Not everyone can have a body like this, but you can change your shape by changing your regime
PUBLISHED: 17:12 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:12 05 July 2019
Sharon Morrison says its never too late to change your regime in order to feel happier in yourself
If you really, truly want to be beach body ready, then start planning now for next year, because there's no such thing as a quick fix. But you already know that don't you?
School's almost out, the holiday's booked and you're not quite beach body ready? Well, don't worry, you can have arms like Fiona Bruce, a bum like Kylie Minogue and a washboard stomach like Gigi Hadid in just four weeks or so. All you need to do is follow the exercise plan doggedly and drink black coffee because that's the latest on burning fat, then you'll have the body of a goddess just in time for the summer vacay.
Back on planet Earth, as I sift through a mountain of articles on the latest quick fixes to reshape my body, I know in my heart of hearts that no matter how hard I try to bring my bingo wings under control or carve a rock-hard backside out of my flabby thighs, I cannot achieve goddess status in a few months, let alone a few weeks. I don't want to depress anyone embarking on a last minute fitness regime, but if your idea of a beach body is one like Jennifer Aniston's, then you will probably also know that regular exercise is as instinctive to her as breathing.
For the rest of us the only way to get a body we're happy with, is to start working out now and, in a few weeks, we'll feel the difference, in a few months we'll see the difference, in a year we'll be delighted. We may not have the body of a goddess (who is this person anyway?), but we'll be so much healthier, firmer, happier. Or will we?
The thing is, food gets in the way and that will scupper the best laid exercise plan. According to a 2019 Cancer Research UK study, not only are 15 million adults in Britain obese, obesity has overtaken smoking as the main cause of bowel, kidney, liver and ovarian cancer.
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The simple truth is that as a nation our relationship with food has never been as dysfunctional as it is today; unless it's addressed, the whole goddess/beach body thingummy is just a thingummy... unattainable. I addressed my relationship with food 20 years ago, and I did attain the unattainable: I lost weight and got healthier, firmer and happier. Yes, I'd like to see improvements, but I no longer have that awful sinking feeling in the morning, wondering what I can wear to work that won't feel snug, and it's all because I changed my approach to food and it had a dramatic and long-lasting effect on my weight and my figure.
It's based on food combining not calorie counting, and I've been following it since I was horrified into action after an acquaintance asked me when my baby was due. I wasn't pregnant, but clearly looked it, and felt as depressed as he looked embarrassed.
So, what exactly is food combining? It's essentially eating meals which consist of only one food group (protein, fats or carbohydrates) at a time, and cutting out rubbish like crisps, salted peanuts, sugary food and take-aways. It's important to avoid or reduce intake of carbohydrates that have a high glycaemic index (GI) like potatoes, white rice, white bread and pasta, because they can cause in spike in blood sugar levels, then a sharp fall resulting in lethargy and hunger. Food with a low GI helps you feel fuller for longer.
The net result of food combining is that the body's digestive system operates more efficiently, which encourages weight loss. The concept was originally developed in America by Dr Hay (Hay Diet) in the 1920s, when he created a nutrition plan for people with diabetes that had weight loss as a fortunate side effect. But it was Frenchman Michel Montignac's 1990s' book, Dine out and lose weight, that breathed new life into food combining because he had a USP… you could drink red wine with your protein meal and lager with your carbohydrates. This was my kind of diet, except it's not, it's a different approach to food.
I found it hard to stick to initially, because although I could enjoy a wonderful protein breakfast of scrambled eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms, I couldn't have toast as that was a carb, and I really missed toast. Then, if I had bread as part of my carbohydrate meal, I couldn't put butter on it because butter was a fat and bread without butter is dead to me. What had a huge impact on my weight loss was cutting right down on sugar, but sugar is in more food than I realised. I've never had a sweet tooth, but I love bread, rice, pasta and potatoes (yes, the high GI stuff) which, sadly, turn into sugar to provide energy. I don't need energy to sleep, so I haven't eaten a carb after lunch since 1995.
What was most rewarding about the weight loss was that I never felt hungry, but I did feel more energetic so started going to aerobics classes, then I lost even more weight. Now I had the confidence to ditch the large overshirt and leggings combo that had been my uniform for too many years, in favour of more adventurous designs, and it's all because I carried on eating (and drinking wine).
Food, and the thought of eating less of it or eating differently, whether you want to be beach body ready or not, is a very sensitive issue, but if we take no action, there will be a consequence.