With swimsuit season upon us, thoughts inevitably turn to looking your best in the summer sun - and we're here to help.
From new supplements and kick-ass superfoods to the handy test that can help manage your weight, these are the best ways to give your summer weight-loss a brilliant boost…
1. Get tested
Genetic testing is so now and could help relight your dieting fire. A quick DIY cheek swab is said to reveal the most effective way to manage your weight via personalised diet plans, fitness regimes and recipes matched to your DNA profile. Try the new my DNA Weight Management DNA Testing Kit, £59.99, lloydspharmacy.com. Plus, coming soon: a DIY poo test that pinpoints foods that affect your blood sugar levels. You send your “sample” and get a personalised diet app back! Check it out at daytwo.com.
2. Play hunger games
Trust us, those first pangs (that drive you headlong to the snacks) are usually nothing to do with hunger at all. Those growls are down to dehydration. At the first rumble, rehydrate with water or better yet, herbal tea. Look for one with cinnamon or the herb gymnema in the mix – both control blood sugar and in turn those cravings.
3. Pamper your bugs
Take a probiotic daily to encourage good gut bacteria – research suggests that gut bacteria sends signals to the brain to create cravings for foods they need to thrive. Which means if we up good bacteria with a probiotic, they’ll send signals for healthier foods. Loving the thought! Try Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain Formula, £9.49 for 30, boots.com
4. Sleep it off
Great sleep will leave you refreshed and a night-time supplement with metabolism-boosting amino acids, superfoods and vits could help towards losing that middle. Try Healthista Night Food, £18.95 for 200g, healthista.com or Benenox Overnight Recharge, £12.49 for 135ml, victoriahealth.com.
5. Watch the clock
If you’re rubbish at calorie counting and meal planning, Time-Restricted Eating could be your new best friend. Simply restrict eating to an eight-hour window. Do it from 3-7 days a week depending on how much you want to lose. Find the science and the plan in The Eight Hour Diet by David Zinczenko.
6. Use your hands
Did you know that your stomach is about the same size as your cupped hands? Hold that thought. The new diet on the block is The Scandi Sense Diet by Suzy Wengel – it’s Scandinavian (must be good), it dumps calorie counting (liking it already) and uses hands to measure each meal (aha!).
Danish nutritionist Wengel lost 88lbs creating her diet, which gets us putting meals together with four handfuls. One of protein, one of starch, two of vegetables. Hold your hand out, bring your fingers together – there’s your measuring cup. So simple it makes sense! (Mitchell Beazley) includes pics about handling those handfuls!
7. Cancel wine time…
…and save a bucketload of empty calories. New larger glasses (250ml) can whack a good 228 cals onto your daily total, and sharing a bottle with a gal pal rockets it to 340!
Nutritionist Nina Sabat suggests switching to drinks that do you good. “My go-to drinks are Kombucha and Water Kefir, both these are cultured drinks naturally rich in probiotics – the healthy bacteria your tum loves.” We like ’em because they sparkle, and have about 24 cals in 100ml. Try Panacea Sparkling Water Kefir ‘Very Cherry’, £35 for 12 bottles, panaceadrinks.com and Equinox Kombucha ‘Wild Berry’, £1.80, Waitrose.
8. Kelp can help
Especially if pasta is your diet deal-breaker. New kelp noodles are a brilliant substitute. Uber low in calories and carbs, like pasta, they are pretty bland, so take sauces well and, nicely dressed, work in salads and
stir-fries. Kelp features fucoxanthin – “a real fat burner,” says naturopath Rick Hay (thesuperfoodist.com). Result! Try Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles, £6.25 for 340g, planetorganic.com.
9. Big up fibre
It’s your weight-loss pal. “I love, love, love fibre,” says Rick Hay. “It keeps you full, helps ‘elimination’, reduces your portion size and helps reduce fat around the middle.”
Not getting enough? Flip a teaspoonful of Inulin – a veggie prebiotic powder – into water or a smoothie and you’re good to go. Inulin supports the growth of good bacteria and reduces the body’s ability to make some fats. Especially good for us apple-shaped gals. And the bonus? Take it before bed for a great night’s sleep. Try Golden Greens Organic Prebiotic Inulin Fibre, £12.99 for 250g, greensorganic.co.uk.
10. Choose to chew
And do it slowly and thoroughly – anything from 20-50 times for each mouthful. How does it help? Well, it takes 20 minutes for the brain to realise it’s even eaten something, so it’s easy to overeat in that window of opportunity.
By chewing slowly, your gut gets to know what full feels like and bingo, you may eat less. Want the low-down on slow eating? Chewing champ Robyn Youkilis has a fab website that gets us all chewing better in 21 days.
11. Love pomegranate!
We’ve banged on about apple cider vinegar but pomegranate is the hip new must-take. A tablespoon in water before meals is reckoned to help with fat metabolism. Easy!