Is your Christmas party a mere few weeks away? Or maybe you have a festive wedding to attend? These are my favourite health tips for helping to boost your body confidence in time for slipping into that sparkly LBD….
1. Ditch The Sugary Snacks and Drinks
Yes chocolate, sweets, cakes, biscuits, doughnuts and festive mince pies all taste delicious, and I’m all for indulging in treats on a special occasion. But if you’re hoping to reduce bloating in time for you Christmas party to feel your confident best, then cutting down on or eliminating refined sugar is one of the fastest ways to reduce water retention.
Refined sugar may cause your body to look and feel more bloated than normal, as glycogen is stored with molecules of water to be eventually used as energy.
So not only does sugar encourage your body to hold onto extra water weight, it can also causes a spike in blood sugar levels, which triggers a release of insulin form the pancreas. Insulin is considered a fat-storing hormone, as it shunts excess blood glucose (sugar) into your cells to be stored as fat.
2. Reduce Alcohol
I love a good party as much as anyone else! But I am careful to drink in moderation and choose lower-sugar drinks. If I have an important event or photo shoot coming up, I avoid alcohol for two weeks beforehand to help reduce any water retention.
Alcohol is not a friend to your waistline. It can trigger stomach fat to build up around your mid-section because it’s quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and deposited in the stomach area. It may cause you to gain many unwanted pounds due in part to the hundreds of extra calories in sugary cocktails and mixers, while wine and beer are also high in sugar and calories.
But alcohol itself is a simple sugar, which hits your bloodstream fast and causes insulin levels to increase, encouraging fat storage. Drinking alcohol may also slow down your metabolism because the liver prioritises the metabolism of alcohol before it can process energy from the food you have eaten. So for a certain period of time, it may actually prevent your body from burning fat efficiently.
3. Watch Portion Sizes
Getting into the habit of reducing portion sizes and stopping eating when you’re three-quarters full, can make all the difference to your body confidence on the lead-up to a party to event. I find that eating a little less at each meal can also help to reduce bloating and give my digestive system a rest, particularly when I focus on eating plenty of high-fibre plant foods.
The healthy eating movement of the past few years has benefitted people in so many ways, but I find that people still struggle with weight loss, even when they’re eating ‘clean’. Healthy food can still contain plenty of calories, and you must be careful when replacing processed snacks with nuts and nut butters or adding avocado and dressing to salads, as their calories can quickly add up.
A useful tip is to use your hands for portion control. In a main meal, your serving of protein, such as beans, should be roughly the size of your palm; your serving of grain or carbs, such as sweet potato, should be the size of your fist; your position of low-carb veggies and salad should be at least the size of your cupped hands together, and your serving of healthy fat or dressing should be about the size of your thumb.
4. Get Sweaty
I try to get a sweat going everyday to help boost lymphatic drainage, oxygenate body and brain and it also does wonders for pumping oxygen and nutrients into your skin!
It’s very difficult to achieve sustainable, healthy body fat loss without exercise. Keeping active helps to burn excess calories and build up lean muscle mass, to boost your resting metabolic rate. I find that a combination of weight training and cardio really works to build muscle while burning body fat, but it’s important to do what you enjoy and can fit into your lifestyle.
Even a couple of weeks of regular exercise on the lead-up to your Christmas party will encourage your body to reduce water retention and look more toned.
5. Listen To Your Body
Are you genuinely hungry?
One of the most effective ways to gain control of your weight and feel confident in yourself is to really pay attention to what your body is telling you. It’s easy to get into the habit of eating out of boredom, or emotional eating if you’re feeling upset or lonely. Try to ask yourself if you’re really hungry or just bored, before you reach for a snack.
Are you properly hydrated?
Sometimes thirst or dehydration can be interpreted as hunger, so try drinking a glass of water first and waiting a few minutes to see if you’re still peckish. You should be aiming to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and even more if you’re very active or if it’s a warm day. Bear in mind that caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee and some fizzy drinks will act as a diuretic and cause more water to be expelled from your body, which can lead to dehydration. Herbal teas can help if you’re looking for a slightly sweeter taste. Try adding a few drops of liquid Stevia to sweeten them even more.