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Shape up for summer

Healthy eating, small lifestyle changes and moderate exercise are the keys to weight loss

“To lose weight safely and keep it off stick to a nutritious balanced diet filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, proteins and healthy fats and avoid processed foods,” says Lucy Kerr of The Good Earth in Kilkenny. “Consuming foods that are high in fibre can help keep digestion flowing smoothly and help keep you fuller for longer. Go for grains such as brown rice, oats and add flaxseed or chia seeds for an extra boost.”

“The most important factor in helping to shed those pounds is having a good quality high protein breakfast,” says Katherine Colfer of Full of Beans in Waterford. “This will help keep you fuller for longer and will balance your blood sugar levels. Try not to eat any carbohydrates after 8pm as this can spike your insulin levels which in turn may put on extra pounds. Stay away from low fat foods as this usually means high sugar just to satisfy your tastebuds. Limit alcohol as it is very high in sugar – you could easily consume your recommended daily calories in one sitting.”

“Don’t go too long without food as this lets your blood sugars drop and your body will hold on to fat instead of losing it,” says Helena Murphy of Loop de Loop, Castletownbere, Co Cork.

“For those who lead hectic lifestyles and are trying to juggle family life with busy careers, protein shakes are great,” says Katherine Colfer. “These are ideal as they can be prepared in minutes and brought with you on the go. Adding a handful of berries to the shake will increase antioxidant levels and for those who are more adventurous, add green vegetables such as kale, spinach or broccoli to help clear any congestion in the liver. Liver congestion can hinder weight loss so keeping it clear is important.”

“Fluctuating blood sugar levels can stress the body and lead to cravings,” according to Lucy Kerr. “Eat little and often and avoid skipping meals to maintain balanced blood sugar levels. Consuming adequate protein with each meal helps keeps you fuller for longer and avoids a dip in blood sugar levels. Good sources include eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds and quinoa.”

“When sugar levels are balanced in the body we burn fat more efficiently,” agrees Katherine Colfer.

“Drink plenty of water – you’re less likely to snack than if you have tea or coffee,” says Helena Murphy. “If you are getting food cravings cinnamon will help – try adding some to your food.”

“Small steps can make a big difference,” says Katherine Colfer. “Leave the car away from the shops and walk a little bit further, take the stairs where possible instead of the lift. Have a treat that you enjoy every week and look forward to it – don’t beat yourself up and feel guilty if you go over the top, say to yourself I’ll walk an extra 15 minutes tomorrow. Enjoy the freedom of exercise, use it to de-stress and unwind, never as a chore.”

“Make sure you get 30 minutes exercise every day – no excuses,” says Helena Murphy. “It doesn’t have to be fast or a fitness class, a walk is fine.”


Chromium – good for balancing blood sugar levels.

B vitamins – helps to convert food into energy

Apple cider vinegar – aids digestion

Garcinia cambogia – helps keep blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check

Herbal teas – oolong, bilberry, hibiscus and star anise among others can play a role in weight control

Ask your local health store for advice on this issue.


Preparing and packing healthy snacks to have with you throughout the day such as fresh fruit or nuts or seeds such as almonds or pumpkin seeds, will help prevent you reaching for processed foods.


Staying hydrated is vital as often the body can be thirsty not hungry. Starting your day off with a cup of warm water with a squeeze of lemon has an alkalising effect on the body.

Before beginning a new diet consult your health practitioner

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