In the run up to the summer, we're all hard at work trying to shake off those extra kilos so we can do justice to our new bikinis. But once the holidays actually start, it's all too easy to let the discipline slip, and we find we've put the weight back on before we get back to the office: all that pre-summer effort simply goes down the drain.
Dr. Pierre Dukan, author of the hugely popular Dukan diet, offers five keys to keep your weight down over the summer, with a special emphasis on "how to eat."
1. Understand exactly what eating means and give it its due importance
Dictionaries give definitions along the lines of “to bite, chew and swallow” or “to take in food”, but they miss out the way Dr Dukan sees it. He says eating is the most important action needed for human survival. And put like that, it's a lot easier to see just how important eating is, and how much it can matter whether we do it well or badly. Not eating can result in our bodies lacking the nutrients essential for health, and eating too much can also be fatal. The key is to give our bodies just what is needed to stay healthy; no more and no less.
2. Recognise when you're hungry, when you are full and when you are overeating
We all recognise hunger pangs, but very few of us realise when we've reached the point when we've eaten enough. There's a fine line between feeling full and the heaviness that comes from overeating, and the key to not crossing that line is to learn to eat slowly and be aware of everything you eat. Dr Dukan believes it is important to understand why we eat: are we actually hungry, or is it simply a habit or reflex action? In this way, we learn to give the action of eating the importance it deserves as a function to meet the needs of our body, and we learn to avoid those meals and foods that perform no nutritional function.
3. Your body is the mirror of your health
If your diet has been unbalanced, you'll have to compensate if your body is to reach the right weight. When you gain weight, it's usually because you have eaten in an unbalanced way, consuming a disproportionate amount of fats and carbohydrates. To recover your ideal weight, this dietary imbalance must be corrected by eating only low-fat foods for a time, as well as doing daily exercise. Once the target weight has been achieved, foods can be re-introduced into the diet in an orderly fashion, and in the correct proportions, taking into account their nutritional value. This will mean that in the future you'll be able to eat everything, but in the right quantities. This is the only way to avoid the yo-yo effect and keep to your ideal weight.
4. Water and exercise: your strongest allies
We all know how important water is to keep us hydrated, but it also helps weight control. Experts recommend you drink around two litres of water a day, and the doctor claims that drinking water just before a meal will mean we sit down to eat feeling less hungry. By drinking two glasses of water just before eating, our stomachs begin to fill before we actually start to eat, and we feel satisfied sooner.
Many people try to lose weight without taking into account their own body, bone structure and muscles; by doing so, they risk never achieving their ideal weight, and, what's more, never staying at that weight over the long term. Exercise is important and walking is one of our allies when we lose weight; it's a natural activity that can be done anywhere and at any time without special equipment or paraphernalia. When we walk, it sets all the muscles moving and gets oxygen into the system. So, stand tall and step out!
5. Having support around you is essential if you are to keep your weight under control
In the summer when we're on holiday, we tend to be less careful than usual about what we eat: we indulge in snacks and meals out for social rather than for nutritional reasons. The support of the people around us is essential if we want to keep our weight under control. It also helps to have daily personalised monitoring by an expert who can answer all your questions and doubts, as focus and monitoring are basic to weight loss success.
Further information: Check the official Dukan Diet website, for more information and information about weight loss and personal slimming coaching.