If like me you are the kind of person who leaves things to the last minute then you will have probably found yourself in this situation in the past: booked your holiday months in advance, then left everything until just a few weeks before. We find ourselves frantically rushing about trying to buy suntan cream, sort out travel insurance, dig out the passport, and then finally get around to shifting those extra few pounds. It is in this moment of desperation and panic that we can often turn to magic beans (promises of quick results in no time). But many of these plans are unrealistic, and more importantly unhealthy. So how can we give ourselves a little last minute weight-loss boost to make sure we jet off feeling fabulous?
One week today I will be jetting off to sunny Cuba. The holiday was an amazing 30th birthday gift from Mr B and his family. By the time I found out it just over 12 weeks until we jetted off. I was so excited to be going to the Caribbean and lounging on the beach, then it hit me- I would need to get in to a bikini! At the time I wasn’t feeling in the best of shape, and the thought of being seen in swimwear was daunting. I didn’t want to ruin a fantastic holiday feeling self-conscious, and I was suddenly determined to get back in shape. Set myself off on 12 week healthy bikini body challenge. I promised not to resort to any extreme measures or magic beans. I made plenty of diet mistakes in my 20s and was determined to kick-start my 30s being healthy and happy. So the principal aim of my challenge wasn’t how much weight I could lose, but could I get myself to a place where I felt happy and confident in my bikini without resorting to any extreme measures.
This is perhaps one of the few times in life that I haven’t left it until the last minute. I have spent the last 11 weeks trying to make healthy choices and get myself bikini ready. The results have been fantastic in the simple fact that I do feel a lot better. The bonus being I can see massive improvements in my body, as well as my health, fitness and my attitude towards food. But inevitably in the final week, I want to give myself a little extra push. But how can I do it without resorting to extreme measures? How can I give myself a little extra last minute boost without doing anything stupid and unhealthy?
There are a lot of plans out there that promise quick results. I could cut carbs, try a juice cleanse, or maybe a few days fasting. I know that long term I couldn’t stick to any of these things, and if not managed carefully they could potentially be damaging to my health. But surely for a week they won’t do any harm? Surely they are OK to just give me that last minute weight loss boost to shift a quick 5lbs before jetting off? Maybe, but I know something else from my past experience of these types of plans – they aren’t easy, or fun, and if I fail, I will fail drastically! After 3 days sipping kale smoothies only between the hours of 11.20am and 4pm, I will be quickly swayed by the first smell of a burger, then fries, then a bottle of wine, and a few biscuits. So what can I do to give myself a little last minute boost?
Well this is where I have to admit I don’t really have the answer, rather I am offering myself up as an experiment. So here is the theory: I am suggesting the best way to give yourself a last minute weight-loss boost is to throw all the rules out the window and make up your own diet rules. That is right make up your own diet rules. Why? Well simply because if you make up your own rules, then you are much more likely to stick to them! Sure, it might not give you the most amazing result,- you might lose a few extra pounds with a magic beans plan, but there is also considerably higher chance you will fail to stick to a magic beans plan, then you won’t see any results! Nothing is sexier than confidence, and nothing will make you feel better than accomplishment and success. If I can make and then stick to my own diet rules for the next week, then I am much more like to be jetting off feeling confident and successful, rather than a failure, or worse feeling drained, miserable and starving from a week of extreme, restricted dieting.
How do you make your own diet rules?
Why force yourself to eat foods you don’t like, at times that aren’t convenient, or portions that don’t satisfy you. You might not have a nutritional degree, but you are the expert in you. Like most adult women, I have tried many diets, and though not always successful each experience has taught me something about myself and my eating habits. From years of dieting and trying to eat healthy I have worked out my strengths and weaknesses. Working out your own strengths and weaknesses is a great way to start planning your own diet rules.
My weight loss weaknesses:
- I like big portions
- I don’t like feeling hungry
- I make rubbish choices when I am tired- especially at night
- I don’t like cutting food groups
- I don’t like restricted anything completely, as the minute I know I can’t have it, that is all I will want!
- I have a real sweet tooth and always crave something sweet after meals.
My weight loss strengths
- I genuinely love fruit and veg and salad, including lovely healthy super greens
- I am pretty good at getting organised and preparing meals in advance
- I enjoy being active and exercising.
- I am aware to which foods fill me up and keep me satisfied. I find lean protein like chicken, eggs and fish plus healthy fats like avocado and seeds, all keep me feeling fuller for longer.
- I also am aware that too much sugar makes me bloated, this includes natural sugar like fruit.
So what can I do with this? Well let’s break it down. I like big portions, but I also like super green veg like broccoli, kale and spinach, so let’s fill up on those. I will aim to have something green with every meal. Now the temptation might be to have fruit, but too much fruit bloats me. So I am going to try have just 1 potion of fruit a day. Preferably berries as they don’t seem to make me as bloated as things like bananas and apples.
So what else have I learnt from my past experiences of dieting and healthy eating? I know I don’t like feel hungry, so I am no good at anything like 5:2 or intermittent fasting, but I know I can make rubbish food choices when tired. The evening can be a minefield for me in resisting temptation, so for this week I am going to try not to eat after dinner. I will make sure that last meal is satisfying, but then that’s it until bed time. Also, since I make rubbish food choices when tired I am going to go to bed early and try get at least 7 hours sleep a night.
Next up, I don’t like cutting food groups, but I’m also not bothered for carbs like bread, pasta, rice and potatos, and I knoq I feel fuller eating more protein, makes sense to eat more protein and less carbs. I am not going to eliminate carbs altogether, but I think for this week I will restrict them to the days when I am more active and need the energy. My final weakness: sweet treats, especially after meal times. I know if I say now that if chocolate and biscuits are completely restricted, I will drive myself mental craving it more. So I am going to try and have just one treat a day. In fact I will try and not have any, but just in case I will have some back up plans in the house ready.
Notice that all these things I ma saying, ‘I will try’ and ‘aim to’ not must do and must not do. These are not definite set rules, more really good guidelines. That way if I do slip up, it wont feel too much like a failure. So based on a quick assessment of my own weight loss strengths and weaknesses, here are my last minute weight loss guidelines to ensure I jet off feeling fabulous.
- Something green with every meal
- Just one piece of fruit a day, preferably berries
- No snacks after dinner
- 7 hours sleep a night
- Base meals around lean protein and veg
- Limit carbs to more active days
- Limit sweet treats to no more than one a day
- Schedule workouts in to diary and commit
- Limit to just 2 coffees a day
- Drink at least 2 litres of water a day.
To be honest, these are pretty good rules to live by all the time, but lets focus on just getting through the week. I am not suggesting these are good guidelines for anyone else- remember these are based on my own assessment of what I like, and what I feel confident and comfortable with. If you are wanting a last minute weight loss boost for a holiday, wedding, or other special event and have left it until the last minute, then don’t rely on magic beans. Use your common sense, your intuition and maybe a little bit of research to make your own diet rules.
I am Jennie, founder of set U free fitness, and Weight Watchers leader in Leeds. I lost 7 stone with Weight Watchers and transformed by body through exercise. I always dreamt that life after goal would be easier, but the reality is- it’s not. This personal blog is my ongoing journey to stay healthy and happy. It is a collection of my thoughts, tips, lessons learnt and mistakes made in trying to create a balanced healthy lifestyle that I can follow for life. I always love to hear your thoughts, and hear from people undergoing similar journeys, so please comment or get in touch.