It’s come to that time of the year again when just about everyone is on a diet trying to slim down for their holidays. You know what they say’¦ if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!No but seriously, if you do want to lose a few pounds it will probably mean making some changes to what you eat. Forget the complicated point / calorie counting diets with their green and red days here are some simple things to cut out or add into your eating habits.

1. Avoid high sugars and saturated fatsYou may be thinking that you’ll need to watch the calories more, but sugar and saturated fats are the real villains. Sugar is digested very quickly, and because of this, your body thinks it needs to store fat when it doesn’t. Foods that contain high levels of sugar are sweets, fizzy drinks, cakes and breakfast cereals.Saturated fats are the bad guys who raise your cholesterol. Fats are slowly digested and are stored around your middle, hips and thighs ahhh! Foods that have high saturated fats are fast food, creams, cakes, butter and chocolate.

2. Drink waterIf you manage to drink nothing but water, you’ll find yourself losing weight considerably faster. We’re actually made up of 60-70% of water so we need to keep stocked up!If you feel hungry, even after a big (hopefully healthy) meal, drink water. You can postpone and often cure hunger by drinking a couple of glasses of the wet stuff. So aim to cut out the fizzy drinks and lower down on the alcohol.

3. Say what about alcohol?If you’re piping down 5 pints or more every weekend, you’re not going to get far with slimming. Alcohol contains empty calories that are useless to the body, and as a result these calories are stored until they’re burned off. Don’t think switching the beers for a vodka and Red Bull is a loophole, sugars are just as nasty.We aren’t saying give up drinking, but maybe have a pint or two less than you normally would.

4. Is there anything else but water we can drink?Green tea is a natural fat burner, so dive in there. If you drink coffee, make sure it’s black. Adding anything to coffee takes away the natural health preservatives. You can have your good old tea too, just go easy on the sugar.

5. Simple swapsIt’s not all salads and rice cakes. A diet shouldn’t be eating less, it should be eating right. So swap the ramen noodles for some salad and veg; chocolate for an apple. You can also swap processed fatty meats like bacon, sausages and beef for more lean meats like tuna, chicken and turkey. And finally on to carbs; whole grain pasta, rice and bread are so much better for you than the white stuff.

6. Colourful food is healthy foodAnd we’re not talking about a packet of Skittles! Healthy food tends to be a lot more colourful than non-healthy. Think about it. Chips = beige, burgers = beige and brown, crisps = beige, pasta = beige, bread = white, sausages = brown’¦ think you’re getting the idea.

7. What about exercise?We couldn’t not mention exercise really’¦ the best exercises for those who want to slim are swimming and spiriting.
Swimming uses every muscle in your body and depending on how much you weigh and how fast you’re swimming; you can burn between 450 to 950 calories per hour!You don’t need a gym membership to work out; you just need a pair of trainers. Spiriting in short and fast bursts, then walking, then sprinting again will use up more of your energy (and calories) than going for a jog. Doing this per mile could burn off a minimum of 200 calories per mile!

So, with summer in sight, we wish everyone the best of luck with their dieting! Let us know how you get on by tweeting us @letslivehere.

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