The warm weather has arrived, and with it the urge to get ourselves looking good for the beach. Suddenly people are singing the praises of detox diets, alkaline diets (based on so-called “alkalising foods”) or low-carb diets. Not to mention the artichoke diet, onion-soup diet and paleo diet… However, we suggest avoiding fad diets in general and following a series of simple steps to include in your everyday routine.
1. Vinegar first thing in the morning
Some people drink a small glass of vinegar first thing in the morning before breakfast to make the most of its digestive, diuretic, detox and fat-burning properties, while others drink a teaspoonful with every meal. You can also use vinegar in many different recipes, including tasty, refreshing vinaigrettes that are perfect for summer salads.
2. Eat dinner earlier
Sometimes the old sayings are the best. Like, for example, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper.” And if you can eat dinner at 7 pm rather than later, even better. Reducing your calorie intake at the end of the day and having dinner a couple of hours earlier than the usual in Spain is one of the best ways of slowly losing a few pounds.
3. Five meals a day
If you follow this golden rule, you won’t be so hungry before mealtimes and are likely to eat less and be less stressed. A mid-morning or mid-afternoon piece of fruit, pot of fresh cheese or any other healthy snack are great ideas for killing those hunger pangs that assail us during the day.
4. Daily exercise
Taking the stairs or walking home from work are just two small ways in which you can make a big difference to your health. And even better if you throw in a more intense session of cardiovascular experience like running, swimming or other kind of sport.
5. Cut out the alcohol
We might think nothing of it, but that glass of wine with lunch, that cheeky afternoon beer and those weekend cocktails are all sources of unnecessary calories that we should cut out sooner rather than later.
6. Yes to herbal teas
Fluid retention is one of the great enemies of a beach-ready figure. And one of the best ways to combat it is to drink tea or herbal tea, including matcha tea and digestive or energising herbal teas. By helping reduce fluid retention, they’ll soon make you feel lighter and happier.
7. Fibre all the way
We often feel swollen because we haven’t managed to digest our food properly. The solution is to eat more fibre, found in fruit and vegetables and in wholegrain food. It’s time to switch over to brown bread and wholewheat cereals for good.
8. Rediscover salads
The world of salads is full of endless possibilities. Vegetables, pulses, quinoa, superfoods like kale, pasta, avocados, light cheeses, seeds, nuts, fruit in season… There’s room for all in a good salad, dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and a balsamic glaze.
9. Go for fruit ice creams
And if they’re homemade, so much the better, as you can use only milk and choose your favourite fruit. If you need to get your ice-cream fix elsewhere, go for a fruit flavour, as they have far fewer calories than creamy favours like chocolate, cream or vanilla. Tubs are healthier than cones.
10. Strike the right balance
Obviously there are days when we throw caution to the wind and enjoy a big seaside paella and delicious tapas for lunch, followed by spectacular desserts. The key is to offset it with a light supper the same day and to keep an eye on your calorie intake over the following days by eating lots of fruit and vegetables. And doing plenty of exercise.