The month of December is the most sociable of them all. Dinner parties, drinks with friends and the work Christmas party. We all want to look our best and the people who market crazy crash diets know this. You don’t need to resort to the cabbage soup diet, or drink nothing but water with lemon and cayenne pepper for a week to look your best. Sure, you may lose a couple of pounds of water weight in that time, but all the weight and more will come back and you will feel so ill after that week of crash dieting, that you won’t be able to enjoy the party you were doing it for. Follow these tips in the run up to the big party and you will be feeling and looking great!
1) Reduce to heat: Although chilli speeds up your metabolism, and this seems like something you may want, it also bloats you. So, for a few days before the big party, avoid spicy sauces and flavour your dishes with dried herbs or a squeeze of lemon instead. Other things to avoid include garlic, black pepper, cloves, mustard and vinegar. The reason for this is that it can stimulate the release of stomach acid, which will irritate your stomach and cause you to bloat.
2) Ditch the salt: Adding too much salt to your cooking will make you bloated and feel sluggish as water in your body is attracted to that extra salt and will leave you looking puffy. Not the best feeling for that nice new dress you bought. Instead of seasoning your food with salt, experiment with other seasonings, such as herbs and spices. Also avoid processed foods that are loaded with salt, such as ready meals and fast food.
3) Pick the right carbs: Most pre-Christmas crash diets will tell you to cut the carbs completely if you want to look great. You need carbs, and I especially think it is important as you will need them for energy to work out in the weeks before the big party. If you normally load up on carbs, then perhaps cut back on them a little, but make the right choices when you do eat them. Choose porridge over sugary cereal for breakfast, have whole-wheat bread for your sandwiches and have brown rice at dinner with some protein and vegetables.
4) Up your water intake: You may be craving a can of coke, but stick to water instead and your stomach will thank you for avoiding all those bubbles. If the thought of plain water bores you, try adding some lemon and ginger for an extra boost. Aim for 8 glasses a day and your skin will look fresh on the night too.
5) Fry-ups are not your friend: Craving fried food? Give it a miss! Eating fried food means you eat more than you should because they take longer to digest and you don’t realise you are full before you have eaten too much. Bake your food instead of frying it.
6) Fit in 30 minutes of cardio a day: Not only will this make you look less bloated, it will make you feel great. The mental benefits of exercise should not be overlooked.
7) Eat lots of vegetables, but pick the right ones: It may seem like a good idea to eat a lot of any vegetables in order to look your best, but some are going to be more suitable than others. Avoid gassy vegetables like sprouts and cabbage and stick to green beans and squash to fill you up.
8) Avoid chewing gum: If you are being more sensible with what you eat, you may turn to chewing gum to curb your cravings. When you are chewing gum, you are also swallowing a lot of air that gets trapped and causes bloating. If you are feeling hungry, snack on something healthy like nuts instead.
9) Eat real food, not diet food: It may seem natural to turn to “diet” food in the bid to look great, but this will do more harm than good. They contain artificial sweeteners, which your body can not absorb properly and will cause you to bloat. If you want something sweet, reach for a piece of fruit instead.
10) Skip the alcohol: Although this one may be the hardest with all the parties going on, if there is one big party that you are working towards, then keep that goal in sight. Sticking to soft drinks for a while will leave you de-bloated and your skin looking great.
At the end of this, you will have even more of an excuse to buy a new outfit, and shoes, and accessories, and a hat?