You’ve worked hard all year. 6am bootcamps, evening sprint-ervals, days without sugar, weekends at the gym, nights spent watching your partner devour bags of Belgian chocolate covered peanuts whilst you sit as far away as possible with a cup of green tea and 15 almonds. The start of the holiday is almost here. And you’re sort of… well… scared.
In the space of a two-week holiday (campsite, villa or chuffing around London), so much can be undone (as well as the top button and half a zip). Frankly, you haven’t saved all year to live off sparkling water and kale for two weeks, so what is to be done? Here are some tactics for staying on top of your game:
1. Before you leave Blighty, take a photo of yourself in your swimwear (or starkers, I’m not fussy). Keep it on your phone. It’s there to act as a reminder of how hard you worked.
2. Tell yourself you are going to eat things you haven’t for a while. Of course you are, you’re on holiday! But to avoid an abdominal ‘softness’ (as we call it at Annie Deadman Training) when you return, try to limit your overindulgence to every other day. Sugar, white carbs and alcohol are a lethal combination for your hormone levels. Hormones need to be stable to prevent fluctuation in the size of your fat cells. Insulin for example is the Prison Warden. He will herd fat into the fat cells and then throw away the key and that is bad news. So from day one, tell yourself to avoid having the Terrible Three on the same day.
3. Now… drink in these words: ONE ALCOHOLIC DRINK WILL WEAKEN YOUR RESOLVE. No, I’m not suggesting for one minute that you don’t drink. Just prepare yourself and know that it will happen. We’ve all said it… “I’m only having one… just one”. And then you’re relaxed, your guard is down and ‘standing your ground is for losers’. So you have another. And another. Just know it will happen and wise up.
- Stick to vodka, gin, or white rum with loads of freshly squeezed lime juice, ice and soda and a sprig of mint (“oh, where am I going to find that lot on a campsite in Dorset?”). The low carb content won’t bloat you nor will it make you sleepy and the vitamin C will help fight off constipation (air travel can dehydrate the body and hence slow down the passing of grub through your system… there’s nothing like a full bowel to make you feel fat).
- If you’re off out for the evening (and you fear it might turn into a bit of a sesh), then have a pot of low sugar, high protein Greek yogurt (e.g. Total) to line your stomach and help fill you up.
- Alcohol is a toxin, remember (“more cheery news from Camp Deadman…”) so your body goes into alarm mode. Everything else halts whilst the liver works overtime to get rid of it and burning fat goes way down the body’s to-do list. So that bit we all hate which hangs over the top of our bra ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.
- The liver plods away, trying to syphon off the flood of mojitos and can’t do the job of helping keep blood sugar levels stable. Hence they drop. And that’s why you… hic… crave carbs when you’ve… hic… had one (or five) too many.
4. Fat stays with its feet up, twiddling its thumbs on a dehydrated body. Therefore try to drink 3 litres of water every single day. (“What..?!!”). No arguments. (“Oh, c’mon..”) Not listening. (“But….”) Can’t hear you. Fingers in ears… la-la-la-la-la-la.
5. Dropping from one Bootcamp, two Circuits and a Boxing class every week to a game of poker and a walk to the fridge will do nothing for your mental state and fitness, never mind your girth. Don’t park the exercise whilst you’re away. Try the Partner Workout youtube clips I did this week… short but sweet fitness challenges for all levels… or try these:
- 40 seconds of jogging with 20 seconds of sprinting. Repeat 10-20 times.
- 2 lengths of the pool at a reasonable pace, then 1 length really fast (ignore the rude comments about your technique). Repeat 5 times.
- 1 squat, run to the end of the garden/beach/living room/terrace and do 1 press up. Run back and do 2 of each, then 3 of each, right up to 5 at first, and then work up to 10 of each.
6. Holiday food: You’ll eat more than you ever could on a rainy Tuesday at home. That’s because you’re in self-congratulatory mode. This is your holiday and by jove, you’ve earned it. Listen up, and listen good:
- Have olives with pre-dinner drinks. The sourness won’t send your carb radar into overdrive so you’re unlikely to make a dive for the bread basket.
- Move the bread basket to the next door table. Or better still, empty it and stamp on it. Go on, really grind it into the floor.
- At the breakfast buffet, go with the cooked breakfast – eggs, tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms – rather than the anything with a picture of a tiger on it with the words “They’re G-R-R-Reat”. Likewise, if you’re at the Oh Ya Yoga Retreat, on Ribcage Island (just across the water from Colonic Crag, but not as far as Smugsville) you’ll be having the kale, spirulina, wheatgrass and almond milk smoothie. But no friends.
- Fast. Yes, go without. You’ve got a morning by the pool with your Kindle and all is quiet (the rest of them are not on their iPads or phones or trying to fathom out the Sky box at all… no, not at all) so just don’t eat for a 6-8 hour window. It’s not enough to lower your metabolism, but it is enough to sharpen up your mental state and put your repairing systems on full alert. And you’ll feel nicely empty.
- Carbs. You don’t need them if you’re horizontal all day. Rolling over so he/she can “do your back” doesn’t count as moving. Stick with protein meals and plenty of salads, vegetables and some cheese. Just lose the French stick.
7. Check out your photograph occasionally. If it doesn’t look like good news, then, a) don’t panic, and b) don’t think you’ve blown it. One night of over-doing things does NOT spell disaster. Get a grip and follow the advice in the previous points. Be kind to yourself. Don’t live the holiday in a state of guilt and distress.
8. If you go out for the day (boat trip, car ride, whatever), take a secret snack like nuts or cheese and an apple and don’t fall prey to the Great White Magnum.
9. Every day tell yourself you are a gorgeous person. Then tell someone else they’re gorgeous too. Look outside yourself and spread some love. And if you’re scratching around for the aforementioned love then read this “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. I read it three years ago whilst slobbing round a pool in Majorca… it really opens up your mind.
10. If you arrive back home after two weeks and you feel on top of the world, then job done. Pats on the back. If you’re less than happy, then spend 5 days with no starchy carbohydrate at all… I mean, at all. Lots of veg, protein, yogurt, and loads of fluid. A day’s eating might look like this:
2 eggs scrambled (plus added egg white) with mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers and some wilted spinach or broccoli if you can face it that time of the morning. Water. Omega 3 tablets. Decaf coffee or tea with almond or goats milk.
Whole large tin of tuna in brine or olive oil, two tablespoons of prawns, rocket, avocado, tomatoes, more spinach and a blob of greek yogurt with dijon mustard on the side. A sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. Dessert: a bowl of blueberries and raspberries (or those frozen Summer Fruits from Tesco).
150g chicken or 175g white fish, courgettes, green beans, peppers, all roasted in the oven with dill and basil.
1 pot of Total 0% or 2% Greek yogurt with 15 -20 almonds and some cinnamon.
3 litres of water, rooiboos tea, herbal infusions and umpteen trips to the loo.
Failing that you can join our 21 Day BLAST Plan, starting 12 September. Visit the weight-loss section on the website for more details. We”ll teach you how to eat for hormonal stability, how to train for a stronger body and how to jump for joy at smaller trousers. We are utterly devoted professionals and we’re gunning for you.