Over Easter weekend, most of us (rightly) indulged in chocolates, hot crossed buns and every other kind to sweet thing we could get our hands on. It was great at the time, but it's left behind a definite feeling of poor health.
To get you feeling healthier and looking slimmer as quickly and easily as possible once the fun is over, which is doubly important with the summer months approaching, here are six simple steps you can take.
Run for 20 minutes every day for a week
Just doing a small amount of exercise each day can quickly make you feel more relaxed and in control of yourself, as well as contributing to weight loss.
You don’t have to start doing hour-long workouts, though – just try doing a short jog during your lunch break or journey home. With the evenings getting lighter, there’s even more reason to be outside and avoiding rush hour on the tube.
After doing this for a week you’ll notice your energy levels increase and your appetite becoming more stable.
Don’t give up sweet things
If we completely give up the sweet things we enjoy, there’s a tendency to overdo it when we do give in to our desires.
A much more sensible approach, and one that is more likely to work, is to limit your intake for the week following Easter, because it allows you to satisfy your sweet tooth without eating in excess.
Plus, with all the leftover Easter treats, it would be even harder than usual to completely abstain right now.
Replace some of your normal foods with vegetables
Try adding a large bowl of salad or steamed vegetables to every meal for a while – compared to most foods, they have a lot of fibre and micronutrients, as well as having less fat and sugar.
You’ll find you become fuller and have fewer cravings for more fattening types of food.
Don’t skip meals – limit snacking instead
Skipping meals for a couple of days might seem like an easy way to lose weight quickly, but it’s a bad idea if you have anything important to do – your energy levels will fall so low that you won’t be able to think properly, and your job could suffer.
On top of that, meal-skipping is known for leading to binge eating, since the body becomes too deprived of nutrients.
Try to go to bed at the same time each night, and don’t make it late
Sleep deprivation is like death to physical and mental motivation. If you want to stick to your diet and/or exercise regime, first and foremost you must make sure you get enough sleep to focus.
One of the best ways to do this is by maintaining a routine – going to bed at the same time every night for a week will help you get to sleep as quickly as possible, and will also keep your circadian clock ticking away nicely (this is your internal body clock, which tells you when to feel tired and when to feel awake).
By going to bed as early as is realistically possible, you’ll also give your body as much time as possible to get the rest it deserves.
Move from the gym to the outdoors
London may not have the country’s most green and idyllic landscape for running or cycling in, but it certainly has plenty of nice parks, which beat the surroundings of a gym any day.
Now that we are officially in British Summer Time and the weather is getting warmer, the benefits of exercising outdoors are twofold – not only will you be getting fresh air and a general outdoorsy-feeling, you’ll also be topping up on vitamin D, which is important for regulating the amount of essential vitamins in our bodies. We get vitamin D from sunshine, and given the cold and bleak six months we have just come out of, we are probably all in need of a healthy dose.