Wow, Summer finally arrived with a vengeance! You may be thinking of holidays or at least have shed a layer or two of clothes. Going on a diet at this time of year to prepare you for your ‘beach body’ is the norm for many of us along with the thought that “I must lose weight before my holiday”.

However, remember that additional weight didn’t appear overnight and therefore it won’t disappear overnight. Oh for a magic wand ……

Personally, I refer to fat loss rather than weight loss as we must be careful to ensure that we retain, and build, lean muscle. A pound of fat weighs exactly the same as a pound of muscle but takes up more space in our body. 5lbs of muscle and fatAs we lose body fat, we will generally lose weight although this is not always the case and I will share my story of shedding body fat whilst maintaining my weight another time. I also tend to shy away from the word ‘diet’ and talk of healthy, nutritious eating and lifestyle.

Consider these definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary. Food substance(s) to be taken into the body to maintain life. Diet i) restrict oneself in food especially in order to control one’s weight; ii) feed especially on special food as a punishment.

So, one definition of diet is a punishment and restriction. Do we really want to punish our bodies?

Now consider why we need food – as a source of energy (fuel). I’d like to introduce the concepts of mindful (taking thought and/or care), healthy (conducive to good health; beneficial) and nutritious (efficient food). So think about what you’re eating and why you’re eating it. Concentrate on healthy foods but *health warning* watch out for low-fat and processed foods. Aim to be healthy 80% of the time, that allows us some leeway as we’re not saints.

Don’t get hooked on weighing yourself watching the scales for change. Grab a tape measure and record centimetre/inch loss from your body. Or use my favourite gauge – the ‘tight trouser test’.

My main message? Become mindful about what you eat as eating nutritious foods will lead us to a healthy body. And smile in those holiday snaps!