It’s time to shed some layers! With the warm temperatures setting in, we might be nervous to start shedding our clothes, but it won’t take a crash diet to get the results you want. Start with a few simple tweaks now and reap all the benefits you want in time for summer.
- Ditch the Fix: It’s hard to keep up with the latest craze. The reality is that crash diets don’t work even if they might produce some initial changes on the scale. Not only will they make you hungry and fatigued, but you end up losing muscle mass, making it harder to lose weight over the long-term. If you want to cut back on calories, don’t do it at the expense of protein. Make sure that every meal and snack has adequate protein about 25 grams for meals and 7 grams for snacks. This will keep hunger in check while ensuring you don’t lose your muscle tone at the same time.
- Control Your Portions: Calories do count and our overestimation of how much we are eating can make all the difference when it comes time to weigh in. The good news is you can still cut back on calories without having to feel deprived. Processed carbohydrates (breads, pastries, cereals, starchy snacks and sweets) are easy to over consume and quickly add up. Instead, replace these foods with those rich in fiber like vegetables and fruit. This will add volume to your meals, making you feel fuller longer, without leaving you feeling unsatisfied wanting to go back for more. Just remember as your bump up your fiber intake to increase your water consumption too. This will ensure better digestion and keep everything moving as it should.
- Balance Your Plate: We often blame carbs as the reason for our weight gain, but in actuality it is constantly elevated insulin levels that makes us gain weight, and keep the weight on. The best way to keep insulin levels in check is to ensure you have the right balance of protein, carbohydrate and a dash of heart healthy fat at each and every meal and snack.
- Start Your Meal with Liquid: Starting your meal with a broth based soup as an appetizer or 16 ounces of water may help to curb how much food you consume during your meal. Try and keep a water bottle on your desk, in your bag, or when dining out finish your glass before your appetizer or entrée arrives.
- Log it: There are so many apps for tracking what you eat and some of the features from scanning barcodes, syncing with your Fitbit, to online communities for support are great for accountability. That said it doesn’t matter whether you use a pen or paper or an app of your choosing. The data is clear that if you log it you’re less likely to overeat and that’s a good thing. Try the Zone Food Journal.
- Try HITT: High intensity interval training helps to burn more body fat. It is based on doing intense bursts of exercise followed by an active recovery to keep your heart rate up and burn fat quicker. Not in your wheelhouse? It doesn’t take cutting edge fitness trends to make it work for you. Find an activity you enjoy doing and stick with it. Consider incorporating both strength training and cardio so you can maintain and build muscle while you torch calories too.
Making these simple changes now can get you ready for summer in no time, but there is no reason why you can’t keep this up all year long. Just make sure your changes are simple, sustainable and fun. That’s the formula for sticking with it.