Worried you may have packed on too much winter weight in the past few months? Fear not — It’s spring! This means that there is plenty of time to get into tip-top bikini bod shape — in a healthful way — for the first day of summer. Here are 5 tips to get you started now:
1) Ready, Set, Goals. The first step to weight loss success is set realistic and measurable goals. Research has shown that tracking your food intake, exercise routine, and weight loss progress can help you stay on track for your weight loss plan. Most experts agree that gradual weight loss — about 1-2 pounds per week — is best. Write down your goals, as well as how you plan to achieve them. Your goals should be measurable (e.g. Cook 2 vegetable-based meals this week, exercise for at least 45 minutes 4 times per week, etc.). Research also shows that visualizing yourself implementing and meeting your goals is also a key to success. (See our recent “Can You Think Yourself Thin?” post.) You may be tempted to crash diet to get into that hot bikini tomorrow, but better to go slow and steady than crash and burn.
2) Dedicate Yourself — to Exercise. One of the best things about the summer season is that it’s a little easier to get motivated to be physically active. Take advantage of the longer days to get up earlier or make time after work to MOVE YOUR BODY. I say it all the time, but I’ll say it again: do something you enjoy. Working out doesn’t have to feel like work. Be creative. Mix it up. Take up a new sport. Swim, hike, run. Walk your dog. Walk yourself. Dance. Aim for 60 minutes of activity, most days. If you haven’t been active at all for many months (or years), please check with your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.
3) Don’t Drink Your Calories. This one may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s an easy way to eliminate extra calories. A soda here and grande latte there can add up to hundreds of calories each day. Switch to water or zero-calorie drinks like unsweetened tea or diet colas. If you love juice and don’t want to give it up, have a juice spritzer made with 1/4 cup juice and 3/4 cup seltzer water.
4) Thrive — Don’t Deprive. For most people, a weight loss plan that is too strict is bound to backfire. Losing weight doesn’t mean you have to give up all of your favorite foods or treats. But you do need to have a good plan in place to eat mostly healthy meals and deal with temptations. If there are specific high-calorie foods (like ice cream) that you absolutely can not give up, resolve to manage portion sizes so that your ‘indulgent’ food is under 200 calories per day. Or you can swap out a high-calorie treat for a lower-calorie satisfying alternative. For example, I love cakes and brownies, but I can’t have a 500 calorie brownie every night for desert. Instead, I make (or buy) a tasty low cal version that has just 120 calories. These kinds of swaps and portion downsizes require you to be a savvy consumer. Get smart! Read labels, plan your meals and snacks, and get a few great recipes that will keep you full and satisfied. If you have questions, ask us here at AppforHealth.com. Just think, by the summer time you’ll be smarter and sexier! Can’t beat that.
5) Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends. Or a family member… or gym pal… or support group… or online community (like here at AppforHealth.com!) Creating a weight loss plan and sticking to it requires strength, knowledge, fortitude… and often… a little help from others. Finding the right support team for you can make the difference between losing steam and meeting your goals.