The urban dictionary defines the Heathrow Injection as “a metaphor for the weight one inevitably gains when one migrates to London for an extended stay”. If you’ve had friends depart for London only to arrive home two years later decidedly porkier than when they left, you’ll know about the phenomenon already.
And if you’re planning to live and work in London for a while, what can you do to prevent this from happening to you? We put together our Top 7 list of flab-beaters.
1. Go easy on the ale.
When in Rome, simply don’t do as the Romans do. If you’ve never had a taste for beer, you might discover a love for it while living in London. But go easy, as this is probably the number one reason for weight gain. And don’t think that just because you drink wine instead you’ll keep the kilos off – alcohol in general is rather high in calories, so keep your alcohol consumption down if you want to keep your weight down.
2. Don’t change your eating habits.
The new environment, cold weather and fast-paced lifestyle of London might tempt you into changing your eating habits to include more take-out, fry-ups, pies and chips. If you do this, you can’t be surprised if your weight starts to steadily increase from the first week. There are many fresh, affordable and healthy alternatives all over London. So even if everyone around you is tucking into a Cornish pasty, have a rye sandwich or salad instead.
3. Walk more.
You will find that you start to spend a lot more time on your bum when you move to London, especially if you came from South Africa or Australia where beach walks, mountain hikes and water sports are part of the lifestyle. Find ways to walk more. Hop off the bus or tube a couple of blocks early, or incorporate a long walk into your weekend activities when the weather allows.
4. Ride a bike.
A bicycle is a great way to get around London. You get to avoid overcrowded tubes and buses, plus you get fit while getting around. As an added bonus, you’ll also see more of London and get to know its streets far better than if you were taking the tube. Barclays offer plenty of bikes for hire all around London – so no excuses.
5. Get military-fit!
One sure-fire way to stay in shape is to join British Military Fitness, who run 400 classes in 100 parks across the UK. Sign up for their free intro class and give it a try. If you can walk the next day, you might even consider going back.
Bikram is practised in a room heated to around 40°C and is a terrific way to burn plenty of calories fast. It is especially useful if you simply don’t have the time to go to 3-4 gym sessions a week. Visit hotbikramyoga.co.uk or www.sohotbikramyoga.co.uk for more info.
7. Dance it off.
Love the nightlife? Dance like there’s no tomorrow and you will burn plenty of calories in a night. And if the club scene just isn’t for you, you can choose to dance in a fun class environment at one of the many dance studios in and around London. We like Dance Works, who also offer a free first class.
There you have it – seven ways to ensure you don’t arrive home post-London looking like the Michelin man. Follow all the above advice and you could even be one of the very few who come home looking better than when you left.