Health & Fitness

ELLE body: Summer diet tips

Thiemo Sander Author: Elle Canada Credits: Thiemo Sander

Health & Fitness

ELLE body: Summer diet tips

SUMMER DIET TIPS: THE HUNGER GAMES

Before you start that new regimen, get your mindset in shape first. According to Dr. Ali Zentner, author of The Weight-Loss Prescription, instead of seeing your weight-loss failures as a character flaw, use them as a blueprint for future change.

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Summer diet tips: Flub #1

Destination dieting: You embark on a restrictive routine with a specific goal in mind—say, wearing that skimpy monokini in St. Barths. As the date nears, you’re circling the drain, the goal weight floating away like a distant memory. Despite your ambitious intentions, your goal now seems wildly unattainable and your inner insult-hurling has reached ground zero.

Doc logic:
Timing is everything. A diet, by its very nature, implies a beginning, a middle and an end. Destination dieting implies that once you reach your goal, you can check out. Stop picking programs with a time limit. A jump-start mentality of short-term deprivation for a few weeks leads to falling off the track— with a vengeance. When it comes to better health, there is no finish line.

Summer diet tips: Flub #2

High-intensity change: You start a fiercely intense program, but then you face a head-on collision with a fish-taco food truck outside your office and chastise yourself for your lack of willpower. But here’s the thing: Willpower doesn’t work. When you embark on a diet, your brain responds to caloric restriction by triggering the secretion of excess hunger hormones as a survival mechanism to prevent you from starving to death. (Think of the caveman, people.) The hunger pangs you feel while dieting are not a lack of willpower; they are sheer brain chemistry.

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Doc logic: Easy does it. As creatures of habit, we need time to adjust to change. Find a program you can live with and make some gradual adjustments each day. If you’d like to lower your carb intake, try giving up refined carbohydrates (read “Buh-bye, morning muffin”) for a few weeks first. Examine what hasn’t worked for you in the past and instead of attempting to conquer it again, manage it into smaller, more tolerable doses.

Summer diet tips: Flub #3

One misstep sends you into a tailspin: You’re heading along your path to better health and suddenly you slip up. (See: champagne-fuelled weekend in Vegas with the girls.) As you slip further away, you spiral into a pit of self-hatred and let loose with your eating—you’ve already blown it, so why try? Desperation kicks in, so you consider destination dieting or a high-intensity change “just to give you a kick-start.”

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Doc logic: Accept error. Why does one boozy weekend have to snuff out months of healthy eating? Habits become ingrained in our brain, and when we slip up, we respond by boomeranging to unhealthy eating because it’s our only frame of reference. Identify your danger zones so you can prep for damage control. That way, you’ll have a rebound plan in place for when you fall off the track rather than wondering if you’ll make a mistake.

Learn how to handle bloating and fluid retention on the next page...

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SUMMER DIET TIPS: HOW TO HANDLE BLOATING

1. The signs

Distended belly (a.k.a. your post-pasta “food baby”). Can be a combo of fluid retention and trapped gas. Fun! “There’s a bloating epidemic, and food is a huge reason for this,” says Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a gastroenterologist and the founder of the Digestive Center for Women in Chevy Chase, Md. “I’ve had patients who are so bloated they look like they’re going to deliver [a baby]. Your waist size can go up 10 inches.”

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2. The causes

Stress, carbonated beverages, drinking liquids while eating, excess yeast or bad bacteria in the gut, food sensitivities to gluten, dairy and soy. “Using a straw, eating quickly, sucking on hard candies and chewing gum cause us to swallow more air, which leads to belly bloat,” says Tristaca Curley, a registered dietitian from Kelowna, B.C., who has helped fitness models de-bloat before competitions.

3. How to deflate now

Yogourt can break down some of the culprits of bloating; peppermint tea and parsley calm the digestive system, which will minimize gas production. You should see a difference in a few hours, says Curley.

SUMMER DIET TIPS: HOW TO PREVENT FLUID RETENTION

1. The signs

Puffy cheeks, ring lines, waistband creases, sandal marks.

2. The causes

High salt intake, low fluid intake, hormonal changes, alcohol or caffeine consumption.

3. How to deflate now

Skip the booze cruise. “In the short term, alcohol dehydrates you, so you may actually feel less bloated in the couple of hours after consuming it,” explains Curley. “But then the body attempts to regain that lost fluid by retaining water, which leads to bloating in the next 12 to 24 hours.” Chutkan recommends eating foods that have a diuretic effect, such as cucumbers and cranberries.

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4. The best anti-bloat recipe

From Toronto-based holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy:

Add hot water, 1 tsp fresh ginger, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp raw honey. Let the water cool slightly before drinking. For both bloating and water retention, McCarthy suggests drinking lemon and water or apple-cider vinegar and water; both of these help strengthen the digestive “fire.”

Find out how you can keep your beach body after summer on the next page...

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SUMMER DIET TIPS: BARRE WORKOURS

We love hitting up the bar. No, not the one by the pool. Barre classes, of course. Why? No need for equipment or special shoes, and a shelf bra will suffice since barre workouts are super-low impact. Barre workouts are built on the principles of dance, Pilates and strength training—some even have a dash of yoga thrown in. Voula Floros, founder of Barre Beautiful in Toronto, says that even the fittest person will see results in as soon as four weeks. (Think a tapered waist, a higher bum and long, lean limbs.) It’s ridiculously fun (which feels easier), leg warmers are welcome and we have it on good authority that those who train at the barre (SJP, Charlize Theron, Penélope Cruz) have the best bods.

1. The simple Barre workout

We love Barre Beautiful cardio barre classes (barrebeautiful.com). The moves help improve your posture almost immediately and make sitting down the next day agonizing—in the best glute-firing way. Try the Bar Method in Vancouver (barmethod.com) for a West Coast burn.

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2. Even easier Barre workout from home

Online subscriptions such as Barre3 (barre3.com) give you unlimited access to 10-, 30-, 40- and 60-minute workouts (from a database of 96 and counting) so you can get your isometrics on for $15 a month. Sub in a chair or countertop for the ballet barre.

3. The laziest way to get a Barre workout

Type “barre class” into YouTube. You don’t need to leave the house, your outfit can be questionable and it’s free. When you tire of the gratis grind, pick up a DVD from the Montreal-based Essentrics (essentrics.com)—a surprisingly tough stretch-based routine.

SUMMER HEALTH TIPS: APPLY SUNSCREEN

"Prevention is always better than correction," says Yelena Royzen, lead aesthetician at Bliss Spa in NYC. Commit these words to memory and apply sunscreen all day, every day. It’s the one thing you absolutely cannot be lazy about. Ten years from now, you’ll have more important things to do than cart around that old leather handbag you’re wearing on your face. Sunscreens we love: Cyberderm Simply Zinc Sun Whip SPF 30 ($38) and La Roche- Posay Anthelios XL Lightweight Lotion ($28).

SLIDESHOW: 50 SUNSCREENS to keep your body healthy this summer

Read more:
ELLE body: How to get sexy shoulders
Body news: Give your body a spring cleaning
Energy movements: Fitness trends for the ages

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Health & Fitness

ELLE body: Summer diet tips