The perfect 24-hour plan to lose weight and get in shape
Monday 19 November 2012
Fed up of fad diets and complicated meal plans? Keep things simple with our easy to follow 24-hour food schedule.
At this time in the morning your body is just starting up, so don’t overwhelm it with food. “Very little digestion occurs when you are sleeping, and the system is still very sluggish when you first wake up,” says nutritionist and author Patrick Holford. So for the first half an-hour eat nothing and instead drink a glass of water to help flush out impurities and hydrate you.
8am: Fuel your morning
Holding off from eating first thing actually reduces your chances of having digestive problems in the morning. That said, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and people who eat it are said to be slimmer, have better memories and even be less accident-prone.
To keep things healthy choose something with a low glycaemic index like muesli, raisin bread or avocado on toast. According to Patrick Holford, you should never try to cheat by existing on just energy drinks of coffee. “The effect of brutally kick-starting the body with a stimulant such as caffeine is adrenaline overload” he says. “In the long term, this can lead to a drop in energy, feelings of stress and fluctuating highs and lows in mood.”
A healthy breakfast is a vital part of your day
11am: Top up snack
If, like us, you struggle to resist your sarnies until lunchtime, pack a snack into your morning. Stave off hunger pangs with something filling like a yoghurt (which are also full of calcium) or a small cube of cheese with an oatcake.
1pm: High protein lunch
The mistake many of us make is to gorge on carbs, causing us to feel lethargic and slow in the afternoon. To make sure you don’t fall foul of this, make sure your lunch always has a higher protein than carb component, a tuna jacket potato for instance. And rather than reaching for a sugary pudding after, have a cube of cheese or some nuts.
Make sure to eat a lunch with higher protein than carbohydrate component
4pm: Fight the flag
Low blood sugar in the afternoon can cause us to reach for treats such as chocolate or cake, but regular consumption of these can seriously increase your cholesterol levels. Be prepared and bring in a small bag of dried fruit or nuts. Raisins boost energy levels and also contain stress reducing magnesium, plus all dried fruit is a good source of fibre. Win!
6.30pm: Have a cuppa
According to Professor David Booth, a nutritionist and psychologist from the University of Birmingham, a cup of tea is a great way to unwind. Tea is also a great source of flavonoid antioxidants, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s also miles better than having a glass of wine as soon as you walk in the door – alcohol can disrupt sleep and weaken your immune system.
7.30pm: Cleanse your pallet
Eating sorbet before your main meal isn’t just something dreamt up by posh eateries, it actually makes you eat less. St George’s Medical School found that those who ate glucose before their main meal ate less than those who didn’t. So have something slightly sugary just before you eat – and you’ll find portion control a breeze!
A sweet treat, like grapes or sorbet, just before you eat your main meal will mean portion control is easier
8pm: Bust the late eating myth
“In carefully controlled experiments, people who ate a big meal at 8pm burned up exactly the same number of calories as others who ate the same meal at lunchtime,” says Dr Andrew Prentice from the Clinical Nutrition Centre. So if you can’t eat till late, you still should, as it makes no difference to how your body burns it off.
11pm: Eat happy foods
Just before bed, have a light snack such as a bowl of cereal, which will promote serotonin formation helping you fall asleep. Alternatively a traditional nightcap can also help if you suffer from insomnia (just don’t drink the whole bottle!)
• Drink water. Water aids digestion and elimination of waste, lubricates the joints and eyes and helps regulate your temperature. Dehydration can also be mistaken for hunger so it’s important to keep supping!
• Take vitamin supplements with food.
• Before exercising eat some fast releasing carbohydrates to give you energy and help you sustain your blood sugar.
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