Cara-Lisa, the South African wellness consultant behind Caralishious, shares her top tips for a fit and healthy summer…

So it’s summer time and you want to make some healthy changes… but where do you start?

Many of us find it overwhelming to embark on a healthy lifestyle because of the amount of information that’s out there. Should we be banting or eating low fat? The worst part is that all these diets contradict each other, making it even more confusing!

Don’t get caught up in all the fuss. Instead, do what makes sense for your body. Focus on you and what you need. Remember, the simpler and fresher, the better, especially when it comes to food

Here are some of my favourite tips to help you along the way:

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  1. Drink warm water and fresh lemon juice every morning on waking up.
  2. Take a good quality probiotic to ensure proper digestion – when your digestive system is working properly it will get rid of unwanted substances and toxins which in turn will promote healthy weight loss.
  3. Keep well hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water per day.
  4. Load up on fresh vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins.
  5. Avoid the processed stuff – including sauces. Try creating your own healthy versions of your favourite sauces instead.
  6. Switch up your salt – opt for fresh herbs, whole spices, or Himalayan pink crystal sea salt instead
  7. Don’t fear healthy fats – these keep your blood sugar levels stable, keep you fuller for longer and keep your skin soft, supply and glowing.
  8. Find ways to move more – get active outdoors; walk your dog, go for a stroll in the park, find a sport you enjoy, or create/join a hiking club. Making exercise social will help you stick with it and enjoy it far more.
  9. Stick to small dinners and bigger lunches.
  10. Try to eat some protein at every meal.
  11. Avoid processed carbs at night – stick to lots of vegetables and proteins instead.
  12. Work with your body – it takes 20 mins for our brain to register that we have eaten, which is why we often eat more than we should. Allow your body 20 minutes to process the fact that you have eaten and then, only if you still feel hungry after 20 minutes, eat a little more.
  13. Sleep – aim to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Switch off your phone, laptop, TV and all technology at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. This will allow your mind and body to prepare for rest. A lack of sleep causes us to feel depleted of energy, so we crave more and more food to replenish the energy that we need – not great for fat loss.
  14. Exercise five to six times per week – make three of these sessions high-intensity interval training and two of these sessions yoga, Pilates or stretching-based training. Our bodies are designed to move, so don’t think of exercise as a chore, think of it as something you need! You don’t need to spend hours training each day – focus on fast-paced high-intensity sessions of around 30 to 40 minutes – this will maximise fat burning, build strong lean muscle, and it will make you feel great.
  15. Set realistic expectations – don’t let yourself get caught up in the whole ‘lose 10kgs in two weeks’ nonsense. If you want the weight to stay off then you need to be consistent in the changes you make and see those changes as a commitment to yourself. Slow and steady weight loss is always best for the metabolism and will ensure that it stays off… period.
  16. Be sure to keep a balance – look at all facets of your life – sleep, exercise, eating, relaxation, mental health, stress levels, work – how are you feeling in each one of these spheres? Are you in balance? If not, work on finding ways to establish that balance.
  17. Don’t become obsessive – your health should be something that you enjoy and cherish – don’t ever let it become a chore. Remember balance is key!
  18. Rest – if you have been training hard and are feeling run down, don’t be afraid to take a little break. One or two days of rest can do wonders to rejuvenate your body. Remember that exercise puts stress on your body too, which in excess can cause your cortisol levels to rise, which will make your body want to retain and store fat.
  19. Think healthy thoughts – spend five minutes every day visualising yourself as healthy and fit. Your body listens to your thoughts so keep them positive and self-affirming.
  20. Above all, give your body love – show it respect, appreciate all that it does and I can guarantee it will reward you abundantly.

Don’t forget, consistency is key, so stick to it for amazing results.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.