Shape Up To Look Great

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

The big occasion is fast approaching and you want to lose a few pounds. Follow these easy strategies to ensure that your frock fits without a wrinkle…

1. Be realistic

If you’ve decided you want to lose weight for that special occasion, allow yourself plenty of time to achieve your goal. A weight loss of 1lb‐2lb a week is a healthy and safe rate to shift those pounds. Lose it any faster than this and the chances are you’ll be eating too few calories, leaving you feeling hungry, depressed and reaching for the biscuit tin.

2. Find a plan that you like

There are lots of different approaches to losing weight. Whether it’s Weight Watchers or Slimming World, they all boil down to the same thing: eating fewer calories than your body needs.

The great thing about the low‐Gi diets that are currently popular is that you’re encouraged to eat lots of wholegrain food and vegetables, with no points or calories to count. These foods are brilliant for slimmers as they’re so bulky they fill you up, and they are digested and absorbed slowly, which minimises those hunger pangs, which can shipwreck your good intentions.

Whatever you do, keep an eye on your portion size. Eat too much, even of healthy foods, and you’ll pile on the pounds.

3. Eat up

Aim to eat three meals a day and two snacks and make breakfast a priority. It really is a mistake to skip breakfast in the hope it will save you a few calories. Study after study has found that breakfast skippers tend to eat more calories a day than those who start the day on the right foot. Baked beans on wholemeal toast, or porridge made with skimmed milk and topped with berries are both great low‐GI breakfasts.

And don’t forget to drink plenty of water ‐‐ up to eight glasses a day. If you don’t drink enough it’s easy to confuse thirst for hunger, which can have you reaching for high‐fat snacks and chocolate.

4. Find the exercise that suits your body shape

Finding an activity that you enjoy is key to sticking with an exercise plan. But it’s also important to find a regime that suits your body type. Match your body to one of these four basic shapes and pick the appropriate exercise plan:

Pear: You tend to carry your weight on your hips and thighs. Your focus should be on building definition in your upper body to balance your lower body. Try: spinning, low‐impact aerobics and power walking.

Stick: You generally have a wiry frame and find it hard to achieve curves. Concentrate on weight‐bearing exercises to help define and add curves. Try: body pump, step, rowing and circuits.

Hourglass: Naturally muscular, you don’t have to work too hard to look toned and defined. You tend to be less flexible, however, so to avoid injury you should always try and make stretching a big part of your exercise regime. Try: Pilates, yoga, tennis and Body balance.

Apple: You’ve got the natural strength of the hourglass body shape, but with an extra layer of padding. Your higher body‐fat levels make you more buoyant, so water‐based sessions are a great choice. Try: aerobics; legs, tums and bums, t’ai chi and skipping.

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