, diet accounts for 80 per cent of the results. But exercise will make you feel more motivated, healthy and happy, and it’ll help to change your body shape quicker.
To burn fat, you need to increase your amount of lean muscle mass. That will increase your metabolism and help you to burn calories quicker.
Why not try out a boxing class?
Celebs like Gigi Hadid, Khloe Kardashian and Caroline Flack are all said to be fans, and there are boxing gyms popping up all over the country.
Or try an at-home workout app. With hundreds of workouts to choose from on these apps, you could do cardio one day, strength the next and pilates or yoga after that.
Remember, getting fit and losing fat isn’t something that happens overnight.
It’s all about building up towards that big goal using small, manageable steps.
And at the end of it, even if you haven’t stopped a number of dress sizes, you’ll still be fitter and healthier than you were at the beginning.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and is republished here with permission.