Getting yourself back on track by Amanda Hamilton
So you’re back wearing the work wardrobe again and little lovelies, should you have them, are back at school. I share your pleasure and pain. There’s also often the nagging matter of the extra pounds that a summer of Greek food, ice creams on the beach and wine o’clock at sunset has brought on.
Don't fret! This is normal. The benefits of the summer holidays usually outweigh (forgive the pun) these few extra pounds. But, given that the first week in September is usually one of the biggest gym and leisure club recruiting weeks in the year, it’s obvious we all want to feel back in control.
So, here are a few tips on getting the body back on a positive track, starting with a reality check on where your body is at right now.
Time to get your ruler out. No, not because it is back to school time but to do some revision of your vital statistics.
If you’ve found the waistband of your favourite pair of work trousers feels a little tight this week, then one of the most useful self-help measurements is the waist to hip ratio (WHR).
It all goes back to apples and pears. Not eating them (although that would be a good start) but which one you are. Your WHR will put you either in the "apple-shaped" category (with more weight around the waist) or "pear-shaped" (bodies who carry more weight around the hips).
For this lesson, Liz Hurley is most definitely the Head Girl. She is certifiably, scientifically and statistically proven to be nature’s perfect women. It goes like this, her waist to hip ratio (WHR) is a perfect 0.7, even her face is said to be perfectly proportioned. Damn.
There is a point to all this of course. The waist-to-ratio is used by medical professionals to indicate the health of a person, male or female, and can predict general health, fertility, and predisposition to diseases such as diabetes.
So, how do you measure up?
Use a measuring tape to measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part. Then measure your waist at the smaller circumference of your natural waist, usually just above the belly button. To determine the ratio, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.
A WHR of below 0.8 is ideal for women, 0.7 and you are in Liz’s league. For blokes, a WHR score of 0.9 are shown to be more healthy and fertile.
No matter what your results, read on! Make these simple changes and it should help you to feel back on track in a few short weeks.
Palm-sized protein: Try and have high protein meals for lunch and dinner if you are trying to get out of the quick-carb cycle. “Fuller for longer” isn’t just a marketing slogan, it works.
Don’t drink your calories: Between meals your goal should be to avoid the intake of sneaky extra calories. Ditch the milky lattes or sugary fruit juices and switch to green tea instead. The antioxidant benefits of green tea have been well reported and it’s also mildly thermogenic, meaning it actually nudges up your metabolic rate.
Sober September: There’s nothing like alcohol to add the pounds. It’s not just the empty calories in the booze itself, it’s the fact that it is also an appetite stimulant. And, ewe all know how good intentions go out the window after a glass or two, don’t we?
Sleep well: If you’ve been a late-night party animal all summer then it’s time to embrace getting a full night’s sleep. Sleep and weight gain are inversely related. One large study found that adults who slept for fewer than five hours one and a half times more likely to be obese.
Not only that but in our deepest and most restorative sleep, blood pressure drops and our bodies get the chance to fully relax. At the same time, blood is driven to the muscles, providing nutrients for recovery and repair.
Sleep is also known to regulate mood and help our brains function better, by improving learning and memory functions. So, long-term, lack of sleep can affect everything from skin health to mood.